Saturday, December 29, 2012

There Can Be Miracles When You Believe




Many nights we prayed 
With no proof anyone could hear 
In our hearts a hope for a song 
We barely understood 
Now we are not afraid 
Although we know there's much to fear 
We were moving mountains 
Long before we knew we could, whoa, yes 
There can be miracles 
When you believe 
Though hope is frail 
It's hard to kill 
Who knows what miracles 
You can achieve 
When you believe somehow you will 
You will when you believe 
[Mmmmmmmmmyeah] 
Mmmyeah 
In this time of fear 
When prayer so often proves in vain 
Hope seems like the summer bird 
Too swiftly flown away 
Yet now I'm standing here 
My hearts so full, I can't explain 
Seeking faith and speakin words 
I never thought I'd say 
There can be miracles 
When you believe (When you believe) 
Though hope is frail 
It's hard to kill (Mmm) 
Who knows what miracles 
You can achieve (You can achieve) 
When you believe somehow you will 
You will when you believe 
[Hey] 
[Ooh] 
They don't always happen when you ask 
And it's easy to give in to your fears 
But when you're blinded by your pain 
Can't see the way, get through the rain 
A small but still, resilient voice 
Says love is very near, oh [Oh] 
There can be miracles (Miracles) 
When you believe (Boy, when you believe, yeah) [Though hope is frail] 
Though hope is frail [Its hard] 
It's hard to kill (Hard to kill, oh, yeah) 
Who knows what miracles 
You can achieve (You can achieve, oh) 
When you believe somehow you will (Somehow, somehow, somehow) 
Somehow you will (I know, I know, know) 
You will when you believe [When you] 
(Ohoh) 
[You will when you] 
(You will when you believe) 
[Oohoohooh] 
[Oh... oh] 
[When you believe] 
[When you believe]

"Mommy"

I watch a young woman in the blooming and I am amazed, nope that word doesn't even encapsulate it, I am truly in wonder.

I always beat myself up for not knowing how to conquer all of the battles of motherhood, after all this IS my second time around.  I always thought I would not make a good mother, my patience has not always held the best reputation.  I often thought that I would be too consumed in my grief over Trey that I could not give her all she deserves.

The truth is, with her my patience is pure, I am not the disciplinarian I thought I would be, I am the consoler, time-outs equal me walking away from a tantrum yet giving sweet cuddles when she calms down.  This child WANTS to spend time with me, WANTS to be held by me, WANTS to be silly with me, WANTS me to be her Mommy and I am ever present with her in every moment she is with me.  She listens to me, wants me to teach her, plays with me, finds comfort in me, she even pats on my shoulder when I should be patting on hers for soothing.

She calls me "Mommy" and it's...well...it's life changing.

As she grows and learns I realize that I had a part in that although I think she is pretty perceptive on her own and her Daddy possesses most of the intelligence.  She has a kind heart, the kind of heart we all want to have.  Even at her worst, she is my inspiration.

I feel, as always, that Trey sent her to us knowing all that she could and will be and that it would fill our shattered hearts, he was right, he was spot on.

Only when I am alone with my thoughts does my regret and wanton nature creeps in.  I've always wanted all of these wonders with my first, it was never meant to be.  If anything, his precious life prepped me as a parent, however bittersweet that sounds, I experience it daily.

Regardless, Trey has left her in our charge, CHARGE...seems ironic but kismet as well.  I find joy and fulfillment in that responsibility, not because he expects it, but because I love my children.  Yes, I did not get the chance to watch Trey live as Lorelei does, I never would have anyway, I didn't want him to live that way.  Trey taught me that there is always love in the greatest of tragedies, love is ALWAYS the potential from pain.

So I watch my daughter thrive, learn, grow, become.  I revel in it not because of Trey, I would have done the same for him if given the chance.  I am simply humbled to experience the miracle that is the lives of my children, not matter the duration.

My mom always said I would make a good mother, I never believed her.  She was right, I gave my son freedom and I give my daughter all that a mother should give.  I can only give so much to Trey, but he has given me so much more than I can repay, so I focus on giving Lorelei the same life, love, nurturing and care that I give him.

And she still calls me Mommy... <3


Saturday, December 22, 2012

It's not "get over", it's getting past

Throughout my journey of grieving my child I have learned that you never "get over" losing a child, you get past it.  You live through each day, sometimes it's like trudging through mud, other days it's like walking in the cold ocean water in the soft sand on a sunny day.

In this joyous holiday season, I am enjoying time with my loved ones, especially my husband and my daughter/  And except for setting up both of the children's trees, I have not thought sadly on my son.  Lorelei loves all of the "tees" but she gravitates more towards the little blue tree all lit up for Trey.  She is constantly taking his ornaments off and showing them to me.

Sometimes grief is like a Christmas tree, the joy of the ornament weighs down the branch but the whole  tree is still beautiful.

So tonight was the first night that I folded into a sorrow spell.  I was listening to the Garden State soundtrack and this song comes on by Colin Haye:



I drink good coffee every morning
Comes from a place that's far away
And when I'm done I feel like talking
Without you here there is less to say
I don't want you thinking I'm unhappy
What is closer to the truth
That if I lived till I was 102
I just don't think I'll ever get over you
I'm no longer moved to drink strong whisky
'Cause I shook the hand of time and I knew
That if I lived till I could no longer climb my stairs
I just don't think I'll ever get over you
Your face it dances and it haunts me
Your laughter's still ringing in my ears
I still find pieces of your presence here
Even after all these years
But I don't want you thinking I don't get asked to dinner
'Cause I'm here to say that I sometimes do
Even though I may soon feel the touch of love
I just don't think I'll ever get over you
If I lived till I was 102
I just don't think I'll ever get over you


We get past, but we never "get over" losing our children.  

