Friday, July 18, 2008


I have sleeping issues. I have always had a very hard time falling asleep. Once I am asleep I stay asleep but falling asleep ... well let's just say I am well acquainted with the night. This is apparently a genetic thing. My dad has the same issue and so does a brother of mine. I have two kids who have a hard time falling asleep. One of them stays in her bed waiting to fall asleep. The other ... not so much.

Since the accident, I try to keep my mind occupied until I am so tired I know I will quickly fall asleep. Otherwise, I end up getting too weepy in my bed. My little Ann Marie has been feeling this too. She has wanted to be close to us as she falls asleep. Nearly every night the first two weeks and many nights since, I have laid down beside her while she fell asleep.

This is not something I normally would do. I know some moms stay with their kids till they fall asleep every night. I am not that mom. My kids can be awake for hours just sitting in the dark waiting to fall asleep. So can I. Usually I let them read in their beds if they don't feel tired yet. This is far less boring for us all.

Still, under the circumstances, I have laid with her many nights. And I have been trying to wean her off that need to have me close for her to sleep. In the last couple of weeks we have found her asleep in some fairly unique places or positions.

Here she was just out of my sight at the bottom of the stairs on the hard tile sound asleep with her bear "Gigan" and her blankie. Doesn't this just look so uncomfortable?

Jon captured this photo a few nights back. It just about broke my heart. She had been down to see us downstairs and we could tell she was tired so we sent her back up to bed. She made it to the top step, and not wanting to be where she couldn't hear us, she knelt down and fell asleep.

Sabrina and Ann Marie share a room. They do each have their own beds, however. Sabrina says she can't sleep without Annie in the room. Annie loves to be covered in animals and close to her sister.

This was after we came home from a night out and relieved the babysitter. Sabrina is a deep and crazy sleeper. She travels all over the bed in the night. Annie got wise here and chose to sleep in the pillows next to Sabrina's bed. Annie must have been missing Camille. That is Camille's favorite soft and silky blanket she is cuddling (the purple one). She needed some physical contact with Sabrina to comfort her so she took her hand and held it as she fell asleep.

I guess I better go check my little insomniac now. I sent her to bed before I started this post because I could tell she was finally tired enough to fall asleep. I am getting there myself.

Sleep is a beautiful thing. It is the one place I can go and rest my sorrowed soul. In dreams anything is possible. In dreams, I can see my daughter and hold her and play with her. In dreams, I can see her flying though the air being tossed between her Uncle Aaron and and her Daddy. In dreams, I too can fly.


munyer jerk chicken said...

I love that many times I seem to be the first to read your late night posts. I too am a bit of an insomniac (it's an Alaskan summer problem... hard to sleep when it's light outside). Besides, I have the advantage of being 2 (or 3?) hours behind you. Anyway, I, too, love that moment when sleep finally comes!

I've thought a lot about you in the past couple of days... I'm preparing to teach lesson 14 from the Joseph Smith book. A lot of the prophet's words are echoed by many of your posts. I admire your faithfulness.
May you sleep well!

kathryn_m said...

Sleep is when the mind and soul can take a trip away from our body while they rest for the day's work that lies ahead.

I too struggle with insomnia - I can usually fall asleep quite quickly but, regardless of how physically tired I am, I seem to wake up after the only a few hours to begin the preocess once more.

Tonight is a case in point.

Stephanie said...

I sure could use better sleep myself. I fall asleep right away. It is the many wake up times that have me exhausted.

My wish for you is to have many wonderful dreams.

Twinkletoes said...

The bond between the girls is so sweet. I love that Annie looks to you for trust and you are teaching her how to be independent. She will thank you for both some day! What a sweet, sweet family!

Shanan said...

I miss that sweet little Ann Marie and the many opportunities I have had to put her to sleep.

May you both find peace in your sleep ...

Amanda said...

those are the sweetest pictures....

Julie said...

