Thursday, December 31, 2009

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Best Christmas Present Ever!

Wow--I wanted to blog about this because I have been waiting so long for this to happen. And when it would, I wanted it written down. Unfortunately, like most dreams, I don't have much to write about because I don't remember much of it....except what was most important.
Chase came to me last night. I remember having the dream and then waking up right afterwards and thinking what had just happened. I had such an incredibly warm feeling about the dream and knew it was Chase. I had dreamt about him before, but only his casket or his corpse---nothing that gave me warmth and happiness. But last night, I saw him. Like I said, I don't remember much about the dream but I remember holding him above my head looking up at him and he was just smiling away. His smile was so intriging to me in the dream, I don't know why. How sweet it was, though. I know there was more to the dream because when I woke up afterwards, I remember thinking about it and that it finally came. But then I went back to sleep and didn't think about it again until this morning when I was at the coffee shop with Karly.
We saw a baby come in and I told Karly that the baby was probably Chase's age--which was confirmed after I asked the dad. The baby was born just a couple weeks after Chase actually. So we talked about the baby and Karly asked me if that mom loved that baby as much as she should. Interesting question from a 7-year-old I thought. I asked her why and she said because the baby was crying in the car seat and the mom didn't take him out. I told her I thought the mom looked like a very good mom and sometimes babies cry but that is part of teaching them about patience--even when they are little babies. I laughed and told her that I don't think Chase would have cried very much because while I would have been too busy to pick him up for a moment, either she or Emma would have stepped in and picked him up until I could tend to his needs. I smiled at that thought but Karly cried. I held her hand and she told me how bad she wanted 2 things, well 3 things, she said. "I want to be able to fly (1), and (2) Chase to come back alive and (3), if Chase can't come back alive, I want another baby.
Ditto. All of that. Ditto for me, too, Karly Jo.
Thank you for the visit, sweet boy. You snuck in on me because I thought it would be a long time before I would see you. I love you so much, baby boy. I love you so so much.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Struggle, Part II of ???

I can't believe Christmas is over. Well, the holiday is not over for us, but I just can't believe that this is the end of December. The year seemed to fly which is so weird because so often I don't know if I can make it through the day, or the minute or the second. The pain I felt going to bed on Christmas eve and then on Christmas morning was excruciating. As I lay in bed that night trying to fall asleep, I missed our baby boy so much. I had that dull ache, a nauseating feeling, deep in the pit of my stomach that was emotional and physical all at once. Just sick that he is not here with us. At eight months old, and with 3 older siblings, he would have so much fun watching and learning what to do on this special holiday. We would have had so much fun watching and learning what he could do. I cried myself to sleep eventually that night and woke up in a hurry as the other three yelled at us from their rooms. I rushed around to get the final preparations complete and then watched as they tore open gifts, handed out gifts and played with their new toys. Then I sat down by Chase's tree and read the kids' letters to him, read Karly's present she made for him and just cried. I was so confused. I looked at the three kids and Patric and thought about how happy I was to have them and be a part of their lives and how much joy they give me every day. But then I looked down in my lap at his pictures and could not stop crying because our little boy was not here and he really should be. Of course, it was that "inside", quiet-as-you-can-cry, but the tears were unstoppable. Karly gave me a hug and a smile and I smiled back at her and loved her right back. And I wiped my tears and put on my happy face, but kept crying on the inside.

I was told our first Christmas without him would be the hardest. But I had no idea. I did not expect the huge wave that would hit me. And I didn't allow myself to think that Patric would be having an equally painful time, in his own way, and not the same as mine. The question I don't have the answer to is where do you meet when you no longer grieve in the same way as your spouse, but you are both still in so much pain? After finally realizing this, I don't know how to fix it. How do I comfort him on his journey when I am on the same journey but in a different vehicle? I can't quite reach him the same way as when we were both riding side by side and he can no longer do the same for me, either. I know we are there for each other, but our needs are different now. I don't know how to solve this one, but I think that understanding that this is happening is a start. I can't explain this very well, but I'm just trying to say that I love my husband more than anything. And I know that he is going through the worst tragedy that anyone ever has to go through. There are times that I may be able to comfort him and there are times that I may not know what to do. The compounding factor of this is that I, too, am going through the exact same worst tragedy ever, but dealing/thinking/hurting differently because I am me and he is him. I am so sorry, Patric, for being so caught up in my sorrow and guilt and sadness, that I have somehow looked past yours. I should be the rock for you that you are for me. You know me, and you love me for who I am and I am the luckiest girl in the world for that. Just know that you mean the world to me and I am trying. Trying to cope, trying to live, trying to love all my kids with all my heart the best that I know how. And, with every breath, I love you.

***


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Tradition

I'm not the best at traditions with our family. Not like I remember growing up when we did the same thing every year for the holidays. I guess you could look at it that I'm keeping every year new and exciting. Nah, I'm just slack at keeping up with traditions. We don't go around looking at lights every year. This year we didn't attend any of the town's annual Christmas events. There are very specific reasons for not attending some of them and the others, I guess it wasn't important enough to me this year or we would have participated. That and things are different. Holiday spirit is so extremely difficult when you are missing someone...and missing a part of you.
One thing I guess we always DO do is cut out cookies and decorate them. I can be proud of doing that every year that the kids can remember so far. As I was getting ready tonight to do this, I remembered very vividly doing this last year. I felt sooo old because I was hugely pregnant. And tired. My feet ached by the time we were through. Cleaning up was a bear. But Chase was there. I know he was part of that. As I got things ready tonight and the kids were so excited to start, I couldn't help but get sad. Listening to them, and all their commotion, I missed Chase so badly. He should have been in the middle of this mess, sitting in his high chair, eating cookie dough for the first time.
But the kids did a great job and had a lot of fun doing it. It's fun to watch them work on each individual masterpiece and put their flare into it. I am so lucky to have them. I can't believe how lucky I am. They are awesome. Here are a couple pictures....I got to decorate a few, even, in between making more frosting, coloring it and making sure the mess didn't get too out of control. Again, I'm exhausted. But in a very different way. Wishing things were different.


Wishing you all sweet dreams and many Christmas blessings,

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Defying the odds

All my life the phrase "defying the odds" meant that you strived for something that not many people were able to achieve or that no one expected you to do/obtain/achieve the things you did. Statistics. It's about those who did and those who didn't and the likelihood of what would or wouldn't happen. To defy the odds was an honor, or a blessing, and was to be regarded as such.
I don't feel the same way anymore. I feel like we defied the odds when we lost Chase. That wasn't what was supposed to happen. So now I am scared. I don't want to mess with any statistics anymore. Because being 1 in 100 is not amazing. It is scary. It might be a blessing, but it could also be tragic. This borders paranoia, which is no way anyone wants to live their life. Some would call it fear. Some might call it caution. Some might just say it's speaking from experience. For me, it definitely makes me think about everything I do, every decision I make. Who it will affect and how it will affect them/us? I feel mortal, indeed. I feel that what happens happens and it's how we deal with it that makes us who we are. And no, I don't want to sit around and worry about the statistics, because I can't change them or put them to my advantage all the time. So I will make my decisions and deal with whatever happens. Whatever it may be.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A quote worth reading

My baby sister (she's not a baby anymore, trust me) sent me an email with a quote in it that I couldn't post to my blog quick enough. I have written about (here) and certainly read a lot about the friendships that quickly or eventually end of those of us who have suffered the losses we have. And what ends the friendships that we had before our losses are the changes that we have gone through and how completely different we become once we begin this journey and the fact that our "old" friends just don't get it, let alone, know how to act around us. When I read this quote, I said, "exACTly" to myself. Because it's those who want and try to fix it for us, or who want so badly to have us go on with our lives and move past the tragedy, who end up leaving us. Let me know what you think:
"When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares."
~Henri Nouwen