Saturday, December 15, 2012

5 Things Not to Say...

Special Thanks to my friend Gale for sharing this with me: 

Wisdom from Emily Hearh:

We often have no idea what to say in the face of senseless loss. That is especially true when children are the victims of tragedy. Today's shooting in Connecticut is heartbreaking in so many ways, not the least of which is the staggering loss of children.
My first two years in ministry were spent as a chaplain assigned to the emergency department of a children's hospital with a level one trauma center. During that ministry I saw so many senseless tragedies. I also heard some of the worst theology of my life coming from people who thought they were bringing comfort to the parents. More often than not, they weren't. And often, they made the situation worse.
Here are five things not to say to grieving family and friends:
1. "God just needed another angel."
Portraying God as someone who arbitrarily kills kids to fill celestial openings is neither faithful to God, nor helpful to grieving parents.
2. "Thank goodness you have other children," or, "You're young. You can have more kids."
Children are not interchangeable or replaceable. The loss of a child will always be a loss, no matter how many other children a parent has or will have.
3. He/she was just on loan to you from God.
The message is that God is so capricious that God will break parents' hearts at will just because God can. It also communicates to parents and loved ones that they are not really entitled to their grief.
4. God doesn't give you more than you can handle.
Actually, some people do get a lot more than any one person should ever have to handle. And it doesn't come from God. Don't trivialize someone's grief with a "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" mentality.
5. We may not understand it, but this was God's will.
Unless you are God, don't use this line.
And here are five things to say:
1. I don't believe God wanted this or willed it.
A grieving friend or family member is likely hearing that this is God's will from a number of other people. Affirm the idea that it may very well not be.
2. It's okay to be angry, and I'm a safe person for you express that anger to if you need it.
Anger is an essential part of the grieving process, but many don't know where to talk about it because they are often silenced by others when they express their feelings. (For instance, they may be told they have no right to be angry at God.) By saying you are a safe person to share all feelings, including anger, with, you help the grieving person know where they can turn.
3. It's not okay.
It seems so obvious, but sometimes this doesn't get said. Sometimes the pieces don't fit. Sometimes nothing works out right. And sometimes there is no way to fix it. Naming it can be helpful for some because it lets them know you won't sugarcoat their grief.
4. I don't know why this happened.
When trauma happens, the shock and emotion comes first. But not long after comes our human need to try to explain "why?" The reality is that often we cannot. The grieving person will likely have heard a lot of theories about why a trauma occurred. Sometimes it's best not to add to the chorus, but to just acknowledge what you do not know.
5. I can't imagine what you are going through, but I am here to support you in whatever way feels best.
Even if you have faced a similar loss, remember that each loss is different. Saying "I know how you're feeling" is often untrue. Instead, ask how the grieving person is feeling. And then ask what you can do to help. Then, do it and respect the boundaries around what they don't want help with at this point. You will be putting some control back into the hands of the grieving person, who often feels like they have lost so much of it.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

3+

When I was in Elementary School our grades were E (excellent), VG (very good), S (satisfactory), and NI (needs improvement).  Nowadays in the same county the students are rated on a 3+, 3, 2, and 1 system.

When you are constantly assessing and explaining to parents why their child received the rating they did, it forces one to think of their life in those terms.

Recently I began to think of the rating of my life after losing a child.

I give myself a 3+ ALL the way!!!

I am still standing.  I show up to work everyday with passion.  I help others who walk the same path as I do.  I am present with my child, my marriage, my family, and my friends.  I weather the ups and downs of life as they come.  I make my house a home.  I educate myself in every element of its existence.  I put one foot in front of the other no matter how I may stumble.  I get out of bed every morning with varying weights on my shoulders.  I cherish the little things, the many little things that turn into big things.  I learn from my mistakes and my triumphs.  I love and live better.  I take every opportunity to better myself.  I am empathetic to those who are struggling.  I am trying to take better care of my mind, body, and spirit.  I am more patient with those I come in contact with.  I make mistakes, yet I try to forgive myself easier and know that mistakes are human as am I.  I listen, not hear, but listen better.  I feel no shame in sharing my son with the world.  I feel more confident as a parent.  I live, I truly live.

Isn't that beyond expectations, in other words a 3+? 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Card


Today I sent my Christmas cards to those that I love
But the one I couldn't send was to you up above.
In your Christmas card what would I say?
That I wish I could see you everyday.
Would I wish you Happy Holidays just like the rest?
To wish I could hold you would be in my jest.
Could I say you were my angel as always you'll be?
Not the one in the Bible or on top of the tree.
How many stamps would it take to reach so far?
Will it reach the Heavens where you are?
Could I convey the greatest of holiday greetings
To you my Angel who's joy it would for me to be meeting?
What package should I send to convey my joy
In having a son, my Angel, my boy?
I can't find the address to the loved one I am sending.
I fear to never find it with my heart forever mending.
So I stamp it with love and with the greatest of care.
I know you'll receive it, I know you will be there.
All I can hope, for you my precious dear
Is that this holiday fills you with great cheer.
For we celebrate on Earth in this joyous of times
While missing you is our greatest of times.
If only  we could send a card to all we have missed
Sadly there are too many, it would be a long list.
But the card I send to you would simply say
You have blessed my life each and everyday.

He has a name...

John Thomas Chatham III
son
grandson
great nephew
great grandson
God Son
Second Cousin
Step Grandson
Trouper
friend
brother
Trey-bay
"John"
miracle
patient
angel
inspiration
baby
NICU baby
preemie
Angel Baby
legacy
First Born
blessing
wonder
namesake
strong
Daddy's Boy
Mama's Boy
Big Brother
Baby Trey
JTC3
Angel Son
CHARGE Warrior
Angel BFF

He has a name.. It is Trey

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

More than we can handle...



