A Year

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It’s been a year since we last saw our son.  

I’ve been dreading this day.  

It will come around once a year… but the truth is the actual day doesn’t carry the heartache.  The truth is that I replay the events of that one day, over and over in my head.  I remember it. Every. Single. Day.

Like a movie reel, I can close my eyes and see it play out.  The emotions flood back.  I can’t breathe.  I start to gag.

I don’t share these memories aloud because I don’t want the burden of someone else carrying around these horrible memories.  I know my husband has his own memories of events from that day.  That’s painful enough to know he carries that around.  I feel for the first responders that came to our aide, for the doctors and nurses that tried to save him. They carry around their own memories of that day.

 

I know all too well that death is a part of life.  It doesn’t make it any easier. 

 

What I do know is that through all of this pain that we will carry for the rest of our lives, there was also great joy.  The opportunity to have and love our child, Miles.  To become a mother.  To see my husband become a wonderful fathjer.  To feel the strength of our marriage.  These are all invaluable gifts brought from our son’s presence. 

 

In the next couple of weeks we will be welcoming our second son into the World.  While we are so thankful, emotions are heavy.  We know all too well the reality of life’s difficulties.  The worst case scenario. We will carry this for the rest of our lives. 

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Grieving thru the Holidays

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Most people look towards the end of year holidays and festivities. A time full of joy and love. How do you make it through the holidays when your heart is completely shattered? The one thing in the world that you want is not here. The cheer surrounding you is a painful reminder that your life is missing a large piece. The people close to you are kind and know that the holidays are difficult but they still get to enjoy them with their families, and you can’t fault them for enjoying. After all that’s what we wish for others and for ourselves.

So how do you survive these times? For me, it means finding ways to pay tribute to those that I love who aren’t here to share these moments. Finding moments of peace, whenever available, no matter how brief. Being kind to myself. I try to stay positive but find that at least once a day I have a good healthy breakdown. I let it come, I feel it, I let it go. It isn’t easy. It takes effort.

I pray for peace for anyone who finds themselves grieving the loss of a loved one during the holiday season.

Giving Thanks

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In a time where we’ve recently experienced a traumatic loss it can be difficult to escape our grief long enough to be grateful. Surprisingly through the moments and sadness, the feeling of gratefulness has often surfaced. So although my life isn’t ideal (is anyone’s?!) and we are in a tremendous amount of pain there is still much that I am grateful for.

My family and friends – I’m blessed with an amazing support system. Each of them contribute in different ways and together they make up just about everything that I could need. They are there for the good, the bad, and the ugly. These people are kind and remind me that good people do exist.

Priorities – The ability to shift my perspective on life in a constructive manner. I don’t stress about the dishes in the sink or the dog hair on the sofa these days. I try (and sometimes it takes a lot of work) to focus my energy on contributing to life in a positive way whether it’s for me or someone else.

Simple Pleasures – Those daily moments that are often overlooked… the sun and clouds in the sky, the smells of seasons changing, snuggling with the puppies, enjoying a nice meal, a good book, spending time with those that you enjoy being with.

Memories – The opportunity to see, hear, or smell something that brings back a special memory. I take those precious moments, cherish them, and hold them close.

My husband – I am more grateful each day for my husband. He has been my anchor that has allowed me to move about with gentle waves but kept me firmly planted from drifting too far out. I am so lucky to have an amazing person to share my life’s journey with.

My child – This year I am most grateful for the opportunity to become a mother. Although the time spent with my child will never be enough; I was given the greatest gift that I have ever received and for that will be eternally grateful.

I hope that whatever challenges that life has faced you with this year, you are able to step back and evaluate the blessings in your life. My goal for the next year is to make my list a little bit longer.

Happy Thanksgiving.

The empty morning

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I wake up every day and my first instinct is to see my child. A child who is not there. In those first few seconds of the day my mind plays a cruel trick on me. I am immediately reminded that my child has died and I will not ever see him again during my time on Earth. Once that I think of our empty house, I close my eyes and trace his features. His sweet lips, his long fingers, his beautiful hair. The want to see and touch him is overwhelming. There is a fear that one day, too soon, I’ll close my eyes and not be able to trace those beautiful details.

I then force myself to get out of bed and start the day. I’m able to redirect my attention to the daily mundane tasks… Brushing my teeth and feeding the dogs. When those tasks are done I can’t help but to think that my morning routine is missing the most important piece. I should be taking care of my 8 month old child.

I know that unfortunately this is my reality and I don’t know if this feeling will ever fade but some days it is unbearable. But you keep going because what choice do you have? This is my reality.