Wednesday, December 16, 2009

For what he is

I had a mother of all roller coaster days today. I had lunch with some great ladies and just by chance the conversation turned to my pictures of Chase. I happened to mention as we headed out the door to our cars that the nurse who was in the operating room for my surgery had taken some pictures of Chase soon after he was born (because our camera was no where to be found) and had supposedly emailed them Patric but we had never seen them. And her phone had gotten stolen by the time I asked for them so apparently there were some phantom pictures of Chase out in cyber space that no one has ever seen that I will never get. My friend immediately speaks up and says, "I think we have them." I have been thinking/searching for these pictures since April to no avail. It's an ever longer story how she ended up with them so just know that I was hit with one of those tidal waves of grief. I was so hopeful that she might have them, but prepared that she wouldn't. I wanted to see them so badly. The earliest images of my newborn son, captured in time. Before I had even got home, she had already texted me that she sent them to my email address. I don't know why, but as I drove home, I felt like I was going to get to see my baby for the first time again. That's what it felt like. But I knew that I didn't really have him. But it was still a sense of anticipation like I was about to get something that I wanted for a real long time, but I would never get what I really wanted.
So all those emotions come back to me. How perfect he looked. How chubby his legs were. My, his nose looks big! How could he have died? He looks too healthy. How could this have happened? Anger rages within the depths of every cell in my body. Pain fills my heart, my head, my gut. He just needed his mama to hold him, it feels like. It hurts so incredibly bad. This wave is way over my head. I'd been keeping my head above the water up until this point.
I struggle with many things. As time keeps on, there's a part of him that feels like is slipping away. Because I know he is no longer a newborn; now he is 8 months old. And I don't know what that looks like on Chase. In these pictures I know he was going to have his own look. I can't imagine what he would look like at 8 months. I can only see him as he looked days old. And I feel like this is jading me. I don't know what I am supposed to think of him like? I read many different ways people imagine a lost child. And I feel that everyone has their own opinion and own belief. But the problem is, I don't know what I believe. And I feel like it is getting in the way. I can't think of my baby the way I want to because I don't have an image. Or the only image I have is frozen in time the day after he was born and is that what he is looks like in heaven? I had read in a book that he will look age appropriate and I will recognize him when I see him in heaven so that was what I was trying to do....imagine him growing up. But I can't. I don't have a picture in my head of that because I never saw it with my eyes to transfer it to my brain. I need something tangible. Or I need to freeze him in time.
Moreso, I need to think of him for what he is. Not what he is not. He is my baby boy, perfect in every way, with a head full of hair, perfect nose, chubby legs and 10 perfect fingers and toes. And he lived with us for three days. He loved us and we loved him, more than anything in this world. He knows that and so do we. He taught us things that we never knew. And we taught him what a family can be and is. That is what Chase is to me. And always will be. No more struggling to conjure up an image of what he must look like to all those who are up there in heaven with him. No more struggling to grasp how he would look as an 8-month-old baby if he were here with me. I have my photos to remember him by and that is how it will remain for me. Frozen in time.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Protocol????

Okay, I'm sort of in a quandry. It's really not a quandry because being faced with what we have been faced with, the question of whether or not to send out Christmas cards is nothing I'm going to waste much energy over. There are much more important things.....you know what I mean.
The question of whether or not to send Christmas cards to our traditional list weighs heavily on 2 things: a) who is on that list and b) what is on the card. I made a card on Snapfish that I thought looked really neat. But I made the card because of where I am at in my grieving. I am to a point where I want people to know about my Chase, people that I have not talked to, some for years, but I keep in touch with once a year through an exchange of holiday photos or cards. Having said that, I don't know how much I want to share and, let's face it, I don't really know that I want to or that I should or that I have anything to celebrate through a Christmas card greeting. Of course I have a lot to celebrate. But how can you celebrate when you are greiving? And sending out a Christmas card is kind of like celebrating the past year, right?
The card has a family snapshot taken earlier today at church, a couple snapshots that represent Chase and one of the kids by Chase's tree. I chose each snapshot for a specific reason, but almost no one receiving the card would be aware of what they symbolize. The card also has a letter on the back that I wrote. It is a generic note about our year, including the birth and loss of Chase and how it has affected us. In my opinion, it is an update with a slight philosophical twist to it. When I finished it, it was exactly what I wanted it to look like and say, but I really didn't know if I wanted to actually send it. I don't know if this makes any sense....
So I showed Patric, because of course, I wasn't going to send anything like this out without consulting him and making sure that I was not doing something he was not comfortable with. His thoughts were much the same as mine, as mentioned above. (I had been working this up in my mind for a few weeks now,while he had just had this placed in his lap.) His question was, probably for the general public, who wants to get a Christmas card that is all about our child who died? And why should or would I explain my child, such an intimate/personal experience, to people we never see? (most of our christmas card list is old, out of town friends and distant family) I totally agree. And what's more, I'm not sure how I'll feel about this when I wake up in the morning. But I wanted to blog about this in hopes that I would get some comments from those who are walking my path....in my shoes. How do you feel about sending Christmas cards? Are you sending them out and if so, are you saying anything about your loss?
After talking to Patric, I realized I could just send a card with just our family snapshot. There is a flower arrangment with an ornament for Chase so, for me, Chase is in the photo. It also would have Chase's name on the card, of course. But I'm not sure if the reason I wanted to send Christmas cards out was to send the letter, too, or not. Maybe it was just healing for me, making the card and I don't need to go any further. And I feel a little bit weird sending out Christmas cards with us wearing smiles when my baby died just 7 months ago. But that is what I mean about where I am at in my grieving. I'm want to send a card, but I don't. I don't think I want to just send a family photo card, though, I think it's all or nothing.
As we well know, there is no rule book on what to do, no etticate and definitely no 'standard protocol' to follow. In cases like these, it's best to turn to those who have been there. So please, any ideas/comments/feelings relating to this hopefully will help me a little.

Giveaway Winner

The winner of the necklace and earings set is Lareina and Mrs. A. is going to get my runner up necklace (which you will love!). Lareina, I don't know how to get a hold of you so please leave me an email with your information so I can get it shipped out. Thank you to everyone who left comments. It was really neat to read about the things/people that inspired you. I connected with some bloggers I had not connected with yet and of course that is always really cool. Thanks to Tina for starting this Giveaway project. It was done for all the right reasons and some amazing things are coming out of it! Now go over to her site and see whose turn it is today.

Friday, December 11, 2009

25 Days of Giveaways....My Turn





Tina, at Living Without Sophia and Ellie, had a great idea for helping babyloss moms get through the holidays with a giveaway every day until Christmas. She has put a lot of time and effort into getting this together and I have to admit, my assigned day snuck up on me. I thought I had until next week.....and I've even been checking the giveaway blogs every day! I am not always with it but I have to admit, this project has helped me through this very difficult holiday season. Checking out other blogs, finding new stories I had not come across yet, reading post after post and relating to every story in this community with at least our outcomes in common, and sometimes more.