You often hear it said that "God never gives you more than you can handle" and at the time we lost Trey I would look up the heavens and say "REALLY?!?!?!  YOU THINK I CAN HANDLE THIS?!?!?"

I heard someone say this common saying and got to thinking: Is Trey in Heaven because it was more than the three of us could handle?  I can see how Trey was given more than he could handle, but then you look at our lives.  How bad would it have been caring for him, watching him struggle, raising an impaired child, the constant medical bills and visits, the hospitalization, his life long dependency on us, and the pain of the helplessness we would feel with his condition.

It puts a lot into perspective though we still ask ourselves why did God give him to us if he it was already more than we could handle?

Our fate with him must have been impossible, the same way we felt about getting through his death.  True, in both scenarios their is lifelong heartache.

As much as I miss him and wish he were alive and healthy with us, I am glad he is healthy and happy in Heaven.  We are also better for it even through our sorrow.  John and I are inspired to help other families dealing with similar situations all in the name of Trey. Instead of spending the majority of his life totally focused on his medical status, our eyes were open to a world we never wanted to see, child loss.  But through that vision we keep our loss ever present in our minds and strive to reach out to those who are walking the same path.

I don't think or feel we've seen the last of our son.  Maybe what we couldn't handle was the now and what we could handle was the wait to have some symblance of him, either through spirit or a renewed soul that blesses our family or within the love of friends.  He had important work to do, in our lives and in the lives of all he touched.

Who knows where we would be as a family and as individuals if Trey would have lived, sic or not.  What I have realized is that I CAN handle this grief and any other obstacle that comes my way.  The ones that are too great for me are removed.  God must have considered me pretty strong to saddle me with this journey, others crumble under the weight and I can understand why.

Though there are times that I am weak, I am ever amazed at the progress in my journey so far.   Losing Trey was hard, but apparently not harder than we can handle.  I feel empowered and know that I can conquer anything because nothing can be worse than losing your child.

"God never gives you more than you can handle".  Thank you God for taking Trey and recognizing that he couldn't handle it.  And thank You too for helping me learn how much I can handle and for letting me, through this journey, realize how strong I am.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Broken Heart

When you were conceived our hearts were full with love for you.
We listened to your strong heat beat at every appointment.
Your Daddy's heart grew two sizes when he learned you would have his namesake.
Every day we would fill out hearts with your movements and hiccups.

I don't want to remember the appointment our hearts took a turn for the worse.
All of a sudden your heart was to focus of our lives.
Doctors spent hours looking at your heart trying to find missing physical pieces.
They didn't know your heart was full of love all along.

Your heart told you that you were in trouble so you had to make your escape.
They invaded our last moments together, when our hearts were close to each other.
They monitored your heart while mine was chasing every hope that you were ok.
My heart stopped when yours did as you were born.

I begged them to make your heart work while mine was sinking.
My heart stilled while I waited for your Daddy to come in with news of your health.
When he did, we all could tell his heart was overwhelmed.
His troubled heart stole the flush from his face and words from comforting me.

In a very late hour, our heavy hearts went to see you in your stable environment.
We learned of the weak physical condition of your heart, the heart we lived by.
My heart couldn't comprehend the news of your condition.
They took me back to my room to let my heart process the news.

Over the next few days your heart was what kept us alive.
We lived and breathed knowing your heart was still going.
Our visits with you excited your heart and we worried it was too much.
Our hearts were re-inflated with each day you persevered.

For ten days our hearts beat with yours loving every moment together.
Your beating heart was what we had longed for all along.
When we held you, our hearts beat as one yet three.
Your life spawned the hopes of our hearts, that you would be well.

The day came when your heart led you to gain a bed at the children's hospital.
Our hearts glowed as they prepared you for transfer.
The heart of a nurse called my attention to your open eyes, a picture I always wanted.
I took it as a sign that all of our hearts would be healed.

They let me ride with you on the journey to a healthier heart awaiting you.
But they would not let our hearts be in the same part of the ambulance.
The racing of my heart was registered with every bump in the long journey.
Finally I lightened the heart of the traveling doctor as we arrived.

As your heart was being stabilized ours were settling into the comfort of your care.
Our hearts praised your admission into a hospital of healing.
In our hearts we felt our prayers were answered, that you would heal.
Our hearts rested easier that night, resting near you, hoping for you.

In the morning our hearts were dancing in possibility.
Our inspired hearts came together to meet with the doctors in your care.
Their hearts came together in a delicate way to tell us of your fate.
That is when the cracks in our hearts began to form.

With every gruesome detail, the cracks in our hearts began to spread.
The cracks in our hearts grew depth with your prognosis, with the truth.
My heart was not ready for the explanation from your Daddy.
Your heart had been compromised by your fight for life.

On our fourth wedding anniversary, the hearts of your Daddy and I cemented.
Our heavy hearts came together and decided to save you.
Your heart had been through too much, it was over worked.
Your heart needed peace, needed to be put to rest.

Part of our hearts died that day, our hearts were fragile like yours.
Like everyone else, we could not understand how hearts could be broken like this.
My heart could not stand to be there when your heart physically stopped.
I knew it was forever and my heart would have to keep on beating.

I would have traded hearts with you in an instant.
Our hearts began to shatter through the cold veil of shock.
Those were the days when your heart at peace gave us solace.
Your heart felt no pain, our hearts still beat through the pain.

With your heart whole and healthy in Heaven.
Our hearts splintered under the weight of grief.
Through time we put the pieces back together in our own hearts and each other's.
Until almost all of the pieces of our hearts are back in their places.

You had your heart set on another soul to for us to have and to hold.
Her heart possessed the physical strength yours lacked with the same spiritual strength.
She brought to us a sweetness that caramelized the broken pieces of our hearts.
Though they are now glazed with the love of our children, the heart cracks still show.