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Infant Loss Awareness Day

I sit here heartbroken for all of those who have experienced loss of their baby. Does it make it any easier that the time spent with your child was brief? No. The truth is that you feel robbed that the time was so brief. The fact that more time has past than spent with your child is painful.

Infant loss awareness day isn’t for those mothers and father who have lost their child… They remember every second of every day. I hope that everyone will take a moment of their day to remember those sweet children that were here for far too short.

A Worried Heart Finds No Peace

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The days have come and gone… Excruciatingly slow. Each day greeted with the painful feeling of unimaginable loss. Months pass and they’re all a blur. How is it possible that the slow days have collected into significant time passing? Time has done little to heal this pain. Still fresh and raw as the moments immediately following my child’s death. Passion for some things have disappeared. The day to day busy-ness, want to make money and be successful no longer exist for me. It is replaced with a re-found love and passion for my marriage. Importance to be in a place where we are able to be safe and secure, spend moments with one another, to be surrounded with friends where there are moments that require little effort. The friends that are easy to be around and comforting. My mind and body can tolerate little more than a simple life.

In the past I’ve responded to grief with a self perceived display of strength and a wanting to be successful. Maybe it was a way to control what I could for fear of the uncontrollable.

This grief is very different. I am re-evaluating myself on the granular level. I don’t feel the need to prove I’m strong to anyone this time. I only feel the need to comfort and support my husband. I have little strength for anything else. Surviving.

This has been a cruel experience. I know there is a long road ahead that will last the remainder of my life. I will carry this pain and loss forever. I am finding moments of peace in knowing that it is very little that I actually need. I cannot and will not ever be able to shelter my life and those I that I love from all things difficult. The painful truth is that throughout my life I will experience more heartache. I hope that those moments are rare and minimal in comparison. Worrying about the chances that things will happen will not change the odds. Worry does little to ease the heart.

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A Hopeful Heart

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Life is precious.

I’ve known this for some time now.  I’ve believed this for some time now.  Now, I feel it.

Whenever you lose someone that you love, no matter the relationship, you mourn, you grieve.  We are angry at the world, angry at God.  Why do we lose people we love?  Do we deserve to feel this pain?  It isn’t fair. The harsh reality is that this happens to good people, every single day.  That doesn’t mean that our pain isn’t real or is not warranted.

What I have been reminded of through this experience is that life is precious.  I am hopeful that I will get to meet my loved ones once again when it is my time, and that makes me smile.  Until then, I have an amazing life ahead of me.  I know all too well that it will be a short time here, for some too short.  My heart is broken and will never be completely whole again; I accept that.  I will choose to live with a hopeful heart.  I will try my best to be a good wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend.  I know some days I will fail miserably.  I will try to not fill up my time and life with meaningless items, but rather experiences, conversations, and a whole ‘lotta love.  Most of all, I will try to live with a hopeful heart.

 

 

 

finding strength

I am uneasy.
I am terrified.
I am heart broken.
I am angry.

How do you find peace after losing your child?

People tell me, “You are so strong”. Am I really strong or am I just figuring out how to get by moment by moment because what other options do I have? None.

Simple words or phrases now harbor a tinge of pain when they’re said.
“I couldn’t live without my baby” … but I have to.

“A month isn’t that long to wait”… I  know how long a month is. That’s how long I got to spend with my child.  Also, time now has no reasonable frame of reference and minutes, hours, and days are distorted, all excruciatingly slow.

“You can have more children”… Nothing about this statement is appropriate or comforting. Nothing can replace our first born son, even other babies.

I know in my heart that these things are not said to be hurtful, however the lenses we now view the world with are jaded. We will always feel our loss.

So, how do you find peace after losing your child? I have no idea. But what I am trying to do is live simply.
Breathe deeply. Cry often. Love hard. Take time each day to appreciate life.

I’m not there yet, but I’m trying my best.

My Story

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My heart is heavy.  It’s a very physical pain.  I feel the loss of our child in every moment, in different ways.  A loss that now defines me.

Here is my story….

My birthday wish for my 28th birthday was to have a child.  Six short weeks later we found out that we were expecting our first baby.  We were over the moon with excitement.  Our lives were suddenly consumed with decisions about things like what stroller we should get and what color we should paint the nursery.  I spent countless hours scouring all of Pinterest for nursery ideas and baby food recipes, because of course we would make our own food.  Heaven forbid our baby eat something pre-made out of a jar.  In hindsight I would let him eat out of a dog food bowl if he wanted to and if that meant he was here and healthy.