My giveaway today is for a necklace and some earings that I made. The necklace has light pink and blue pearls and Swarovski's crystals strung on grey silk with a toggle clasp. One thing that has been very comforting to me has been wearing jewelry that signifies or represents my kids or just Chase in some way. This necklace is called "Inspire". I chose this message because this community has been an inspiration to me. I have struggled with faith a lot since losing Chase and there have been several instances when I have read on a blog someone's idea of faith and it has helped me to see Chase or the circumstances surrounding Chase in a different light. I have been comforted reading how other baby loss moms and dads view their angel babies now and can think of my Chase in a very similar way. I have read others' perceptions of God on some blogs that have made sense to me and have allowed me to think of Chase in a religious sense, not just spiritual. I don't have all the answers and everyone has their own opinions, but this blog in this community is a place I can come and discuss my doubts and concerns and anger and whatever else knowing I won't be judged because there are others with very similar feelings.


Also.....! A runner up will receive a necklace with this 25 x 25mm pendant on brown leather with a lobster clasp. It is the Chinese symbol for faith and has the the English word "faith" on the back. (This is the one I didn't have time to make...I have not received the pendant yet.)

To enter this giveaway, leave me a comment and if you feel like it, tell me who or what has inspired you since the loss of your baby(ies). I will choose the winner tonight from random.org so check back tomorrow to see if it is you! If it is, please email me with your address and I will get them shipped out ASAP. Thanks, in advance, for sharing!

The Mountains & the valleys

My blogger friend, Laura, told us about a website where you can have your blog printed and bound into a book and I have been ready to do that. I need to do it a) before the book gets too big that I won't be able to afford to bind it ;) and b) to put it with my pregnancy journals and stow them away....somewhere...for my girls, should they ever have any interest in this stuff called life that I am experiencing. Anyway, I have been waiting for the perfect post to end this part, called Book I, or something like that.

I guess what comes to mind is how I have changed since Chase died and who it is, exactly, that I am now. The thing is, I'm still not sure. And don't know that I ever will. For when Chase died, he took part of me with him. And just as I feel like I didn't get to know him, there's a part of me that I won't ever get to know.

Of course there is telling in what is not here. I do know some things just merely by what is not in my presense. The first thing is this.....Before Chase died, I had a feeling, or a curiosity, or a premonition, if you will. It had started a long time before April of 2009 and I don't know exactly when, but I had some sort of "feeling", and I don't know a better way to describe it, that something bad was due for our family. I had often thought about the devestations that happen in our world and how lucky, incredibly lucky, we were to not have experienced any such tragedy, to not have cancer or diseases or have someone close and dear to us have to experience that, no natural disasters to take our possessions or damage our outlook on life. Our kids have all of their grandparents and were lucky enough to know several of their great grandparents. And most of all, Patric and I were healthy and fully capable of providing ourselves and our children with enriched lives. I am not an overly obsessed worrier, but I found myself increasingly worrying about something happening to someone close to me. It just seemed like were were playing a game and had escaping all of the bad things that happen to people. We were lucky. And I say that all the while admitting that we had our share of professional and financial troubles. I just felt that as bad as things got in our pocketbooks, we were so lucky to have our health and our family.

Then Chase died. And though a lot of events happened that day and up to that day that gave me the premonition that something bad was forthcoming, I never expected to lose my child. But it happened. It happened to me. It happened to my kids, Patric, our family. We lost a life; forever ripped from our hearts. I would like to say that for this price, I no longer worry that something bad will happen to us again, but I can't. Because I know that life offers no guarantees. Nothing is given to us. We are dealt a hand and we must decide what to do with it. And the only thing I can say is that I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I might do a few things differently, mainly because I feel love in a different way that I used to. I feel things differently than I used to. I feel differently than I used to. And I guess that is a little bit of who I am now. I know that the mountain that we have come upon in living without Chase has not defined us, rather it has shown us a deeper perspective of who we are. We never thought we could live on, but we are. We. Are. Because such is life and we have to decide how we are going to Live. On. Our kids think and feel differently, too. I can see it in their eyes. I can feel it in their touch. I can hear it in their words. Losing Chase and trusting that they will get to see him again has given them a faith that not very many know. A perspective like this is something that their lives would have been fulfilled not to have known. But as life would have it, they now feel, love, and see things deeper than they did before April 17th. They know how to survive in a way that we never could have taught them. They watched Chase fight and they know that they have it in themselves to fight, too. They know that family means we all stay together and though we might not be able to see Chase, we feel him and we know he is there. And Chase feels us. He feels our love. He has to. How can he not?

So it is with this post that I close this journal and move on to the next one. I can't really call it a Chapter or a Book because I don't feel like have have achieved anything or reached a goal or started anything anew. All I know is this life will go on, our stories will continue and our love will always endure. I won't say that there is always tomorrow, but I do know that our family is definitely more than forever.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Going Back

The girls are working on the church praise dance team performance. They have been working very hard, putting in a lot of time with their teacher (she is wonderful) and the show is next Sunday. I am very excited about watching them....I am always so proud of them and their teacher and what she accomplishes with the team. Anyway, they had a very short "teaser" performance this morning in church to encourage members to come watch. So we went to church.
I haven't been in a while. In fact, the last time I did, was a communion Sunday, and I left about 20 minutes into the service because I started crying and couldn't stop. I wrote about it here. I guess it had been a few months. Patric ran into a church member last week and she asked why we hadn't been coming. He told her we will when we are ready. She asked about me and he told her I have been struggling with, in his words, "the whole church thing". She told him we should come because they were there to help us with that, with everything, with anything.
I feel loved in that church. I love the sanctuary...in all it's knotty pine and cabin-like warmth, all it's close-knit, small town feel. But it is so incredibly hard for me to walk in there. It is beautifully decorated for Christmas. All the symbols I used to love and cherish are now staring at me like I'm an outcast. Like I don't fit in with them (the symbols, not the people). They seem foreign to me. I see the white lights on the tree and the lights on the nativity sets and pretty starbursts grow from them...bigger and bigger until I can no longer see through my welled up eyes and tears start to fall. And they fall. And they don't stop.
I knew this would happen. I knew when I went in there, I would cry. Not only because of Chase's funeral, but because whatever would happen in there, whatever the sermon might be, it would relate to me. Some how. It would identify with me and some aspect of my life. Whether I wanted to or not.
So I cried. As quietly and inconspicuously as I could. And Patric held my hand and comforted me. But I was stupid to hope no one would notice. I was dumb to think I was alone. Too many people care about us too deeply. I feel it. And it helps. A little. But it also hurts. The warm looks and the heartfelt words, "it was nice to see you this morning," are so kind and well meant. But it hurts to be there. It hurts to feel love when all I want to do is love the son I can't hold.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Decorating








We have been busy....with snow. Kids have been home from school on snow days and we have been busy. I just wanted to post some pics real quick. These are my favorite ornaments this year. That's so hard to say because I have so many favorites actually, but these are very important to me right now.



The kids did a great job decorating. We had very few casualties (broken ornaments) and those that did were superglued. Dad did his part in setting up the train; Reese's favorite part. I am so very blessed for these things in my life.












Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Blue...

Today sucks. It does and it always will. The part that sucks anyway. It is supposed to be, and started out, an awesome day. 8 inches of snow, no school, fuzzy jammies, a mission to decorate for Christmas. I love having all the lights up and the tree decorated and sitting by the fire snuggled up with Patric or the kids or a warm cup of cocoa. I love it, I do.