Time has harden that sweet glaze holding the pieces of our hearts together.
The seams still show, but your brave heart has made fissures into mere scars.
Each day with your sister and in your legacy fades the scars that marred our hearts.
Our broken hearts are strengthening under the strong love from both of our children.

The hearts of the four of us are strong, both in the spiritual and character sense.
Love connects our hearts like no bond has ever before.
The healing of all of our hearts makes us stronger, our hearts growing with love.
Even though my heart is broken, your daddy, you and your sister make it complete.

Thank you!



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hail to the Full Moon

Hail to the full moon
As it shines brightness on our deepest dark
On our obstacles is casts shadows
Freeing us from bondage
It reveals planets
When we feel so small
It gives us hope
That we too can become whole
Seeing its fruition
We have evidence
That everything comes full circle
We gaze at the moon
Knowing we too
Will be renewed again
The sun rays it reflects
Will be brought to us
With the dawn of a new day
We are transfixed by the light
When our very world
Is so dark
Its light fills a void
When sorrow is the dark
Even when we reach for the light
We only see it in the moon
When our skies are dark
And the stars are
Our only companions
It is a reminder
That the brightness
Of happiness is possible
Even the bravest of us
Can attest of wanting light
In the permanence of shadows
That cloud our lives
Our judgement
Our thinking
Our hearts
In the midst of all of the this
We can rely
On the full moon
To a beacon of peace
A reliant companion
A promise
In the cycle of life

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Is it Jealousy?


Is it jealousy that leads my stomach to turn every time I hear someone I know has become pregnant on their very first try?

Is it envy that leads my eyes to stare at children who are the age he would've been his age and wish I were the parents?

Is it conniving to watch other parents yell at their kids or mistreat them and wish I could take them home to be my own?

Is it bitter to feel disdain towards those who are so fertile that they keep having children even though they cannot provide for the ones they already have?

Is it acidic to wish it were me who was pregnant instead of another woman I know?

Is it wanton that when babies are born I wish they were mine?

Is it begrudging to want the fertility of others?

Is it resentful to wish it was not MY son that dies?

Is it grasping to wish other's fertility and healthy pregnancy on myself when they are done having children?

Is it dissatisfaction that drives these feelings of which I have no desire to feel?

Is it annoyance to watch the parents of the children I teach not take an interest in their children's health, education or overall wellbeing?

Is it malcontent that leads me to be this doubtful, faithless person in the wake of my loss?

Is it sullen to wallow in these feelings



Or is it the remnants of heartache of my ordeal, my infertility, losing my first born, living to tolerate but my heart still feels the pain.  

I would rather feel gratified, satisfied, appreciative, contented, and confident.

I don't suffer from grief, I live a lifetime with it.

I have but one heart, a heart learning to love, trust, and live again.

I am learning the difference between what I deserve and what my live purpose will be.

I am learning about my life's time line I have nothing to do with planning.

I am learning to live in the moment and appreciate what I have which often takes some time to learn.

I am thankful for this learning experience, tolerant with my learning process, and inspired to learn further and live better.

Until then you will have to forgive the learning gap between my brain and my heart.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

So This Is Christmas...continued


As Lorelei experiences her second holiday season, I can't wait to see what she makes of the tradition of Christmas Eve present opening (pjs for all of us), the whole opening presents thing, and the songs that come along way to early in the season.  I am excited for her to experience the joy and wonder of Christmas.  She will no doubt be much more interested in the wrapping paper then later with her gifts but she already loves our family tree, her tree, and her brother's tree.  I ultimately hope this year she has such a great experience that next year she will understand the concept more.  She is not ready for "Elf on the Shelf" but I FULLY intend on starting the tradition of reading "The Night Before Christmas" on Christmas Eve.  This is the time that the wonder is so new, I am soaking it in.

And then there is the coal in the stocking, wondering what life would be like with her big brother helping her open presents and insisting on helping Daddy detach her presents from their casings.  Maybe Lorelei would want to play with Trey's toys and he would argue with her and say that those toys are "his".  I would much rather have this bickering than the emptiness I feel every holiday season.

I am ever present with my daughter, but when I am closing down the house before bed, the last thing I see before I go upstairs to bed are the Christmas trees of our family and our children.  It's ever so easy to present for her, but as she sleeps peacefully, my heart and mind have time to process the day and wonder in the lad of what ifs or if only.  What if he would have lived?  Would be be a vegetable?  What if he was not sick?  If only he wasn't sick.  He would've been an AWESOME big brother as LL will be an awesome big brother.

So I guess, even though we have all fake trees this year, missing Trey will be the equivalent to the pines needles from a real tree after the season is over, they constantly remind you of the joy, but they can be so draining.  My reality this holiday season is a real tree, I can't fake this but I can sure enjoy Lorelei's joy and that I will!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I Mention Him

Not to make you uncomfortable,
He's my son, I should be able to talk about him.

Not to dwell,
He will forever be my son, part of my life, my heart.

Not to make you feel guilty,
He is a child just like your own, but he's in Heaven.

Not to bring you down,
It brings me joy to speak of him fondly.

Not to get attention,
He exists in my life just as your topics of conversation exists in yours.

Not to gain sympathy,
Believe you me, I wish I did not have to speak on him the past tense.

Not to bring you down,
My grief is lifelong, my healing is in the only life he has now, his mommy.

Not to rub it in your face,
I would never wish this on ANYONE!

Not to make it about me,
I am just another parent trying to speak of my kids the way you do yours.

Not to suck you into my world,
Your world is just as important to me.

Not to distract you,
I want to hear how your life is going, your happiness is relevant.

Not to take away from the conversation,
Yet life as well as death is a part of common conversation.

Not to make my life seem more important than yours,
I am my own person in my own journey and I share what is in my heart just as you do.

