Sunday, March 31, 2013

Overcoming

One of my former student's mom is a writer and created a blog featuring stories of women who have overcome challenges in life.  She interviewed me about out journey through grief and created a two part blog post about our story.  Please read the first part of our journey, follow her blog, and share your story with her so she can share with other women.

http://www.melonybrown.com/2013/03/overcoming-tragedy-part-1/

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Why do I cry

...when I didn't truly bond with him in this life?

...when he was only here 13 days?

...when we were careful about our visits because they had to stabilize him after we left?

...when I don't the cast memories most parents have?

...when my hope for his survival out weighed everything a mother should be doing with a newborn?

...when he never drank the breast milk I pumped for him?

...when I couldn't bear to be there when he died?

...when I didn't realize that the baby I was physically connected to was in trouble?

...when I was in denial that he was not going to make it?

...when I created Angel Steps to support families like ours?

...when parents make a connection with the things that I write?

...when I perform service projects in his honor?

...when he is with me always?

...when he has touched to many in his short life?

...when his legacy is carried out by me?

...when I know that God saved him the sickness of this Earth?

...when I know he is my personal Angel for life?

...when I feel such pride as a Mommy for my first born?

...when I feel the love that everyone has for "Our Boy"?

...when I know he is taking all Angel Babies when they go to Heaven?

...when mt favorite picture of him with his eyes open makes me smile?

...when Lorelei points to his picture and says "baaaaaaaby"?

...when loved ones join in the conversation when I speak of him?

...when I was lucky enough to get pregnant with him when so many struggle to become parents?

...when I can picture him with my Mucca and all of the other loves ones I miss in Heaven?

...when I know that he hears me when I talk to him?

...when I know that he is proud that I am his Mommy?

...when he was given the choice of which soul to send down to us to be his sibling?

...when I look at Lorelei and see all of  the smiles I missed with Trey?


I cry because of the pride I feel for my son, Trey.  

Saturday, March 23, 2013

missing

I was awoken this morning, Trey's 4th Birthday, by an alert on my phone.  The sound of the thunder and rain had me believing that I would be looking at some sort of weather warning.  As it turns out, it was an Amber Alert, meaning a child is missing.

I tried to go back to sleep but the significance of the day ping ponged through my mind.  It seems like 4 years ago all of these memories were a blur.  When these special anniversaries come around there is a constant movie, a play by play of sorts, that provides the soundtrack to these days.

I found it ironic that, on a day that I am missing my child the most, I am awake because of an alert about a missing child.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Drip...drip

John and I still bathe with our daughter, John usually has her in the shower and I in the bath.  The past two days she has had a fever so I had to stay home with her today, my husband can't pick her up due to spinal surgery almost a month ago.

We have lived in our home for 4 1/2 years and I know the ins and outs of our home so it surprised when the cold drip that comes from the nozzles of the shower affected me.  Per usual, I was singing along with the IPod hoping my daughter would inherit the same love on music my DNA possesses and watching her play with warmth in my heart.  In these days of dread, both of Trey's Birthday and Angel Day, the littlest things bring me down but watching my daughter happy kills all sadness.  A midst the joy of the healing time together with my daughter, that's when I felt it...

a cold drip...

drip

drip...

On and on they continued as they always have but I always moved out of their way favoring a much more warm environment.  This time, it seemed, I was paralyzed by the chill each droplet brought me, I couldn't move and I found myself struggling to keep up with the melody on the IPod.  Much more, I could not keep my thoughts afloat.  With each chilling touch, I was reminded of the ice in the middle of the cold comfort in my life.  Especially at this time when the littlest thing sets me in a tail spin of thought and introspect this cold irony chilled any bit of strength that I hold onto when special dates come around.

At some point I just let them fall on me, at first wincing at their icy sting then comforted by the reality of its' presence.

I began to think that the environment I found myself in was 95% warmth and purity.  Only 5% stole away from that, made me think, caused me to feel in such a way.  Isn't that life?  Most of our lives fill us, whether we know it or not, with love and purpose.  The things that truly plague us amount to very little if we truly value and focus on those entities that fill us with love an hope.  I find myself sunk in all that life has dealt me, not steering myself to the love all around me.  Yes, I love my son and that will never change.  I also love my family, friends, home, career, health, causes, spirit, voice, personality, and so many other things that I include that my mind is kicking itself not able to relay.