But gawd...everywhere I look, it is just so painful. We are rearranging for the tree to fit and the mention of moving a piece of furniture into the bedroom came up. I shrieked inside. I don't want to move ANYthing in my room. It's where the crib is, the changing table, all the stuff I need(ed) for Chase to come home. I thought I was doing okay...but when it came up to move some of that stuff around I realized I am not. I'm not ready for that. The reason we moved the furniture OUT of our room in the first place was to make room for baby. I hate it. It hurts. This season should be so incredibly happy and fun right now. What should be.....
I am cleaning up everywhere getting ready to take stuff to storage so we can bring all the decorations back. I came across a box of clothes. Old clothes the girls grew out of...and then a bag of misc. clothes and stuff. It dawned on me that it was a bag of stuff that the "friends" that came into the house to clean up for me when Chase died had collected and didn't know what to do with so they just put it somewhere. I had put it "away for now" several months ago. Ouch, coming across that was a painful reminder. I picked out the stuff that was never meant to be thrown away and threw away the rest.
I think about Christmas last year and how pregnant I was. I can remember my belly being in the way all the time...I felt so huge. I remember being pregnant so vividly, I could almost feel it.
Today is tough. I think this holiday is going to be very tough. I could cry at the drop of a hat. I find myself talking outloud to Chase now, when no one is around. I am picturing him hovering around the room following me.....I look at my photos and I am so sad. I feel like time is slipping away so quickly and I know he is growing up, changing and I am only going to have a memory of him as a newborn baby. I don't know what he looks like now or how he is changing. Can someone up there just send me a photo every now and then? I want to look at a tangible memory...I am so confused when I try to think for myself what he must look like.
All of this just hurts so bad. I want him here. I want him with us. I want to be happy. I want life to be the way it used to. I miss you Chase. I miss you so much it hurts. Kisses to you sweet boy.

Monday, November 30, 2009

My Very Own Angel indeed


Thank you, Stephanie, for sending me this shirt. Some days I want to shout at the top of my lungs that I am Chase's mom and he is my baby boy. All the other days I just want everybody I see to know it. This is a more subdued way of going about it...(I love it!)


Sunday, November 29, 2009

My highlight

We had a highly anticipated trip to Colorado to visit family for Thanksgiving. The kids were so excited and Patric & I were anxious to get away for a week. I was a bit unsure how it would all go. I was excited, but dreaded it, too. Making memories always hurts these days. Everything is such a mix of emotions. My family is the most important thing in my life to me. And that includes my extended family and their families, too. But since Chase died, getting together with family is a screaming reminder (but then again, I have that every day of my life) of my missing child. I see my nieces and nephews and my heart aches because Chase should be there with them. I think about him crawling around on the floor, about the toddlers and older cousins fighting to hold him, about his siblings showing him off, about how my arms should not be so available....and empty.
I was sad, as expected. But I think I did okay. I cherish the time with my sisters. I laughed. I cried. I laughed harder than I have since before Chase died. And I cried harder than I have in several months. It was an emotional time, a sad time, but it was a wonderful time.
The highlight of my weekend, though, was when all the cousins said one thing they were thankful for. Hearing Chase's name come from their tiny mouths melted me. It made me realize that they miss him, too. That we all wish he was here sharing these moments with us. And it hurt so incredibly bad. But it also felt so heartwarming and proud. I am so lucky for my caring and supportive family. Thank you for loving me.

Friday, November 27, 2009

25 Days of Giveaways has begun...

Please check the new button on my blog....on a daily basis now until Christmas! Tina had a great idea to help those of us who are particularly having a hard time getting through the holidays have a little fun in the midst of a broken heart as we are missing our sweet little ones. These ladies are amazing and have some wonderful things to share. The activities are fun to participate in and you can win some wonderful gifts....for yourself or maybe help you with a Christmas gift for someone special. I happen to be signed up for December 16th and I'm not sure yet what I will be giving away, but I will make it special, I promise. Check back!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Fresh Wound

Today seemed to be tougher than normal. Maybe because I was by myself and in the car for most of it. This was my choice, however, and I found myself talking to Chase a lot. And thinking a lot. The wound, it seems, is so fresh. I think it is always going to be that way. Or just beneath the surface. Tears are not very far away no matter what I do. To complete strangers I look, act, seem "normal." But I am so not. I miss him so dearly and it hurts so badly how much I miss him.
I know I am not alone. My family misses him, too. Those near and far. I hurt for them, they hurt for us. And all the while, we must somehow get through the day, the weeks, the holidays...
I haven't talked to my mom in a while. That is strange. And what is even more strange, is I don't know why. I used to call her up at work during the day at the drop of a hat....how much flour do I put in this recipe?....can I cook this chicken after it sat out for over an hour?....guess what Reese just did?.... A million different questions only Mom knows the answer to. But I don't do that anymore. Do I have all the answers? No. Do I think to call when I need them? I don't really think....I just figure it out or find a way. Stories are not deemed to be shared anymore, I guess. I still love her--she knows that. It's unconditional. But my focus is shifted. It's about Patric and the kids. ALL THE TIME. It's about Chase. It's about me. It's about us. We live in our world and lean on each other so much that I must have fallen out of that "middle place". The place between being a mother and someone else's daughter. (I'm reading the book by that name--and tragically, some of it I understand all too well.) I have "grown up". Even though I really never wanted to. I would rather rely on others the way I used to. Not try to answer everything by myself. But the answers I need no one knows. No one who hasn't been through this. That's the biggest part of me that has changed.
I want to share this picture that my blogger friend Holly sent me. She wrote his name on a leaf and I am very grateful for her thoughtfulness. I love seeing Chase's name, my Chase's name. It's precious to me.
Another blogger friend of mine, Stephanie, has done something very nice for me, too. I will post that when it comes. Thank you girls, and all of those out there in bloggerland who have thought about my baby boy. Your words of support are comforting. I hope to help others the way they have helped me.
We are heading out of town for Thanksgiving. I am really looking forward to this trip. We have a lot planned and will be in the company of some wonderful family and friends. The kids love cousin time. I will have mixed emotions as I will be seeing who is not there before I see who all is there. But I love my nieces and nephews and can't wait to see them. And my sisters and mom.....this time together has been very anticipated. This will be a great week. Happy Thanksgiving!



Saturday, November 14, 2009

A good day

I have to write about this because I can't believe how good it made me feel...
Reese had a birthday party to go to so with Patric off on a day hunting trip, the rest of us piled into the car, Karly willing, Emma not-so. I won a very rare dressing fight with Reese when he pulled out from the depths of his dresser a pair of red polyester gym pants (for play) that were about 3 inches too short and a blue Old Navy rash guard (to wear with swim trunks) size 18-24 months. Sorry dude, not this time. After finally getting dressed, he was excited to go.
Anyway, most of the moms at the party are fairly close friends of mine so it was nice to spend the time visiting while the kids all played together. One of the other moms is pregnant, due in four weeks. I know her and have seen her since I had Chase so though I was not expecting to see her today, she is a really sweet person and it was nice to see her and talk preggo with her. I love talking about babies and pregnancies but these days, it has to be in the right or I usually don't open up. Typical pregancy topics came up and we were talking about being pregnant with girls versus being pregnant with boys. She doesn't know the sex (which I love) and so we were giving our "expert advice" on ways we could all tell the sex of our kids in hindsight. In one single statement I made in the group, I felt a warmth and comfort come over me that I haven't felt in a long time. I had made several comments about my pregnancies each time, with my living kids, carefully choosing my words. Then I blurted out something about being pregnant with the girls and then said, "and when I was pregnant with the boys...."
It rolled off my tongue and I absolutely loved saying it. It sounds so silly but it made me feel so good to say that....and be heard....and have it fit in with a normal conversation with everyone else....and pretend. For a split second. That I do have boys.
It's hard. So incredibly hard. To parent an angel baby. And I think where I was coming from with my last post was that I am feeling inadequate in loving my child. I can love him with all my heart until my dying day, which I do. I love him to the ends of this earth, to the moon and back, to all the stars and back. But I can't love him with my kisses. I can't love him with my hugs. I can't love him with my famous mommy touches....a look, a touch, a whisper, an all ecompassing band-aid that fixes every hurt or sadness that ever comes his way. And that is hard. I can't physically love him and I need to so incredibly bad. This is where the mind and the heart absolutely cannot make up for what the body can do. But I'm so glad I got to talk about you today to my friends. I'm so glad I got to share a bit about you and feel like a normal person for a moment. Because you deserve it. And so do I.
I love you Chase.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lost