Not to remind you of your own grief,
We all walk our own paths and stumble as all humans do, we should pick each other up.

Not to garner your support,
Everyone gives whatever they can to enrich the lives of the ones they care for.

Not to remind you,
No one needs to be reminded of the loss of a child.

Not to haunt you,
It sucks, it truly does but not speaking of him haunts those who love him.



He is my son, I mention him, his life, his passing, and the times since then because I live every one of those moments in real time everyday.  He is a part of my being.  He is a part of my soul.  He has a place in my heart.  I carried him in my womb.  I watched him struggle.  I made the hardest decision a parent will EVER have to make...I let him go.  But understand, though I let him go physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, he will ALWAYS be with me!  I am thankful for it, it's all I have and at this point, it is all I need.  

Sunday, October 7, 2012

What to say...

  
This is a re-post from the journal I kept during the first year after losing Trey.  This is the affirmation that we need, this is what you should say.

TO ALL GRIEVING MOMMIES,
9/30/09
You are the strongest person you have ever met.

You have suffered EVERY parent's worst nightmare. You have lost the very thing you spent your love and your life trying to make. You watched a part of you perish. You watched the hopes and dreams that you had for your child vanish. You were robbed of the maternal rights that you earned when you conceived that baby. You were forced to let go of the very life that you cherished. Your baby lost a fight that they fought with every ounce that they had. Your child's room is empty and their photo albums are not nearly full. You are angry that your child suffered.Your arms are empty and your heart is broken. You have resentful answers to those who try to comfort you. You are angry with God, the world, people who don't deserve the happiness you wanted, the people who didn't want the happiness you wanted but got it anyway, fate, and fairness. You wonder when you will ever be happy again. You watch others experience happiness, and your new self is not 100% into it the way it used to be. You watch others who are pregnant or have children and your emotions and thoughts are ruthless. You lay awake at night or wake up frequently for no other reason than the torture of silence. You watch others not appreciating their children and you want to take those children into your arms. You remember how ever much time you spent with your kid and wish there were one more day, year, or lifetime.

You were left to wonder why. You wished it were you instead of your child. You analyze what you could have done differently. You torture yourself with blame. You are saddled with what you can't have. You struggle with your not-so-conventional role as a mother. You don't know what to do with yourself because however long you spent being a mommy in the physical world, the spiritual world has taken the reigns. You have resentful answers to those who try to comfort you. You are angry with God, the world, people who don't deserve the happiness you wanted, the people who didn't want the happiness you wanted but got it anyway, fate, and fairness. You wonder when you will ever be happy again. You watch others experience happiness, and your new self is not 100% into it the way it used to be. You watch others who are pregnant or have children and your emotions and thoughts are ruthless. You lay awake at night or wake up frequently for no other reason than the torture of silence. You watch others not appreciating their children and you want to take those children into your arms. you listen to people tell you how awful death is but you wonder if they have ever lost a child. You have wanted to hole yourself up, scream, cry, yell, be silent, throw things, squeeze things, hit things, lay on the floor, sleep, drink, be still, be active, stay busy, be lazy, talk, be alone, lock yourself in your child's room, hold their things, avoid their rooms and their stuff, create, destroy, run, stay still, escape, curse anyone and everything, eat, starve, fix, break, fall, rise up, be, brave, be weak, be strong, and submit. The lives of others move on and yours stands still. You repeat everything you say, feel and think and you forget what you've told, expressed, or thought, so you repeat yourself again. Every hour, day, date, month, and year have a meaning to you and suffer through those moments with pride, sorrow, or a little bit of both. Maybe some of those landmarks will fade, but then again maybe they won't, only time will tell. You are learning the ultimate lessons of mortality, recourse, and patience. Your attitude sucks and your normal self would be disappointed at your cynicism, bitterness, callousness, hopelessness, faithlessness, and bitterness. BUT YOU CAN'T HELP IT!!!

Your loved ones are suffering and you witness this alongside your own grief. There are people close to you who are inconsolable, and normally you would be able to hold them up. The tears you once cried for your loved ones are now cried with them. You are well aware of the disappointment and sorrow of those who are close to you. People look at you and speak with you with a hint of pity. You mortify people who are not made privy with the news. The tears of your loved ones level you, although you are comforted that they share and don't hold in. You have trouble going into social situations that are unfamiliar since your child's angel date. You put on a smile, yet cry inside, so that others will not shower you with pity. You wonder what people are thinking and how they are feeling. You want people to talk about your child one minute and shut up about them the next. Though your friends and family hold close, you feel alone. You get to watch the faces and tears of loved ones and want to take it all away even you if you don't have the energy, space, or time. You walk through life fearing the attention but yearning for the recognition. Your friends and family know that nothing they say of do will take this away, but they try anyway, maybe they try to hard or not enough. But at least you know they try. You wish with all your might that you knew what to tell them to do and how to tell them to act but you have no idea what to ask for. All you want is your child back, and no mortal can do that.

YET...

