Monday, April 18, 2011

The visit

Chase is buried in a cemetery 7 hours away, so we don't get to visit his grave but once a year.  This makes the visit all the more painful and momentous.  It's not something we do every day and get used to.  Though I don't think anyone can ever get used to visiting their child's gravesite.

We had a very short window of opportunity for this trip as Reese has had baseball games nearly every other day or two this past week/weekend.  So we got to the cemetery Sunday.  It was a very different feeling traveling this time.  First and foremost, I had my baby in the car seat this time.  The car seat that for so long, hadn't been used.  I remembered two years prior, instead of that car seat, we had a casket in our Sequoia.  A casket with the body of one of our children.  That was a feeling that nearly sent me over the edge.  I couldn't think about it during that 7 hour drive, or I could feel myself losing my mind.  But it was hard not to.  I thank Chase for carrying me through those days mostly.  Giving me the grace to handle all of that.  It hurts to always will.  

I remember buying flowers last year to take to the grave.  We all agreed on an arrangement and I remember wondering if the checker would ever guess in a million years what we were buying these flowers for as she commented on how pretty they were.  This year, they each picked out their own arrangement, and I still wondered....and it still hurts.  I will never get used to that feeling.  And I still feel like teetering on the edge of sanity when I buy those flowers for my sweet boy.  It's a very surreal feeling.

Owen slept nearly the entire three hour drive Sunday morning to the cemetery.  Leaving me to myself for the ride....again, remembering last year and the sadness of the drive.  Having my rainbow in my arms this year definitely helped me, somewhat through distracting me, somewhat as a physical comfort.  When we got to the cemetery, I woke him up because I wanted to take pictures.   And he cried.  The entire stay.  It was terribly windy outside and I know he didn't like it.  But it really infringed on our visit.  We all had our time at the grave and said our prayers and did what we needed to do.  But with Owen crying, it certainly wasn't as peaceful as the trip was last year.  To make matters worse, I looked up in the sky and found not a single cloud.  I looked all around me....searching.....but I didn't see him.  I didn't feel him.  As hard as I tried, I felt so abandoned.  I couldn't find any sign of my baby boy.   I felt guilty having Owen in my arms.... and I couldn't comfort Owen at all, either.  So I didn't get to be alone with Patric much at all.  Everything was just all wrong.  My other kids looked so grown up next his grave this year.  They were so little when I remember them at the burial.  It makes me so sad to see them sad and to know how their brother's death has changed them.  It was time to leave and of course Owen calms down right away.  But I was so sad because I couldn't feel Chase around me.  I wondered if God was mad at me and wasn't going to let me feel my baby's presence anymore.   This made me more sad.

After a while of silence in the car and once the kids started watching their movie again, I told Patric how I felt, all the while crying.  I mean, why would I expect to feel Chase there at his grave, 7 hours away from where he always is.  He's with us everywhere we go every day.  Why do we need to go all this way to visit him on his birthday/death day?  Of course, how could we not visit his grave is also the question.  I was so confused....and then....all of a sudden Patric turned up the radio.  And we heard it.  Sarah was singing Angel.   And I felt him.  It was like Chase was telling me at that moment, "It's okay, Mom.  You're exactly right, I'm not there at that cemetery.  That's just my body.  I'm with you guys all the time.  See, I'm right here."  And for as long as the song played, I closed my eyes and felt my baby boy.  Thankful for his presence.  And after that I was okay.  Because I knew he wanted me to be okay.  

As a babyloss mom, we are always searching for signs.  Some may call them coincidences or just luck.  But as a babyloss mom, I'll take what I can get.  And I got it yesterday.....I miss you baby boy.  I will never stop loving you and I will never stop thinking of you.  Sweet dreams, little man.  Godspeed.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Little Man