I haven't felt like blogging lately. I think it's because I am either preoccupied....or just plain numb. I feel emotionless often...when I see babies and things to do with babies (which is almost everything). Chase does not consume my thoughts to the degree that he once had. I hate that. I hate that more than anything. I have said before that I control my thoughts. Consciously, I do. But I find myself not so continuously haunted by him...unless I specifically try to "go there." I don't automatically think of our traumatic night everytime I drive by the hospital anymore. Then there are times I look at that building and my stomach turns inside out. I force myself to think about the two miracles that took place there when I brought home Reese and Karly. Because to think about the chaos that occured when Chase was born, it sucks the wind out of me. Nausea sets in. Again. So I do still control my thoughts. And because I don't allow myself to focus on all the horrible things that happen, I find myself not so consumed.
But I want to be consumed. I don't ever want to forget him. I don't ever want to try to remember him. I want him there, in my thoughts. Always. I want him behind my eyelids. I want him in my breaths. I want him everywhere and I don't want that feeling to ever go away.
I fear more than ever that it is going away, though. I wake up now and try to remember if I was thinking about him before I fell asleep. I feel bad still, for smiling and laughing. Because I have so much to grieve yet.
...
I watched Taylor Swift win Entertainer of the Year last night and though impressed by her accomplishments, I wonder when she will find herself changing. She graciously accepted her award and said something to the effect, "everything that I have ever wanted in my life just happened." I wish we all had the chance to say that just one time in our lives. She is merely 19 and got her turn. But is that really everything? We know it is not. And at 37, I have never wished for my turn more than now.

Friday, November 6, 2009

October Secret Garden Meeting

This meeting we would like to talk about where you are. Where are you at in your grief. Has it been years or just weeks since you lost your baby. How are you feeling. How do you hope you will feel in the future. Have you found any peace at all?

It has been 6 1/2 months since we lost Chase. I still have a lot of the same feelings, most all of them, that I did a week after he died. I am still angry, lost, confused, bitter (maybe not as much now), sad, empty, broken, just sick. If I let myself, I could go right back to the moment it happened, or the funeral, or the burial, and have all those wicked, horirble feelings just like I was there again. I don't let myself, though. There are times that I just don't let myself think of because it is so awful. I guess because there are moments that I can think of to cover those up. Like the first moment I saw him and how I instantly (INSTANTLY) bonded with him. Or touching him in the NICU and spending that precious time with him. Or when the kids came in to see him and they were all so, so, so strong. Or when we all talk about him and wonder what he is doing now, or what or who he looks like, or what his likes and dislikes are. My thoughts are my choice, I figure. I can think about whatever I want to think about and I can turn them into good or bad (sad) thoughts. I am really trying to make the best of it.
I am doing well. Not great. Not terrible. Things could be better (the obvious), but they never will be. We still have our dreams. They are altered a little tiny bit, but we still have them. We are trying to decide what our family is going to be or become. We are forever learning how to live without a very important part of our family. I don't know if you ever figure that out. With the holidays approaching, I have thought a lot about our traditions...what the were, what they are going to be. The fact is that there is sadness, everywhere we go, everything we do surrounded by utter, complete, happiness. My family is the most awesome thing in the world. i am so lucky to be a part of it. They are wonderful. I love them and they love me. More than anything. It's so complicated to have so much joy in life yet to have sadness present all the time. I miss Chase...as an infant....and now as a 6-month-old. I miss him and the things he would be doing. All his firsts. But I also love what I have. I am so lucky to have what I have. So lucky. And thank you, Chase, if you had anything to do with that. I don't want to think that you did, but I also know that you did and love you for it. I want to think like Carly....Are you really gone? Or is it that we just can't see you?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Conversations with a 4-year-old...


Reese and I picked up a little buddy of his for a play date today (read: so mommy can get some work done) and as we incidentally drove by the only cemetary in town, he told his friend, "that's where they bury people who die." I don't know why, other than for conversation and he was so excited for his play date, Reese brought this up. We drove by the cemetery at least two more times throughout the day and our on our final trip home, and again seeing the cemetery, our conversation went something like this...

Reese: Mom, does God have a TV up there in his house?
Mom: Hmmm. I don't know buddy. Do you think he does? I think there are better things than TV up there.
Reese: Mom, what does God look like?
Mom: Do you remember the picture on the program for Chase's funeral?
Reese: No. Does he look like a ghost?
Mom: You mean like you can see through him?
Reese: Yeah.
Mom: I don't know, buddy. Everyone has their own idea of what God looks like. I think he looks like a normal person though, but extra kind, very gentle. Just a really nice person I guess.
Reese: Mom, are we gonna go to Heaven?
Mom: You mean like for a little while...or forever?
Reese: Yeah.
Mom: Well, babe, everyone goes to Heaven. But I don't think you have to think about that for a long time. Not 'til you get older, a lot older.
Reese: Mom, can we see Chasey?
Mom: I wish we could, buddy......I miss him. A lot. What would you do if you saw Chase?
Reese: (Quiet.)
Mom: Would you give him a hug....and then ask him if he wanted to race?
Reese: Yeah, I would.


Oh, man. How it hurts to talk about this. I can't believe this is Reese's "normal". I hate that he has to grow up like this. I have really felt the affect on Reese's life in particular lately. How big of an impact Chase would have on Reese. I think about it or talk about it to Patric every day. This is the first time Reese has ever been home with us alone. It started out special--just time with us. But after that has worn off, it has been just torture. I know he loves to be home with us. But he misses his sisters, who were home with him last year. Then before that, Emma was home being homeschooled by herself; before that, Karly was home and played with him all the time. This has been something completely new for me, having just one kid to tend to. And he doesn't like having to "wait" for me to get to him. I hate getting frustrated with his begging to play, do this, do that. But I do. And I know Chase would have made things so different. For all of us. It's hard to imagine the impact another child is going to put on your life. But it's agonizing to have to live with their absence. To say we miss him does not do it justice.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Lotsa Pics


I uploaded a bunch of pics on the Slide show (above)....what we've been up to lately. Halloween festival, air show, soccer, river walks, Trick-or-Treat, and more Halloween. I could kick myself for not taking my camera with me today because we went to White Sands "on a whim" and had a blast. It was so quite and really pretty as the weather was perfect at about 70 deg. The contrast of the white sand and the blue sky is amazing and the mountains look purple in between it. We could hear the kids feet on the sand as they ran hundreds of yards away from us and to hear their tiny voices at such a distance was bizarre. Watching Reese run down the dunes with no one else in my view reminding me of my Little Prince and I wondered if he had all the answers. Some quality time with the huz was also in order...thanks, sweetie. I'll take an uninterrupted conversation anytime, anywhere.