You are still standing. After all you have been through you still exhale, put one foot in front of the other, and attempt each moment, hour, day, week, month, year, and lifetime. Your strength inspires others to take a better stock in their lives and appreciate their blessings. You fight your child's battles well after death by being an advocate, educator, and example. Your loved ones draw from your strength and grow as people. You weather the lows and the highs of your grief, and reach out to others in the process. You are the pride of your risen angel. You strive to live a better life that your child will be proud of. You light your candles in remembrance and brag about your offspring. You wear trinkets of their life, talk about your child, and promote their lives. You help others through their grief and share their journeys. You embrace your fellow mommy mourners and hold them up in their times of sorrow. You listen better, learn more, grow higher, do more, love more, forgive more, and live more. You survive each day no matter what it takes because you have no choice. The need to reach the children you have loved that are in heaven takes a back seat to the life you want to live to get to them in heaven. You celebrate your child's special day with tears, laughter, and memories. You want to put your chin up and wear your strife as a red badge of courage. Life goes on and you walk the beautiful wildflower field of grotesque weeds to get through it. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Leaf


During the happiness of Spring a leaf emerges.
The sounds of the birds coax its little life to blossom.
It continues to bloom as the verve of the season buzzes around,
A leaf peeks further out to catch a glimpse.
The warming of the air draws its veins towards the sun.
It drinks in the liveliness that lands on its skin.
In the glow of Spring a leaf expands and settles with ease.
It sways with the breeze and dances in the rain.
The moisture invigorates it and gives it rest during dryness.
It thrives as a playground to the inhabitants of its home.
It observes as the bustling around it prepares.
It never knows where life is leading, or does it?
A leaf turns itself into the cool kisses of the wind.
The wind kisses it back bringing in the change ahead.
The night's settling chill draws the leaf in.
The relief of day begins begins to provide smaller comfort.
Day by day a leaf retreats further into the night.
A leaf depends less on the day to warm its shiver.
Retreated as far as it can go,
A leaf begins to create its own warmth.
It blushes in the sunlight and hides from the moon's deceiving light.
A leaf's blush becomes as rash with time.
The color warms a leaf more than the sun ever could.
A leaf begins to feel power in its hue and shines brighter than ever.
A leaf watched his brethren emit in the same way.
Their colors speak to each other and sing the sounds of Autumn.
Slowly the singing dies down, as does the scampering of life
Nature is beginning its rest, withdrawing its warming life.
The retreat spawns the gradual fervor silence.
A leaf's family leisurely succumbs to the lull.
The once bright accolades fade with the gaining gale.
While beholding such grand evolution,
A leaf fails to recognize its own advance.
The complexion that once inspired a leaf has drained it.
As it gazed upon the beauty of change around it,
A leaf has surrendered itself to its purpose.
Its blaze has begun to seethe through.
The bluster cause a leaf to withdraw from the sunlight more.
Its edges begin to curl in, wary of the fading comfort.
Bitterly, a leaf tries to assuage through its vibrance.
This last stand leaves it faded and listless.
A leaf welcomes the release that the breeze has to offer.
It chooses the whim, the euphoria,
The life that is being carried away on the breath of Fall.
The disengage leaves it soaring,
Beneath the beacon of light that has been its friend.
A leaf hang glides to the morphing tempo.
Whispering, swaying, drifting towards its rest.
Once snuggled against the kissing blades of grass,
It once again basks in the stagnant sun.
Seeking withering support, it rests without hindrance.
The excitement of its decent has left it tranquil.
At peace with its journey, a leaf concedes.
In the fading warming light of the season
A leaf accepts its fate and basks in the final rays.
Oblivious to the gusts of change around it
A leaf withers, and settles into the earth
With the help of an innocent step or lawn mower.
The pieces of the leaf settle in
To the last that warmth the icy ground has to offer.
Hibernation warms a leaf as it resurfaces with the warming of Spring.
Yet a leaf does not evolve whole,
Does not present itself as it was.
A leaf thrives through the life of the coming season.
It fuels the vibrance of the revolution.
The radiance it once showed
Flows through the veins of a new bud,
A new leaf,
A new life,

- To my son Trey, your will forever evolve with the cycle of our lives

What not to say...

I am re-posting this from my journal of the first year after losing Trey for the benefit of CAPTURE YOUR GRIEF 2012.   This post was published by churches trying to understand grief and by publications hoping to reach out to those who have never lost a child.




TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
5/19/09
I am a grieving mother to an angel baby. It has not been long since my
> loss and the wound is still fresh. I am not sure what I need right now and
> what I want cannot be in my arms safe and healthy. I don't know what to tell
> you that I need because I do not know. My hopes and dreams for this baby are
> shattered as is my heart. The sorrow I feel permeates EVERY aspect of my
> life and cell in my body. I have an amazing husband who was not allowed to
> be the father to my son as he expected to. I have a beautiful house with a
> nursery that is not in use. I have a wonderful career that I had to leave
> only to lose my son. I have the best family and friends ever who have to
> watch me suffer and suffer with us. I can't escape it, block it out, or make
> it go away. Sometimes I want to talk about it and sometimes I don't. Just
> know when I do communicate about the situation and the pain, my words do not
> even scratch the surface or the misery I am dealing with. When I do I need a
> good listener. One who ask questions about how I feel and what I am thinking
> so that I can further delve into my misery therefore healing a little more.
> I don't need someone to give me advise based on their experience unless it
> is similar to mine or I ask for it. Sometimes I need to talk about something
> else as to keep my mind off of this sorrow and have a new focus. I need to
> be active but want to do nothing. I need to have hope and faith but I want
> to crawl in a hole. I need to keep my chin up but I want to feel all of
> this. My emotions and thoughts are on a constant roller coaster and there is
> no exit. I can't see past the present and don't feel or know that
> everything is going to be made right. I am living moment to moment hoping
> for peace. I know you are hurting with me and for me so sometimes its hard
> to socialize. Everyday is a struggle to get through and every night is
> filled with fear of trying to get through tomorrow. Every morning is filled
> with anxiety about making it through the day. I have a hole that nothing
> will ever fill. Although the words are meant to comfort, not much can be
> said to me that makes me feel better. I have a crass answer in my heart
> every time a comforting phrase is said. "This is God's plan" is met with "I
> hate God's plan right now". "God didn't do this to you?" is said in the same
> breath and dis met by "Well which one is it? God's plan or something he
> didn't do". "He is in a better place" is met with "He should be here with
> me". "He is no longer sick" is met with "He shouldn't have been sick in the
> first place". "God will give you more children" is met with "I don't know
> that and I wanted THIS baby". "It was for the best" is met with "Who's
> best?". I would never say those things to people but they are in my heart. I
> don't mean to sound ungrateful for those people who try to support and
> comfort me, I can only be honest about what I am feeling. My brain agrees with and understands all of their sentiments, but my heart does not. I know these
> feelings and thoughts will not last forever, but they are with me now and I
> hate it. I am not usually this way. I don't want people to be distant but I
> do not want the spotlight either. I just want to get through this in one
> piece and with peace in my heart. Thank you to everyone for their love and
> support. I would not make it through this without it.
> > Sincerely,
> > Sharon