You are breaking my heart. I am sorry to hear that you and your girls suffer from insomnia and it has only worsened since Camille left. I pray that you may all sleep restfully and that each night it will get easier. The picture of Anne Marie holding Camille's purple blankie and holding Sabrina's hand is so cute. I am glad that your girls have eachother. I know you don't know me, but I visit your blog daily awed by your strength and your ability to put your struggles into words so eloquently. I was the one that referred Brittany to your blog, and I know you are helping her through her own struggles of losing Daxton.

Jody said...


I have been following your blog for the last couple of weeks, in awe of your spirit and strength. I haven't commented until now because I haven't felt that I had anything to say that may help you or be of comfort to you. I've never been through something even close to what you've been going through!

I know you're probably sick of people telling you "Oh, just do this, and you'll sleep fine!" I'm not preaching a cure all here, but I will tell you what helps me fall asleep. You're welcome to try it and see if it helps you.

I, too, have difficultly falling asleep and sleeping soundly. My mind is always racing in circles about one thing or another, and I have such a hard time getting it to slow down and stop. I also tried the keep-yourself-exhausted-on-purpose-so-you'll-know-you-fall-asleep-quickly routine. It worked, but it took its toll.

What I do is simple, but it works very well for me. I turn on some soft music like a movie soundtrack or something choral, religious, or classical. I dim the lights, and I stretch. I have a 15 minute long stretching routine that I go through, taking deep breaths all the while, and usually with my eyes closed.

Stephanie, this allows me to calm my mind in preparation for sleep. I think of it as sort of a head start. Instead of tossing and turning waiting for my mind to slow down in bed, I give it a chance to do it beforehand. I've found that I fall asleep more quickly, and sleep more soundly through the night when I do this.

I don't know if this will help you, but I was so excited to see a post that I could relate to and offer some advice on!

Keep up the good fight!

Jill said...
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Anonymous said...

Once again from someone who doesn't know you, I have tears streaming. This post just broke my heart thinking how much your girls miss their baby sister. I love that in your dreams you can see your daughter again. I don't know if I'd ever want to wake up.

Jody said...

I forgot to mention in my lengthy post above, that I always do my stretching as the last thing I do before I go to bed. I transition from one straight to the other. I find it most helpful that way.


Six-Pack Momma said...

Oh, how sweet. I love the pic of little Annie holding Sabrina's hand. My kids all love to sleep in the same room. Even at 12, my oldest prefers sleeping on the floor in the family room. They all ask daily if they can sleep in the same room. Why on earth did we build a house with enough bedrooms for all of them?

Evs & The Hubby said...

The pictures are touching. they remind me of my sister and I after watching a scary movie. I don't have sleep issues so my heart pains for you. After girls camp I was exhausted for a week because I didn't sleep well so I can't imagine struggling daily. I also watch Mike struggle with sleeping so I witness how it can be rough on your body through him.

You are such a trooper!

renae said...

hi stephanie, i've been reading about and praying for you since the accident. i'm one of rach & e's freshman year girls, and maybe because of them, this has hit very close to home for me. i've been very inspired by the thoughts you've shared here, so thank you for your openness and honesty. i don't know how you do it.

we have some great friends in our ward here in UT. they are an older couple with adult kids and many grandkids. they are two of the most peaceful, faithful people i know, and early on we learned about the tragic loss of their 17 month old boy years and years ago. you can read about it here:

the other night as they were home teaching, they mentioned what happened to their little boy, and i couldn't help but think of you...

he told me "the missing your child never goes away, but if you allow him to, the lord will bless you and fill you up. you've got to be in a place where you can recognize and receive those blessings, though."

i've been so amazed at your faithfulness and your ability to see God's hand and plan at work for you. i hope that eventually the long nights are less painful and more peaceful. that only comes with time...

thank you again for being so candid with your blog; you really are helping countless people find or remember the love of the savior in their lives.

Anonymous said...