Riding home as the sun set and the full moon rose above the horizon, I thought about Chase. I wondered what he looked like. My image of Reese at 6 months pops into mind and I long for that relationship again. At this age Reese's eyes seemed to focus only on me. He could spot me from across a room and would fixate on me....his eyes following my every move. There was no doubt who his favorite person was (or maybe he was just hungry all the time had something else on his mind!). I wonder if Chase would have needed me like that. Or maybe he would have gotten so much attention from his siblings that I would actually get to sit back and watch some of develpment instead of having it happen while I was holding him (it seemed that way with Reese, anyway!). I stared at the moon and I wondered if Chase was looking at the same moon, just a different angle. I read somewhere this weekend that maybe the stars aren't really stars at all but rather little windows to what is on the other side. And they are showing us all the joy that they are having up there watching over us. Maybe Chase is up there looking at us right now. I just wish I could see him. I miss him so much. We had fun, little man. But oh, what it could have been if you were here........

Friday, October 30, 2009

Dreaded Anticipation

I have been thinking a lot about the holidays coming up....and, of course, I am not looking forward to a blatent recognition of what is not there. I don't want to celebrate these cheery events without him. I want to dress him up in his Halloween costume, I want to give him his first bite of Thanksgiving mashed potatoes, I want to buy little Christmas ornaments and toys and clothes for him, I want to share the joy that I should be living at a time of peace and thankfulness with my family, and everyone else because of what I should have. But none of that is going to happen. It can't and there is nothing I can do about it. Patric is right when he says the only thing I see in our family picture is what is not there. I don't blame him for getting frustrated with me and my emotions....my sadness. It's not fair to the three absoulte miracles that we have here with us to be this way. It's not fair that they have to see the sadness in their mom's face or hear it in her voice at such an exciting and delicious time of year. It's not fair....
So I have thought a lot about what I am going to do this holiday season. How I am going to get through it. How I will survive and hopefully thrive. Part of me is scared....scared that I will crumble. Because I know that is a possibility. But I'm not going to let that happen. Patric won't let that happen to me. I know I will be sad for what it is. But I also know that it is going to be a very special time for this family. It will be a time of joy, a time of peace, a time of happiness and celebration.
I've got a list of things I have planned for us. I don't think I'm going to share it because of the (slight) possibility of setting myself up for failure! But I have some very special things in my head that I think will give me the time and reason and place I need to remember Chase and let the kids honor him in a happy and joyous setting. I hope to have the opportunity to show our love for each other and all our kids and let those who care for us know us as a family. I hope to enlighten those who are in our lives with an insight that most people don't have, a perspective that you hope you never gain, and our reason to find peace and joy in this time of year. In doing this, I hope I give and get the most out of these next few months. I am still searching for who I am after having Chase. I am not the same person. I know things and experience things completely different. I feel different and act different. I love different. So this winter is about being thankful for what I have, showing that and giving that. We will remember Chase as we do every minute of every day, but we will remember him and celebrate him this Christmas because he deserves it. Chase is so completely worth celebrating. I can't promise I won't have my sad moments wishing he was here. But I will try. I will try to reform my sadness for what is not into happiness for what is. And that is 4 beautiful children, an amazing husband and a whole lotta love.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Not any easier...

I know this journey is and will continue to be one of peaks and valleys; a rollercoaster of emotions; a few good days shuffled with a few bad ones. But when anyone asks, "does it get any easier?" the answer is NO. It will never get easier.
I think 6 months, wow. I can't believe it has been 6 months since we had Chase. I can't believe it because I think of him and my delivery all the time. Still. Every night I go to bed and every morning I wake up, I'm thinking about him. All of it. I can force my thoughts away from certain moments and focus on others if necessary. But the point is, I think of him all the time, in everything I do.
Last night was one of the worst nights for me since Chase died. I see his picture every night as usual, but I decided to go through the photos and pick some out for Patric's mom. I have seen them a million times. I have them on my blog, I have them in the house, I have them everywhere. But last night, for some reason, I couldn't handle it. It sent me so far back into the darkness that I wasn't sure if I was going to come out of it. I felt the pain as if it had all just happened. My thoughts wandered to what I wish I would have done with Chase those 3 days I was with him and I felt the weight of regretting so many things. I just felt a heaviness about me....like the sadness that I am carrying with me everywhere. I had gone to bed before Patric so I was alone for this episode. I know I can go to him with anything or for any need, physical or emotional. But I couldn't get out of bed. I felt so incredibly heavy. And I am thankful that my body takes care of my mind because at some point I drifted off into sleep, clutching Chase's blanket and holding Reese's hand (he was already very much asleep through all of this).
I know that this is my life. It doesn't matter how much I can hardly believe it, sometimes...I must live with it. I have always lived on the edge. But now I am on the verge. On the verge of tears. Though some days it takes a little more to get them to fall and even some days there aren't any. I know that they are there. Under the surface. Forcing me to be strong, smile, have joy in the things that make me smile and try to go on. I need to. My family needs me to. Chase needs me to...to be the happy mom that I so dearly want to be.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Notes Girls Write

I have had a rough day. It's not necessarily something I can blog about, but it has to do with a lot of specific details the day that Chase was born and what exactly happened. I am in need of answers. Sometimes it's the worst thing to think about and sometimes it's the only way for me to go on. Explanations. What happened? Why is this my life. How could it be?

On top of that, Emma's sick. Again. A UTI this time but it has hit her hard and it's no little thing with me. I hate when my kids are sick. I am scared of them dying. I know it's an extreme thought but I can't help it. I know what that feels like to lose one. And I am scared of it happening again. Defying the odds is not something that means alot anymore. I just want everyone healthy. High fevers, no appetite, overly tired, vomiting....it scares me. And what used to be "all part of parenthood", now is an evil spirit following me around, lurking in the shadows, waiting to happen to me all over again. A fine line between life and paranoia.

***
But this is what I really wanted to blog about today. Actually since yesterday. I stumbled upon this blog from a photography website I visit from time to time and it seemed like a really cool idea to me. This is what it says:

Every girl has her own story. This photo essay is about sharing glimpses. Funny, beautiful, sometimes sad, sometimes silly peeks into the minds of girls…told through their own writing.

So I gave Emma & Karly their assignments. There were no boundaries. (At this age, I didn't feel I needed to worry about that!) They saw the pictures on the blog but were on their own from there. And I have to say, I was very impressed with my 9-year-old AND my 7-year-old. Karly wrote a note to Chase (click here) and Emma's note read, "Remember, nobody's perfect."
It's things like this that remind me how special my life really is. There is a lot of sadness and a constant ache for what is missing. But there is also such a feeling of happiness, joy and pride in what I do have in my life. I am so happy who my kids are and the individuals that they are becoming. And I am proud that Chase has had a part, and will continue to, in shaping who they are. He is a part of me, just as the other three are. And I know Chase is the same to Patric and that he feels every bit of pride that I do in them.
So what is your note? I thought of this babyloss community and how we express ourselves to each other. And if you feel like sharing, go over to Notes Girls Write and post your note.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Facade

I am a living facade. I went out of town this weekend with a friend and her teenage daughters to run in a 5k. We had a great time. Her girls are wonderful kids and I really enjoyed the time spent with them. I enjoyed the quality time with my friend. But it was the first night I had spent away from my family since Chase died. I felt like a child....packing his blanket. I thought for a second not to take it, but I have not gone to bed without it since April 17th. I have it by my cheek every night I go to sleep. And since we were all sharing a hotel room, I thought (only for a second) about what I would look like, a healthy 37-year-old woman, sleeping with her dead child's blanket. But I took it. And I needed it. Inconspicuously, I fell asleep, my tears falling on my secret security blanket, feeling as though Chase was with me. Thinking how he should be snuggled in next to me right now, here with me on this weekend trip.
But I laugh. I smile. All the while on the inside I am sad. The guilt for showing happiness waxes and wanes. I think what I must look like: a mother who lost her baby and seems to go on like it never happened. But it doesn't bother me. Because it's not true. It's this facade. Not like the self-aclaimed FB facade. This is a real life facade. I act one way and feel completely different on the inside because of real life. My. Real. Life. I can't walk around like I'm depressed. I'm not depressed. I am a woman with a broken heart. And that broken heart is healing. Slowly. But it has left behind a hole. A hole that will never mend. And I will forever be crying inside. It will never go away.
This came from my friend Kristy's blog. I'm not sure if she wrote it or not. I saved it in my notes and found it the other day. And it is me.