Monday, October 1, 2012

Capture Your Grief Project

http://carlymarieprojectheal.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/CaptureYourGrief.jpg




Day 1: The sunrise, not of the event, but of Trey's first birthday.
Day 2: Me before our loss
Day 3: After our loss
Day 4: Most treasured possession 
Day 5: A Memorial
Day 6: What not to say...


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Moving On

It seems that lately I have become increasingly aware of certain "friends" that seem to be bothered by the mention of my son's name or a story about him, like he's dead, so get over it already!  There are others who have never heard Trey's heroic story and it thrills me to share his short life and his legacy with them.  I also enjoy seeing the comfortability with which they listen to the story of our journey, seeing that this proud Mama does no mind talking about the hero that is her son.

Why is it after a baby dies that some people seem to think we should move on like it was any other death.  I have said before, well someone else told me, but I have shared that the death of a child is the death of the future, everything that could have been.  Deaths of older relatives are the deaths of the past, the times we had with them and the things we shared.  How can I look fondly on the memories I never got to have with my own child the way I did with my Mucca (Grandma) when they never existed?  All I have is the 13 days I watched him suffer, the 13 days I could be at his side, the 13 days we held on to hope, the only 13 days he ever lived.

Think of how much pain one experiences in life, or in life thus far for that matter.  Imagine that crammed into 13 days, the intensity alone would paralyze us now imagine that pain in the four pound body of an extremely sick preemie.  We all think that the pain we feel at any given moment is the worst and I'll admit the pain has gotten easier, well, maybe not entirely easier but most definitely changed, especially with the birth of our daughter.

As with the pain he felt in life and the pain we felt for him in those trying days, that is the only thing I have to look forward to in his life, recalling all of those "wonderful" memories, the times we had, the things we shared.  Time stands still in that respect and the pain eventually settles like oil in vinegar in my heart and soul only to be stirred up with remembering and not given the opportunity to celebrate the future.

That being said, how does one expect me to "move on" or "get over it already" when the pain doesn't move forward, his life does not move forward, there is nothing to look forward to in this lifetime in regards to him, the pain is all we have left of him, the love flows abundant, but that brings happiness and fuels the pride I feel talking about Trey.  On the same token, but the flip side, the pain has to be pushed away sometimes so that one can function in other areas of life like work, parenthood, marriage, etc.  The pain reminds me of the absence of his future.

I have also said that other parents get to talk about their children all of the time, why shouldn't I?  I know it makes certain people uncomfortable but it escapes most that I feel VERY uncomfortable being pregnant twice and only having one here.  The fact that I talk about him with such pride should comfort people, they don't have to offer a shoulder, feel sorry for me, cry with me, hear me out until they make their escape to the bathroom.

He IS my child, in Heaven or not.  He will ALWAYS be my child in Heaven and on Earth.  I will not leave him out, I will not exclude him.  And for the people who have a problem with me including him, take a walk in my shoes and "move on".

The Grass


There are times when anyone who mourns gets "in it", as described in a movie, I can't quite remember which, being " in it" refers to being in the state of being in an intense state of thought, reflection, introspection, and/or contemplation over one or more subject matters.  Usually these "in it" moments are matters of the heart and require such time.

When I get "in it", especially when it's warm, I like to sit or lie in the thick grass in my yard.  I love the feeling, both physical and spiritual.  As I lie in the grass, the living blades prickle, tickle, cool, and caress my skin, they remind me of life when I am sunken in grief.  Out in the grass on the dewy lawn, I breathe fresh air and gaze at the stars, the very stars that the angels sit on to watch us and bring us comfort.

I lie on the grass to breathe deep and find peace.  There IS peace in life if we wait and look for it.  Feeling the grass under me reminds me that life goes on no matter which state it is in, be it in the physical world or in the spiritual world.  Though Trey's life on this earth was short, the life energy he could have had lives on through those of us who love him, he changes us and makes us live better.  Eventually life cycles around again through the harsher times just like the seasons but it is continuously moving.

Winter is the hardest time for me to sink myself into the thick, calming blades of grass, the weather is so cold, chilling me the was sorrow often does.  But I hope to still visit my place of peace, wrap myself in love and a good blanket and know that better times are ahead, life keeps on moving, each experience - it may seems like the end - brings us new life and new purpose.

It's amazing how the little things in life, like lying in the grass like we did when we were kids, can renew our spirit, feel the love, live the peace and keep on moving with the circle of life.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sober

We all deal with death different ways, hell, we all deal with life different ways, yet some prefer to deal with life's dealings without sobriety.

I am a lover of the spirits and on a sober night I had the time to think clearly, to reflect, to really feel what my life is like now and what it was back then until now.

We all choose our insobriety with life, be it anger, alcohol, drugs, spending, denial, promiscuity, avoiding, self depreciating, sleeping around, whatever. And for the moment(s), these things soothe us.  They soften the reality of what has broken us, what consumes us.  Most of us want to escape these vices yet when faced with our own feelings, we lean on the things that comfort us for the moment, yet moments turn into years and before we know it we are nose deep in our undoings.