My sleeping problems worsened after losing my daughter too. When it's really bad I take an Ambien or Benadryl for a little relief. Otherwise I started to worry about my health and ability to cope because of the prolonged lack of sleep. When I found it, sleep was a nice respite, except when I woke up every morning I would think, "I had the most awful dream last night," but then as I became more coherent I realized it wasn't a dream, it was real.

Wishing you much restful, rejuvinating sleep, Stephanie.

Anonymous said...

dream...another tender mercy from the lord. i love those ones where you can just BE with the one you miss so much. waking up is sometimes harder than falling asleep.

Cardalls said...

I love the photo of the sisters holding hands, that is the sweetest thing!

kmoe said...

Sweet Dreams to you and your family! You are in my thoughts and prayers daily... all the way from Traverse City, Michigan.
From one mom to another... You have very clean floors :) I love the picture of your daughter sleeping on the hard tile floor.

annie said...

You don't know me, but I happened upon your blog through one of my friend's blogs. I have read your posts and have been touched by your strength. I have a friend who lost her 16 month old son by a drowning in June. I felt inspired to give you her blog link so that maybe you all can connect. I cannot imagine the grief you are going through. Thank you for sharing your feelings with all of us.

the link is

julesttdmom said...

Wow, aren't the girls so sweet. I love how they know that they have each other. Sabrina is such a sweet big sister. She always has been. It is amazing how fast they have to grow up in hard times. I often times find Regan doing something for Collin or comforting him and I have to step back and think... yes, she is the little sister.
I am so sorry that you are having a hard time falling asleep. This is a problem that I have as well. I usually find comfort with melatonin. (A natural sleep aid) Collin has not slept through the night in eight years. So, I am used to no sleep. It is the falling asleep part that makes me crazy.
You are always in our hearts and prayers. Several people from 1st ward have asked for your new address. If it is ok I would love to give it to them so that they can send cards and gifts for the girls. (my personal e-mail
My your dreams be filled with happy memories!!
Julie Presley said...


the pictures of the girls together are priceless. my heart aches for them. So glad they have each other to hold onto though. love you.

cmomof2 said...

What incredible positions your children sleep in! I love the pictures! And the sleep thing, isnt that just a mom thing?! I am so bad, but it totally runs in my family too. My mom is terrible too!

Maine Mom said...

Those pictures are adorable. My kids don't have any sleep issues and I still find them asleep in weird, uncomfortable places at times. I guess when kids are ready to fall asleep, they'll crash anywhere!

Enjoy your dreams. :-)

Anonymous said...

I don't know you personally, but I was sent to your blog from a friend. I am so inspired by your words and testimony. You are so strong. All I can say is thank you. Thank you for reminding me to look to the Lord for help. Thank you for reminding me to find comfort in my own family and friends. Thank you for sharing yourself in such a boundless way. You are truely a missionary right now. THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Allred Fam said...

I've commented once before, and had lost my first baby 8+ years ago. I just wanted to say, I love that you can "see" her in your dreams, and to treasure that. The mind is a wonderful and terrible thing, and is so powerful that in dreams you actually CAN see loved ones. But with time, the vividness of those images fade and do not come as often. Cherish those moments of half-consciousness when she IS with you in your dreams. You will treasure them always- Beth

Another Day said...


Continue prayers for you and yours. For healing, strength and peace.

My oldest and I have a hard time falling asleep as well. We have had great success using Melatonin.

Here is the link to wikipedia for Melatonin

It is NOT a sleep pill and is a natural substance. But it works wonderful.

Blessings and Hugs,


Anonymous said...

I've been "stalking" your blog for a while--my sister told me about it.

I went to the temple last night and did sealings. Afterwards I sat in the Celestial room pondering. For my own reasons I turned to the story of Hannah in 1 Sam 1-2. You came to mind, so I wanted to share.

First, Hannah struggles with infertility (I understand this) and makes a deal with the Lord--if you will give me a baby, I will dedicate his life to You.