Do not judge the bereaved mother. She comes in many forms.
She is breathing, but she is dying.
She may look young, but inside she has become ancient.
She smiles, but her heart sobs.
She walks, she talks, she cooks, she cleans, she works, she IS, but she IS NOT, all at once.
She is here, but part of her is elsewhere for eternity.
Thankyou to my friend and her daughters for not judging me. But for giving me a good time. And running with me. :) I needed that!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Six Months

Sweet little Chase,
Today you would be with us for 6 months. You would be probably sitting up, rolling over, cooing, laughing, telling us what you think of this world. Since you are not here to do that, let me tell you what I think about this place where we are.

It's a sad place. Because you are not here. We talk about you and wonder what you would look like, who you would take after, what your personality would be and it's so hard not to be sad when thinking about what should be.

But it is also a wonderful place. Because even though all we have of you is our memory, our blankets, little memoirs, we still have you. You are in our hearts. You are in what we do every day. You have shaped us, since you were in my tummy, while you were with us for 4 days, and in these six months since, you have shaped us into who we are. We are a million times more compassionate because of you. We are a trillion times more real because you were real. We are stronger because of the fight you gave us. And we love each other like this is our last day, because we know how important that is, because of you.
It's a dark place, this world, when you hurt like we do, knowing we will have this feeling the rest of our lives. But it is a beautiful place because when we see the miracles on this earth in all their beauty, we know that is you. You are in it somehow. And we think of you.
It's a confusing place to live. There is so much we don't understand. But we don't know if it's worth trying to figure everything out. There are some things that we know we will never fully understand. But we have love. We have each other. And we know that we have you, though we cannot feel you, touch you, smell you, or see you, we can close our eyes and see you and sense your love all around us.
We miss you buddy. You are Reese's Maverick. You are your sisters' baby brother. You are our sweet littleman. We miss you more than words can say. We love you more than this world can ever comprehend. And one day, we will be together again, one day far, far away. I love you. A thousand kisses to you sweet boy. Mommy misses you and thinks of you with every breathe I take. Waiting for our dream meeting....

Friday, October 9, 2009

13 Seconds

I'm glad that last post is under my belt because I have more important things on my mind that are much more worthy of my thoughts, fears, and emotions...
Emma was home sick last week and wrote a post about how much we miss her baby brother and she was spot on. We know we love our kids with our entire being. But we don't really experience how much that is quantitatively speaking until we lose one and we lose part of ourselves with them. Then we really feel how much is lost. Most people never realize this emotion because the natural order is to grow old and die before our kids do.
My sister sent me this video this week and though I had seen it before, it has been a while. There are certain things I don't look at unless I truly, truly want to. So many things take me to such a dark place that I have to prepare myself and then let myself revisit them. This video is one of them.

video

I don't know if I can even put into words what this video does for me. What it does to me.

It is the only live video I have of Chase. Therefore, it is one of the most precious things to me ever. It is evidence, better yet, proof that he was born. He was mine, ours, in flesh and blood. He looked just like his brother and sisters when they were born. He was a big baby! He definitely did not belong in the NICU. He was beautiful. Perfect in Every. Single. Way.

I love this video because it was on Wednesday night. When he still looked like my sweet little Chase. Before his skin became all blotchy and before he got puffy from all the medication, blood products and fluids they were pumping into him. My favorite photo of him is one that was taken on this day and this is what I see in my head 99% of the time I think about him. This is what he looked like. I can feel his so soft hair and his rose petal like skin. I can smell him and breathe him in. My head so close to his head. My nose on his forehead, at his ear. Whispering to him, asking him, begging him, to please keep fighting. Carefully leaning over his isolette, I silently wished my incision was as numb as everything else in my body was. I listen to our pastor's words but I don't really hear them. I am watching his tummy move up and down, like every mother does millions of times "just to make sure...." when you bring home a newborn. I didn't get to hear him cry and I really, really missed that. I wanted to hear him so badly. He did open his eyes for us and his brain waves on one machine indicated his undeniable response to our voices and touch. But I wanted so much more. I couldn't pick him up and hold him to my chest, wrap him in my arms, tuck him under my chin like I wanted to so badly. I wish so much that I had done that one of those 3 days. There was a point when I was convinced that had I done so, I could have miraculously healed him. Made him all better, like I always seem to do with the other three.

Wathcing the 13 seconds of this video is like watching him live again. But it's not a happy feeling. I wanted him to get better, but I didn't want him to hurt, either. I could't bear the thought of him in pain and I didn't know if he was or not. I couldn't tell like a mother should be able to. I did not feel good in the NICU. I knew it was bad. But I did not want to let go. I did not want to give up hope. Watching this video makes me feel that way again. Like not wanting to give up hope, but knowing you have to. And you only get 13 seconds. It feels like that's about how fast it went. A life. HIS life. So painfully short. So incredibly precious. Beautiful. Adorable. Proud. Happy. Yet so intensely sad.

I love you baby boy. Mommy loves you so, so much. You are almost 6 months old and I miss you so badly. Please, please come to me in my dreams. I need you to be there. Won't you?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