After 38 weeks of an uneventful and healthy pregnancy our sweet, perfect, baby, Miles Francis came into the World.  He had a full head of hair and a dimple in his chin.  He was beautiful.  He scored a 9 on his APGAR and being the competitive people that we were, were thrilled that he scored so high.  Again, in hindsight, I don’t care what that ridiculous score was…. it didn’t save my baby. We spent the next 2 days in the hospital staring at our new baby and soaking in those utopian moments of being a parent.  I have never experienced anything so thrilling.

We came home from the hospital and were welcomed to our home with balloons lining our sidewalk and bouquets of flowers.  The first night home was a breeze.  We set our alarm clocks and woke our baby for his feedings.  The next day at his appointment, he was continuing to lose weight.  We had difficulty and much frustration with breastfeeding.  I had seen so many mothers breastfeed with no issues, or at least they didn’t talk about them.  We had daily visits to the doctor to try different methods and ultimately had to supplement with formula.  I remember thinking what a hassle it was. Again, I would gladly pump breast milk for hours every day if that meant my baby was here.

We went to Miles’ one month check-up on a Monday.  We waited in the waiting room with other new parents, all checking out each other’s little ones.  He was checked out and got his shot, which as parents know, is difficult to watch but we even giggled at the face he made and his little cry.  It was rare that we heard him cry.

The next day he was very tired and didn’t eat very much.  The next day, the same thing.  I called the doctor’s office as a concerned parent. Two hours later our child was gone.  He passed away at 34 days old in my arms.

The hours following all went by so quickly and some of it a blur and other moments I can remember in vivid detail.  Replaying those hours over and over and over in my head.

What happened to our child?  We had no answers.  Only questions… many, many questions.  The harsh truth is that I can and will search for answers but none of it will bring my baby back.

The next days, weeks, now, are all a blur.  It has been two short months and the pain is very raw.  I count down the minutes until the end of each day so that I can go to sleep and be done with day.

Losing our baby has turned our world upside down never to be back as it was.  A part of us is gone.  We will never be whole again.

Each moment brings a different emotion.  My beliefs, my faith, my strength shift manically.  I often feel crazy.  I try to do “normal” things.  Hang out with friends.  Be social.  It is incredibly difficult to be in these situations and most of me just wants to stay home and cry but part of me knows I need to push myself to be around people.  Daily interactions prove to be exhausting.  Again, each day, the goal is to get through it.  Bedtime is an accomplishment, as it’s one more day down and then it is suddenly laced with sadness when I look over where my baby slept and see empty space.  The tears fill my eyes as I take a Xanax to get me through just trying to fall asleep.

This experience is still very new to us.  I do know that I would not be able to get through this journey without my friends and family and notably the people below.

My husband. I have never loved my husband more.  He allows me to be myself without judgment and is the only person who shares the love as a parent for our son.  My heart aches for him.  His strength amazes me and he has the ability to often remind me of the good.

My sister. She has given me the opportunity to become an aunt to an amazing niece and nephew.  This was my first experience of holding a new baby and feeling unconditional love at first sight.  My niece and nephew have done wonders for my shattered heart.  Their innocence and love is often what gets me through difficult moments.

My friends. I have had the opportunity to be raised in a small town and grow up with a group of girls that have remained friends for over 20 years.  As I’ve grown older I realize more and more how rare this is.  We’ve lost touch, moved, had families, but are there for each other no matter what.  It’s comforting to be around people that you don’t have to explain anything to; they just know.

Anyone who has supported us and allowed us to share our son with them. Through this I’ve realized that many people are uncomfortable being around us.  It may be for fear of saying the wrong thing or upsetting us.  The truth is we think about our son all of the time.  Nothing anyone says is going to suddenly make us remember this tragic event that we are trying to forget.  It doesn’t work like that.  However, I do understand this is the reaction from some people, and that’s okay.  Luckily, so far our experience has been a tremendous outpouring of support from our family, friends, co-workers, and even strangers. While they don’t feel the same pain (and we would never want them to!) they do care.  They take time to send us daily notes, cards, messages, supper and it means the world to us.  I’ve connected with other families who have experienced loss and while my heart breaks for them, it helps to hear their stories.

I’ve rambled on about our story, it is all very new and I imagine that my feelings, thoughts, and perspective will change through time. In summary I know the following to be true.

We will never be the same.  I say this with full confidence that I will never be the same person that I was.  Losing our son has been a traumatic experience and has changed me forever.  The day our son was born was the best day of my life and has changed me forever.  I can control the person that I become.

I cannot do this alone.  I am so grateful for the support that we have.  I hope to always remember the impact that someone’s actions can have.  I am a believer that what matters in life is how you treat each other.  Treat each other well.

Thank you for allowing me to share this journey.