This revelation does not, AT ALL, reflect on the love I have for my son yet it proves that love does indeed carry on.  When we found out that we were pregnant with Trey a new love grew from the love already in our loves.  That love still lives amongst every other element of love we have gathered and held dear since our birth.

The cold still stings and ironically radiates.  Yet out of the cold drips of life, the warmth of love carries me forward.  In this instance, I did not let the cold drips steel me away from the time that I spent in the midst of love.  It is a reminder but it is not my total temperature.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Time

12 days from now is Trey's 4th Birthday, 13 days after that is his Angel Day.

25 days seems like a long time compared to the short time we had with our son.  It seems like a lifetime to me, a time I wish would pass quickly and peacefully.  Usually the time passes much easier than this and I often expect for each year to get better.  This has been a shitty year for me to say the least.  The hammer has dropped at work, Lorelei is a savant in the terrible 2's (which is not a problem for me but it tries my husband's patience so), the 13's are flowing steady, and my husband had spinal surgery that left him recovering with no way to help out around the house.  I think this year would have been the easier year I pictured if not for all of these things.

I feel trapped.  Trapped in a career that I got three degrees towards and my credibility does not matter anymore which emasculates me.  Trapped in the grief that hugs me during this time of the year.  Trapped in the position of caring for my recovering husband and active daughter.  Trapped in a life I have no control over.

I always say that time is a cruel master if you let it be.  I don't want to be held hostage by time but there are some things that we have to weather through, be it any hardship in life.  When we come out on the other side we feel accomplished and proud.  My favorite singer, Alanis Morissette said it best, "The only way out is through, the faster we're in the better.  The only way out is through ultimately.

The journey is the hardest part but we learn so much about life and ourselves while waling our path.  I know that my slump will produce a strong outcome but right now it just sucks.  I am trying to see the sunshine beyond the storm.  It is the only choice I have, the only choice I have always had.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Words

"Actions speak louder than words."

We have all heard it before and usually post it in our brains.  But when the situation arises, we hold up on our high horse with the statement.

I myself have very much had my fill of words simply being air in the midst of robust actions.  Sometimes people don't know what they are saying and that's forgivable, they mean no harm.  But, there is that adage that says:


"People won't remember what you did. People won't remember what you said. But people will always remember the way you made them feel."


And then there is that saying (which I can't find on the internet despite seeing the saying today) about nt taking things that people say personally because it reflects their reality.

And then their are "The Four Agreements"

1. Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

Yet here we are being human and beating ourselves up by the judgement of others.  I am TOTALLY guilty of this organic original sin.

But words sting most of us so much.  I guess our care in such matters results from our pride in ourselves.  Secretly we know our self worth but when someone questions it with words or actions.  The most confident of humans would crumble because they care so much about their efforts.  Some will do ANYTHING to please the masses.  Still others will buck the system to uphold the individuality that makes them who they are.  The second option is the one I live by.  I am not a sheep, I would rather be a shepherd in my own right, not dictated by anyone.  This subjects me to such vulnerability which leads to the very words that threaten my psyche.  
So to that end I maintain my m.o.  I will keep being the sensitive, organic, original human being that I was created to be.  I hope to make "words" mean what they mean unless they connect with my natural self.
These are just words, but like most words, if they turn into actions they aren't words anymore.    

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Four

I have always been a numbers person.  Some time ago I wrote a post about the number connections surrounding our journey.  Before we lost Trey, my favorite number was five, although I always eat candies in 2's.  The volume of ANY electrical device HAS to be a multiple of 5.  Tips at restaurants are given based on multiples of 5.  I have always wanted three children, a family of five.  At the time of my pregnancy, we had 4 animal children and were expecting or human child, 5 kids in all.

The warmth and connection of the number 5 lasted my entire life until we lost our first born.  4 was the number that took it's place.  And, just like the number 5, I found every connection to our tragedy using the number 4.  I really still wanted to have faith in the number 5 but it would be years before I would even consider it.

Two weeks from today will be Trey's 4th Birthday and when asked if we would have any other children every cell of my being wanted to wait until after his 4th birthday.  This year has been TERRIBLE for me on so many levels.  When schools started Lorelei was 13 months old (1+3=4).  This is my 13th year of teaching and not to mention it is now 2013.  4 is symbolic on SO many levels to me but it's time to return to my happy number, 5.  Four will always comfort me, but 5 is my life number.