It is what it is

I have read several blog posts from other baby loss mamas who have lost several friends, friends of many years, and I have thought how crazy and ironic it was that this would happen. But it just takes a tragedy, more specifically a loss, and even more specifically than that, the loss of a child to quickly separate you from the rest. And this weekend, I joined my fellow baby loss family as my circle of IRL "friends" narrowed considerably.
My situation, though, is severly complicated. And I must also add that I use the term "circle" and "friends" lightly because I am not big into "the" social scene or any social scene, for that matter. I wasn't even before Chase died. But the by the nature of what happened to me and my family, my perspective on a lot of things changed. When my perspective changed, so did my friendships and my definition of friendships. And when my definition of friendship changed, so did the number. It got smaller, like many other baby loss mamas who are on my journey.
The complications come from several aspects. A.) I live in a small town. B.) I am pursuing some relentless litigation against my doctor for several things that happened under his care. C.) That doctor was, at one time, one of my closer friends in this town; so much that he is my kids' godparent. and D.) We are in the same "social circle" and have many common friends.
I am blessed for the friends that are not in the same social circle but the friends that made a choice this weekend certainly hurt. I have specifically explained the sordid details of this doctor's actions and behavior that have led me to taking action and I was under the false impression that this was enough "evidence" to lead these friends away, on their own accord, from any socialization with him. I didn't feel it necessary to verbally request this of them because remember.....my son is dead. My healthy, beautiful baby boy is gone and I will never get to see him play with his brother, read me a book, play a soccer game....nothing. His precious life was taken.
So I thought these friends realized this. I thought they understood the magnitude of my loss, or at least a fraction of it. These were not friends that I saw or even talked to every week. But they were friends that I could see and pickup where we left off without skipping a beat. My favorite kind of friend. Some of them have been friends of Patric for over 3 decades. And then I received a text from one saying that since we were planning on coming over, she wanted us to know that my doctor and his family might very well be there. That she didn't want anyone to feel uncomfortable or awkward.
Uncomfortable? Really? Why, because my son is dead and the doctor, your friend is, in my well-stated opinion, responsible for it? Why? Because he knows that we feel this way and our presense would be unsettling? Because our baby, his patient, died and it would make things awkward for him to be in the same social setting? Or is it because we are accusing him of something so absurd and the doctor that they all know and trust (for a total of 4 years now) would never do something like that or act that way; therefore, we must be crazy, looking for someone to blame for our grief?
I have to share a short story to help me understand all this so please bare with me. Patric & I had a very good friend years ago in Florida who is now in the state pen with over 30 counts of convicted rape. When Patric & I knew him, he was a cool guy, a great friend, fun to be around, someone I would have entrusted our kids, had we had any. We received a phone call about 3 years after moving to Ruidoso that our old roommate had been caught on an attempted rape and is being investigated for several rapes throughout the 10 years leading up to that. We were shocked. Not Dave. No way, no how. He would never have hurt anyone. I couldn't believe it. We were in denial. I kept telling myself, at least he didn't kill anyone. But I also thought at the time that if I knew any of victims, I would be forced into reality and I would have more empathy for them because without knowing any of those girls personally, I could not relate and moreover, I could not believe that our very good friend would be capable of something so awful and violent, while we were living with him. How could he lead a double life and we live so close to him and not know it?
So, back to my post..... I can understand, having trusted someone so dearly, how hard it is to believe that something bad has happened. I am not relating the viciousness or the violence of that story to this, but I am trying to understand why some people can go on like nothing ever happened. Where is the accountability? What about the consequences....you know....that which we talk to our kids about practically every day? Just because mistakes happen, doesn't mean you don't have to be accountable for them. Or that you don't have to own up to them. Even if you're a doctor.
And besides, the difference is that they know me. They know us. And yet their friendship with the doctor has not changed, apparently. Where is the empathy for us? All I can sense is them protecting him. This didn't happen to him. It happened to US. In fact, He. Is. What. Happened. I wouldn't normally say I know what I would do in someone else's shoes, but I know in my heart that if this happened to anyone of them, I would have no problem telling this doctor to go take a hike--that he was not invited to my parties, that I will not be coming over to his house, that I would have nothing to do with him because of what happened. That is the kind of support we need. Not tiptoeing around the subject like we are fighting over something trivial. This is about the death of my son. The support I need is that of the undying kind. The I-got-your-back kind of support that we are on your side. Because when people that we have known for years and years and years have to text me with a message that we might not want to come over because so-and-so is going to be there and they wouldn't want things to be uncomfortable for anyone, that tells me that they have completely dismissed Chase. That tells me that they have disregarded the trauma that I went through and they have forgotten and moved on. And so should I. Seriuosly, do you realize you are talking about the death of my son? I know if you really wanted us to come, and you were supporting us, you would have no problem calling the doctor up and telling him that he better not show up. You would warn him that we are going to be there. Not the other way around.
But no, it didn't happen that way. In fact, it all happened via text messages. That's the funny part. And I am guilty. But I wished I woulda twittered instead of texted because the message I sent could have gone to a broader audience. More should have experienced the "fit" I threw. But it's my son who died. Not theirs. And my nightmare continues on. I keep hoping I wake up some day. It is all so unreal.
So my circle is now quite small. It consists of five people and one angel baby (...and a few real friends) And that's all I really need.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Secret Garden September Meeting

The Secret Garden is a place for bereaved parents to go for comfort, sharing thoughts and feelings and reading of others' thoughts and feelings offering support and virtual hugs. Sophie, Hope & Carly very carefully pick the topic each month and post on the Secret Garden website and the rest is up to us. Here are my thoughts on September's topic...
What has helped you through out this new life the most. Is it your family? your faith? Support groups? A ritual? Music? Physical activity? A new interest? It could be anything. Tell us about how whatever it is has helped you. Please feel free to share photo's,videos, websites, support group information and so on.
Immediately after Chase's death, my family stepped up to the plate. In less than a day, two of my sisters showed up in the NICU. Patric & I had arrived only a few hours before. Friends arranged for our kids to be with us within hours of us asking the favor. My entire family arrived at my door about a day after Chase passed. I was so quickly surrounded by those whose hearts were breaking with ours and only wanted to be with us, in our presence to offer love and support. My house doesn't even hold that many but everyone piled in, no complaints, and I felt a level of protection that I have never felt before--completely surrounded by the people that love me most in this world. Though I was still in shock, physically and emotionally, from what happened and what was happening, I constantly had someone there with me taking care of me and the kids and Patric. I don't think I could have made it without that immense support. Though I know not everyone would want that....it was what I, we, needed.
As reality set in and time passed (after the first week) I needed answers. I read several hundreds of pages of medical reports from my records, the hospital records, Chase's records, the NICU's records....talked to doctors and nurses and friends....all to find out what happened to me and what happened to Chase. I needed something scientific to reason with what happened. I could not stand to listen to another "God's Plan" explanataion or "he was needed in heaven" story from people who had no idea what I was going through. This was certainly painful, but it was also therapeutic. I got (and still do) cold sweats and would shake when I asked people about the day I was in labor and the surgery and some times I would break down talking about it but it was part of my greiving process to talk it out. I went through seriuos trauma, not just a tragedy and this was all helping me get through it. I also had a very specific desire for those around me in my small town to know what happened since this was something that involved more than just us, but the doctor, himself, too. The magnitude of our loss is something that separates me from
many people I once called friends. The dismissal of it and that it even happened is something that I can't look past as I live with it every day of my life.
I developed several photos of Chase while he was in the NICU. This also became therapeutic I guess. I have just a few of him in Ruidoso and I only have a few of him with his eyes open. But I have my favorites and I have blown them up and hung them in my room or created different memory keepsakes with them. He is every where I look and not in the few photos I have up, but in the places he was supposed to be present, the cupboard that was supposed to hold his bottles, the bath that was supposed to be baby-friendly, the car that was supposed to hold his carseat, the sisters that were supposed to be holding him and brother that was supposed to be at home playing with him and the daddy that was supposed to holding him on his chest, not a new little puppy that has recently called our place home. And then I see him in the rainbows, the birds, the butterflies, the clouds, the mountains, the storms, the wind....everywhere.
I have always exercised and this has definitely helped me. However, every time I go on a run, my mind is replaying some episode of Chase's life with us. Sometimes this is good and sometimes I have to force myself to think about other things or concentrate on music. The support I have received from other bereaved parents has helped me tremendously. Writing to and reading about the daily struggles of other moms who feel the same as me has given me comfort in that I know others are on this same path I'm walking. When I think my thoughts are crazy or my emotions are out of hand and read a blog of another babyloss mom who feels the same exact way, I am comforted and know that I'm not the only one in this dark, lonely place. As every babyloss mom relates, I am grateful for that resource but I certainly wish that I never knew any of them.
My biggest comfort of all is also the most painful one and that is Chase. My focus is on my baby. I think of him when I'm sad. I think of him when I'm happy. He will never leave my heart, my mind, my soul.

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