Second, she has a baby. She resists returning to the temple until he is weaned. But then she takes him, and leaves him in the service of the Lord for the rest of his life.

Third, after leaving her child, she praises the Lord.

When I thought of Hannah being separated for Samuel just after he was weaned--so that he could do the Lord's work, I thought of Camille.

I was so interested--her prayer of thanksgiving and praise did not come when she got pregnant, or when Samuel was born. It came after she was separated from him. It was hard for me to imagine.

I appreciate your testimony.

Michele & Wyatt said...

I have been one of those "silent stalkers" who have been so inspired by your blog. I found you through my friend Tara Lemos, and I'm just amazed at the wonderful strength and testimony you have. I hope that if I was faced with your same situation that I would have the faith and strength that you have had. You are amazing! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings. I know you are helping many people.

I am preparing to teach Relief Society this Sunday. The title of the lesson is "Words of Hope and Consolation at the Time of Death". I was hoping for your permission to share your thoughts about "being invested" with my class. It goes with the lesson so well and your words are beautiful. I assume that since you are sharing them with the world via your blog then you wouldn't mind, but I really felt like I should ask. If you would not like me to share your words, please let me know by saying something on your blog or you can leave a comment on my blog If I don't hear otherwise I will share that analogy with my class. Thanks again for being so open. You have a beautiful family. You are in my prayers.
Michele Mansfield

The Hansens said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Hansens said...

You don't even know me, but yet you inspire me to be a better mother and woman. I am awe-inspired by your faith and strength. You continue to strengthen my testimony. It is truly amazing to read of the Spirit that attends you each day. I pray I can be the kind of mother you inspire me to be.

Anonymous said...

My sister in law Mandy Ashton was telling me of your sweet family recently. Your faith has inspired me to try a little harder to be the mother and woman that I know I can be. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your testimony. You and your family are in my prayers and thoughts. If you can face this challenge with such give us all the strenth to face our own trials with faith as well. I hope you find the sleep you deserve. Love, Kim (Camp) Ashton

Carrie said...

I can't ever read your blog without crying, and this one just really made me sad. To think of those little girls missing their sister is just heart breaking. The picture of the girls holding hands is really truely precious.

MaryClaire said...

i love love love those pictures. i also think it's so amazing the bond all your girls have with each other. it's not always or usually that way between sisters.

janelle said...


Hey, I'm not sure if you remember me, but I am Janelle...your nurse at St. Rose after you had Camille. I found your site a few weeks ago and have been so impressed with your candid thoughts and with your strength and testimony.

Ironically, I thought of you a lot even before the accident because I just really appreciated your spirit at the hospital. It was easy to get drawn to you. Now I think of you even more. I hope you know that you are and have been in my thoughts and prayers. I love that you have like 70+ comments on all of your entrys!! You are blessing lives and you are such an example to me.

I am up the street from you so hopefully we'll run into each other some day!! I am also in the Stake RS Presidency, so I'm sure at some point I'll be making a visit to your ward. I can't wait to run into you and give you a big hug! :)

BTW---I'm OBSESSED with SYTYCD....I might be crashing the party one day....I was sad about Kherington! :)

Thank you, Stephanie, for thoughts and spirit!


Rachel said...

You write so compellingly about your grief and your faith, it's been such an inspiration to me. I've been really working on letting go and trusting God, being able to say "Thy will be done" and not being so anxious and afraid all the time. Seeing your faith in the midst of every mother's worst nightmare has helped me with that. You give me hope that if the worst did happen, I could survive it. And that in turn helps me to be less anxious and afraid. It helps me enjoy the moment more with my kids. And of course, your writing also helps me cherish my kids more, even in the midst of the day to day chaos.