If we are successful, I will still have my 3 children even though one is in Heaven.  Volumes will still be set in multiples of 5 and tips will be determined in multiples of 5.  In my soul, I believe there will be some resolution to my purpose as an Angel Mommy when I have a third child.  The happy times of the number 5 and my comfort with it will once again comfort me, this time for life.  I have not been entirely comfortable with my hiatus from the number 5 so it makes me excited to get back to comfort number.

Until then, I will continue to trust the numbers that come into or connect with my life.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Tiny Heart to Mend

I am still friends with many of my high school friends, some more intense than others.  When Trey passed, so many people I knew from high school on Facebook reached out to me, including those friends who I had lost contact with.  It was such a bittersweet blessing that brought so many people so close together.

Two of the friends I reconnected with fell in love and married.  They had a daughter who had a rare condition that caused one half of her body to grow faster than the other which I am sure has had it's challenges.  Those challenges led them to not want to pursue the option of having other children.  So imagine our surprise when she told us she was pregnant at Lorelei's Baptism.  Four months later they are at our home  for my husband's birthday party and when asked how the pregnancy was going they reluctantly revealed that there were issues with the baby's heart.  I felt positive in my heart in the face of their doubt.  I just knew that since we had been through the worst a parent could imagine that no one close to us would experience the same trauma.

Two months later their son was born and spent some time in the NICU.  Through the next 11 months I have worried about the numerous times that he has gone back to the local children's hospital and rejoiced at the news that he was going back home.  

I knew that recently he was back in the hospital but I assumed it was due to similar issues so I awaited news of his return home.  Upon checking their status last night my heart broke.  Their little boy is facing such big challenges right now, a life threatening surgery or waiting things out until he passes away.  The status I read was either he had a surgery performed that could put him into liver failure (his liver is already compromised) or "Our other option at this time is to keep him comfortable until he outgrows his current fixes and eventually passes".   

I panicked not knowing what it meant and immediately contacted my friends.  They confirmed my worst fears, either the surgery works or there is nothing that the doctors could do for him and he would pass.  My heart dropped and the worries began.  

I remember well the nightmare we went through not knowing what the future would bring.  Their little boy has fought hard with them are his side for 11 months with us all thinking that because he was surviving that he would thrive.  I wanted to spill my guts to them saying that I knew what they were going to but I knew that was not the right thing to do.  I could never understand their struggle for more than a year since they found out he had a heart condition.  They had been back and forth to the doctors and the hospital, I am sure they all knew each other by name and each other's lives.  At one point it gave me peace that the same staff was taking care of him all along but it made me sad that they had such an intimate relationship with the staff in their son's care.

Through all of this they have put on a brave face and I have subscribed to it because his condition has been managed.  Now, under the weight of this dire news, I feel the weight of their entire journey and it kills me.  Our nightmare was only two weeks long, theirs has been an up and downhill journey or hopes and worries.  We all have delighted in the pictures they share and have hoped along with them.  Their courage has given us all reason to hope.  I have admired their strength all along although I know they don't always feel strong or brave.

So here I am trying to sort out my feelings on the whole subject.  They are very dear to me, we had many good times in high school and the bonds of friendship that formed long ago stayed solid through the distance that years created.  The love and friendship never died.  Had we not been brought back together I would feel the same way, heart broken for their struggle, hoping for a positive outcome.  

I am trying to separate my own nightmare from theirs even though it feels like I am reliving everything.  Upon thinking of visiting them and meeting David I am terrified, which makes me feel like a horrible friend to them when they need those who love them around them the most.  I don't think I would have a positive contribution to their plight although I want to.  I fear that entering into that environment again would set me off and my feelings would overshoot my efforts.  Maybe I would surprise myself but then again I know myself too well, I know I would fall apart.

I don't feel comfortable staying on the the other end other internet or the phone when I really want to be with them physically and emotionally the way they need me to be.  When it comes to friends and family, NICUs and children's hospitals are my cryptonite.  I can talk a good talk but showing up is still hard for me.  Maybe that is a part of my journey through grief.  I hope to soon be passed this barrier but I am being patient with myself and gentle with myself.

In the mean time, I will try to redirect my worry to positive thoughts and prayers towards my friends' son hoping he slays the Goliath that lies ahead.  I just looked at his pictures just now and his color looks good.  I am going to hold on to that thought, that hope, that love, that journey, that resolution.  

I seek prayers for my friends, their son, and their loved ones in the rocky journey that they have ahead.  My hope lies in the possibility that he will beat the odds and wow us all.  He has already wowed us and inspired us thus far, why stop now sweet boy!