Chase turned two yesterday.  We've been without our precious little boy for two years.  It seems like yesterday, yet it seems like forever ago.  I can't believe how time flies but I can still imagine him in his isolette as if it happened moments ago.  So many emotions, so many feelings, so much fear.  The trauma that we both endured still clouds over the fact that he is gone.  Still searching for reasons, answers, clues.  And I still don't understand it.  Emma asks questions from time to time about what happened and why Chase isn't here with us.  I don't have all the answers for her.  I never will, and neither will she.  The anger I harbor surfaces at his birthday....I think it will for quite some time.  I look at Owen and don't see any real reason Chase shouldn't be here.  Yet I look at Owen and know he wouldn't be here if it weren't for Chase.
I am so lucky to have dear friends and family that sent their best wishes yesterday, letting me know we were in their thoughts.  The difference this year....I am holding a sweet babe in my arms.  When I cry, Owen smiles to let me know it's okay.  He is here.  He is healthy and he is here to help me through these moments.  For now, anyway...while I can pick him up and hold him in my arms and see Chase in my mind, yet feel Owen in my arms.  A pain that will forever be there, and a comfort at the same time.  Just as I'm getting used to Owen being in my life, I am still getting used to Chase not.  The absence of one, the presence of another.  Both my boys.  Both from my womb, sharing a part of me that only my kids know.  And carrying that part of me with them wherever they go.  
"I wanted you more than you will ever know, so I sent love to follow wherever you go."
We are doing fine.  We are laughing and smiling and enjoying life.  But we still miss our little one.  We always will.  Until we meet again...

Dear Chase,
Happy 2nd birthday my little man.  I know you had a terrific birthday party up in heaven.  I try to picture you as a toddler running around, eating cake, opening presents, sitting on my lap, playing with your siblings.  But it's hard.  I want you here with us.  You are a part of our family and always will be.  We will never forget you, always love you, always celebrate you.  I love you sweet boy.  I love you to the moon and back.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My April

April is here.  I have hardly had a chance to notice.  Though I know.  I feel it.  The date is creeping up on me.  I did not get a chance to post anything about our Spring Break trip.  We had a blast.

The kids loved the ocean.  It was their first time at the Pacific.  We could have/should have stayed there all day.  It was very relaxing and very peaceful.  My favorite landscape is definitely the ocean.  I looked around to find Chase....I hoped knew he was with us.  I found him in the clouds.....

Owen had a great time, too.  This was at Sea World, our favorite theme park!

Last week I was taking care of sick kids.  Owen had a cold that lasted 10 days.  It was absolutely horrible and very stressful--for all of us.  It turned into an ear infection at the end, which the antibiotics took care of.  He's all better now, but was pretty rough for a while.  Then Reese came down with some pretty bad bronchitis.  Another scare for me....though these days, it doesn't take much to make me worry.  After some meds, he's recovered, too.  So just when I think we are back on track....I look at the calendar and realize it.

I scheduled and rescheduled appointments this month several times and turns out, a couple rescheduled appointments are for tomorrow.  April 14th.  I can't believe I scheduled them on this day.   I don't know why, but I wish I wouldn't have done that.  We have Reese's first baseball game and I am so concentrated on not crashing his happy times with "having" to celebrate his brother's birthday and angelversary in the midst of his baseball season kickoff and his own birthday.  I'm not sure how to do this.  We are not skipping any games and are trying to fit in a trip to go visit Chase's gravesite before Reese's birthday.....but it's going to be a rush to fit it all in.  I hate that he is buried so far away.  We still have not laid his headstone.  It is finished and sitting at the funeral home....but we have not been able to complete this last step.  There are so many questions that were never answered and this was one of we have struggled with and still not answered....

I could not sleep last night after Owen's midnite feeding because I looked at the clock and was in shock at the date.  I found myself going through all the events all over again.  Remembering as much as I could as I looked at the pictures I have in my room.  Wishing soooo badly I would have held my baby boy with so much more passion than I did in those pictures.  Hurting because I feel guilty for not picking him up the first moment I saw him in the NICU.  Not picking him up, because of course I couldn't, but I wished I would have put my hands under him....something I would do now without hesitation.  Just to feel him.  So that he could feel me.  Those memories are so painful.  My eyes investigate every millimeter of those photos now.  Wishing I had more.  Trying to distinguish actual images in my mind from the precise moments captured with each camera shot.  Wondering if I really remember anything other than these photos nowadays.  Hurting.  Still. Hurting. So. Bad.  I miss him.  With every ounce of my body, I miss my little boy.  Owen sleeps on my chest while I tell him I love him.  And that I love and so painfully miss his big brother.  All in the same beat of my heart.