When I think on all the vices previously mentioned I am ashamed.  Most of them I am not a victim to, yet the ones I have succumbed too stare me in the face daily.

Now I am sure that we can all look up the definition of sobriety and dependency, but definitions don't encapsulate the lives of those effected.

No one can identify with those who are addicted, dependent, or held hostage by the trials of life unless they have held those unfortunate circumstances. The same is true for those who deal with the loss of a child, the only sobriety we have is waking up each day and putting one foot in front of the other until we try to fall asleep at night.

So which should we choose, something that numbs a pain that invades EVERY cell of our lives or the solidarity and the actuality that induces the most gut wrenching realizations and emotions of life?  Who wouldn't choose the former?  The pain of of living the painful life that has been dealt to you or anesthetizing it to soothe our existence, that is quite the choice.

The easiest choice is to numb the pain, yet where is the healing?  The hardest choice is to remain sober in ANY capacity but where is the relief?  We ALL want to live life with sorrows numbed yet we all know in our hearts that the only way to get through life we need to be lucid: mind, body, and spirit.

So where do we draw the line?  Do we live every moment of the hurt, the torment, the gut wrenching existence that is the loss of a child?  We know that our journey is lifelong, only ending when we leave this Earth the way our child(ren) did.  Or do we "get by" clinging to whatever can make us take the next step forward without feeling the mud beneath our feet?

It is a delicate balance to say the least.  Take grief out of the equation and our vices still have a place to reside, be it due to stress, anger, depression, gluttony, sloth, or mere boredom.  Many folks break sobriety in ANY sense as an expression of what others demonstrate as putting their feet up and relaxing.   When it goes beyond that and your proverbial self is no longer putting it's feet up, but instead, struggles not to drag it's feet, then the self is left numb, therein lies the problem.

When we get cavities filled, we get mildly sedated to ease the pain for the procedure, yet we don't continue to be mildly sedated after the fact, we get through a period of soreness and move on.  For more severe ailments, sometimes doctors will induce a coma through heavy medications in order for the body to be able to heal and rest.  Yet once things have stabilized and the body is more apt to tolerate further treatment, the heavy sedation is slowly weaned.   In both scenarios, "sobriety" is BRIEFLY interrupted, not carried on for the long term.

Where is this rambling going?  Not quite sure, but revelations have been made, connections realized, guilt assuaged, truths unearthed, and life remastered.

As with everything else, moderation is the key.  Too much "sobriety" in any capacity including denial and worse, the out-of-sight-out-of-mind mentality, will ultimately lead to one not taking care of themselves and their healing.  Pushing forward in full force without stopping to consider our grief is not healing, we need to do things that relax our senses and give us peace.  On the flip side, the dependence of ANY vice will only numb what needs to be healed and leave us less healthy and more delusional than when we started.  We NEED sobriety, it is only when sober that our thoughts are clear and we can, with firm stance, look into our hearts, heads, and our futures.

Both extremes mask true grief.   Both extremes are harmful to our mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, and psychological health.   Both extremes are worse than grief itself.

Grief is not a cruel master, grief only becomes your master when you let it.  

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pictures of You


Since I began this journey of child loss grief, I have painfully heard of too many parents and friends who have lost children of all ages.  My first encounter was soon after losing Trey, my Room Mom my first year teaching opened up to me about her stillborn child.  When I returned to work, I found several teachers that had miscarried.  Two years ago, I had a Student Teacher who had lost her first child to stillbirth.  Last year, a teacher started at our school who had recently lost her con to Cancer, he was 10 years old.  This year, the Special Education teacher in my classroom shared with me that she had lost a child at 22 weeks though he lived for a few days.  Recently, a new friend lost her second child to stillbirth only to endure a miscarriage just last week.

Each of these stories, and many more that I have heard throughout the year, have broken my heart, especially as they keep coming.  With each sorrowful story, I feel such compassion for these women, yet admittedly, I feel less alone in my grief.  Then again, I would rather feel alone in my grief than to hear painful stories of others who walk this journey with me.

As always, music is great therapy for me.  This morning I heard "Pictures of You" by The Cure which tells the story of someone who has lost someone dear to him and is mourning the loss.  I am certain it pertains to the loss of a partner, but I got to thinking of the many parallels exhibited in the song to the journey too many of us push through daily.  Some us never got to see pictures.  Some of us store the pictures away, too grief stricken to look at them.  Parents like me display them with pride and find comfort in them  Yet ALL of hold pictures in our minds of the way it SHOULD be, the way our kids SHOULD have lived and grown up.  All we have now are pictures, if any at all.

"Pictures of You" by The Cure

I've been looking so long at these pictures of you  
That I almost believe that they're real  
I've been living so long with my pictures of you  
That I almost believe that the pictures are all I can feel
 
Remembering you standing quiet in the rain  

As I ran to your heart to be near  
And we kissed as the sky fell in, holding you close  
How I always held close in your fear
 
Remembering you running soft through the night  

You were bigger, brighter and whiter than snow  
Screamed at the make believe, screamed at the sky  
And you finally found all your courage to let it all go
 
Remembering you fallen into my arms  

Crying for the death of your heart  
You were stone white, so delicate lost in the cold  
You were always so lost in the dark
 
Remembering you, how you used to be  

Slow drowned you were angels, so much more than everything  
Hold for the last time then slip away quietly  
Open my eyes but I never see anything
 
If only I'd thought of the right words 

I could have held on to your heart  
If only I'd thought of the right words  
I wouldn't be breaking apart all my pictures of you
 
Looking so long at these pictures of you  

And never hold on to your heart 
Looking so long for the words to be true 
And always just breaking apart, my pictures of you
 
There was nothing in the world that I ever wanted more  

Than to feel you deep in my heart  
There was nothing in the world that I ever wanted more  
Than to never feel the breaking apart, my pictures of you