The lullaby and slideshow you posted... words can't even describe how sad it made me, but at the same time it's such a beautiful tribute to Camille and a beautiful way to remember her. Thank you for being willing to be an instrument in the Lord's hands to inspire and buoy up the faith of so many others, even in the midst of your own tragedy.
Rachel Merrill
PS. My husband, Adam, remembers you from dance team in highschool. His thoughts and prayers are with you as well as mine.

Lori said...

Dreaming is God's way of letting us live in a place (at least for a night) that we normally can't touch during the day. May God bless you Stephanie with many dreams.

Cassie Jo said...

Jonathan and Stephanie,
I have an email I would like to send to you but I would like to know if you could tell me your email address? My name is Cassie Weske. I know who you are through the Traynor's. They're in my ward. I lost an infant not more than two weeks before you.
I tried to post the email on here but it was a lot more than 300 characters long which is not allowed to be posted.
Cassie Weske

Josh and Betsie said...
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Josh and Betsie said...

I heard a good song from the dixie chicks called Lullaby. I thought of you when I listened to it. I know you dont know me but I think of you often and when I heard this I thought you would like it. I think it is the theme song to every mother.
take care

vera said...

I haven't commented before, because I never really knew how to find words that might comfort you. I don't have kids, but as a sister I can imagine the pain your kids are going through. I wasn't sure how you might think about the fact that even people in Europe found your blog and thus hesitated to leave a comment. I used to say that I am not a very religious person, but I think reading your blog during the last couple of weeks has changed the religious aspect. Thank you :-)

Kathryn said...

Don't know if this will help but the director of nursing at Spencer's work told him that the best thing to do if you can't fall asleep is take a hot shower in dim light. The shower warms up your body which relaxes it and light stimulates your nervous system so keeping it dim helps calm you down. I've tried it a couple of times and it has worked well for me. For Ann Marie, I don't know if you've tried this but we let our kids listen to stories on CD at night and they usually fall asleep quite easily. Have you heard of Scripture Scouts? It is one of their favorites.
I hope you can dream of Camille often. What a wonderful blessing. I will add that into my prayers for you. You are loved!

Amy Jones said...

Hey Stephanie,
So I was on the phone with a friend yesterday, and she says to me, "Hey, were you on dance team with a Stephanie Harris?" I said, "Do you know her?" Any way, she had been on the phone with Adam Merrill's wife and Adam had mentioned about your blog and the happenings with your family. Small world. So, she sent me your blog link, and I am so overcome with what you have written, the photos (Which being a photo junkie, btw, are great and very accurately expressive). Shoot, I know I haven't seen or talked to you in what, 15/16 years? But seeing your picture and reading of your family and your baby's death brought me to my knees. I can't even imagine. Thank you for sharing. Your writings have given me more strength and better perspective. Frankly, I am more patient and careful with my children's feelings. I just had my 5th baby, and the thought of losing any one of them, and then having to go on to recover with the family makes me beside myself. I'm sure your experience will help others tremendously. Stay strong sista. Love,
Amy (Cox) Jones

annaoaks said...

Dear Stephanie,
I loved the photos of your girls sleeping! Our girls are so alike--our 9-yr.old is all over the place (we have learned to NEVER sleep with her!!) and our 7-year old has to be covered and surrounded with stuffed animals! We hope to be able to get together with you guys some time to play again. Dana has followed your blog very faithfully but I just haven't had the courage until now. I have shed so many tears for you and Jonathan. Thank you for sharing this blog and for the way you are handling life right now. We had friends in North Carolina who lost their son in a similar accident, and we are so amazed by the faith we see in others and the healing power of Christ, in spite of all the pain. From the responses to this post, it looks like a lot of moms suffer from insomnia! Being up at night is one thing; having to carry on the next day is another. . . Benadryl, Melatonin, Drammamine--I used to feel bad about taking stuff, but it can be a life-saver.
Good luck. You don't just have to take one day at a time--you can take one night at a time, too.
We love you guys so much,

Laurie in NJ said...

The photos of your girls sleeping are so precious they brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful family you have!
Laurie in NJ