Such a beautiful little boy! When baby’s momma, Liz, contacted me to see if I was available to shoot her newborn on January 7th, I hesitated. The 7th marked 2 years since we lost Gavin, and I wasn’t sure how I’d manage a shoot of this nature. I’m SO GLAD I talked myself into it. There’s NOTHING in this world like baby therapy! Nothing. And this little guy?! Oh my goodness. Perfection. I hope you enjoy his sweet little self as much as I did.

PS. It’s really amazing how God works. This shoot on this day? Who else could have orchestrated something so perfect? Enjoy!

Then we got the most wonderful visit from these darlings. Love.

January 7, 2010

I remember walking out of the hospital room after he died. I remember each step in vivid detail. Richie and I walked, our arms wrapped tightly around one another—I leaned my weight heavily against him, trying to keep myself from falling to the ground. “I feel like Adam and Eve,” I’d said. “We’re on our way into the lone and dreary world. Nothing will ever be the same.”

News like this spreads like wildfire. As soon as I went radio silent on the www, speculations were rampant. I started getting messages from strangers offering me Valium and other strange narcotics. Thankfully, I was cognizant enough to know that this would be nothing more than putting a fairy band aid on a gaping wound (and thankfully my momma taught me right, “Just say, ‘no’”).  We waked into the hotel room, where Richie helped me bind my breasts with an ace bandage. Practicality still reigned sovereign. I was a nursing mom. I’d been pumping every 2 hours since he’d been admitted to the PICU, and I was in a lot of pain.

Then we climbed into bed, wrapped our arms around each other. . . and cried.

I did sleep that night. I know I did, because I remember waking up. I remember waking up and groaning at the throbbing in my chest. I slipped out of bed and into the bathroom, where I tried to gently unwrap myself. I screamed from the pain—I’m not sure if it was the physical pain, the broken heart, or a combination of everything, but I let out a scream the size of Texas.

Later that morning, my parents arrived. They’d booked us flights home later that day. They’d arranged for Gavin’s body to be shipped on the same flight from Salt Lake City to Honolulu. God bless her, my mom didn’t want us to be separated. I still don’t know what percentage of a fortune this cost them, but gosh am I grateful.

I just lay on the couch as everyone discussed the details of the day. I’d say I was numb, but that would be lazy writing. I wasn’t numb. I felt. I felt every breath in my body, every beat of my heart. I could feel my cells regenerating, my blood pumping, the growth of my hair. No I wasn’t numb, only incapacitated. Completely incapable of anything but cellular function . . .  to breathe in and out.

I don’t know why I’m telling you this story, except that I am.

I’ve never known how to describe the way that day felt in words. I pray to God you never have to learn for yourself.

Nearly 2 years later, I received a forwarded email from my friend, Jon. A stranger had written a song.

“I wrote a song late one night after following the story of your friend Natalie losing her little baby. I wrote it quick and recorded it quick to try and not lose the tension I was feeling after reading of her heartbreaking loss. It’s a personal thing… something I can never really comprehend.”

Again, all this time later, I found myself wrapped in Richie’s arms, silent sobs rising from my chest.

Little did this man know, he’d written the words of my soul.

Ryan Tanner, Salt Lake City Rain.

click here to open post Aug 10, 2011 | posted in Personal | 3 comments

This is a woman who I don’t know, except that I do.

Because I have fought this fight.

I have felt the horror of these never ending hours.

I have cried the exhausted tears of day after day of relentless fear and struggle. . . and faith. . . so much faith and hope you can taste it. You can feel it stirring around you in a way that is remarkable beyond measure.

Tonight, I knelt for this family. I asked God to uplift them in his perfect grace, to steady their hearts and to clear their minds. I pleaded with Him to give them the comfort that only he can provide. I prayed that that beautiful little baby will receive the miracle that her mommy’s heart desires. . . I prayed that this family will once again be made whole, here, now.

Please, join me in this prayer. God is good. He is mindful of his children as they suffer. He is a God of miracles, and he definitely answers our prayers of faith.

xo, N

PS. Please go to their blog and give them some love. I can never express to you what your words of love, kindness, support and faith did for me as we fought for our Gavin. . .  by the way, I love you. So much.

Finishing up the packing and about to head out. . .

As of yesterday morning, a new family owns our little white house on Wahinepe’e St.

My heart is heavy and light, all at the same time. I am profoundly happy for the family who bought it, they are remarkable, and so very, very deserving. It’s also a very meloncholy (or should I say melon choly)  feeling to say goodbye to a home that has cradled us as we’ve weathered so.many.storms. I remember my brother‘s room (before he moved out and set up camp on the beach… like a bona fide hobo). I remember where I was sitting (4 years ago tomorrow) when my Dad told me that had died. I remember where the baby‘s crib had been, and how joyous I felt as I assembled it. I remember how sorrowful I was as I broke it down and placed a dresser in it’s place… so I wouldn’t have to wake up every morning and stare at it sitting there, empty. I remember hours on end of laughter, plenty of yelling and madness, and so much friendship and love that I could burst at the seams just thinking about it.

But. . . I keep reminding myself, home is where we are, together. WE are what makes a house a home. Not friendly neighborhood kids in and out of the house, not belly laughs, or tickle fests, not dance parties or trampoline wars, not more joyous memories than I can count… it’s us, and we’re sticking together.

Aloha ‘oe beautiful Laie. A hui ho!

I heart the Instagram app. Find me! Username: natalienorton

“O how great the plan of our God!” (2 Nephi 9:13)

Because of Him, the grave has no victory. Because of Him, this death, is “temporal, [and] shall deliver up its dead.” (2 Nephi 9:11)  !!!!!!!!!!!

When I woke up yesterday morning, Easter morning, I felt hope. For the first time in weeks, hope, peace and promise. And I knew, I KNOW, that it all happened, just as the scriptures say. He was born, lived the perfect life, atoned for our every sin, died for us on Calvary’s Hill, and on the third day. . .He rose again!

Forgiveness. Love. Friendship. Belonging. Life. . . all gifts from a loving God.

LIFE. That is the greatest gift of all. Because of Him, one day, I know we will be together again. Forever. And that promise moves me through each day with happiness and love, even when my heart is brittle from sorrow and pain.

I can never repay Him for what he has given me. I can however show him how very, very grateful I am… through the living of each and every moment of every, single day.

(all image credit: Jon Canlas, Baby Gavin’s funeral)