Saturday, October 5, 2013

Day 5: Memory

I am taking part in Carly Marie's Capture Your Grief photo challenge again and this day got me.  I remember doing this last year and how in an unexpected way, it really triggered some emotions and memories and helped me get through another part of the grieving process.  It was a lot more thought-provoking than I had anticipated and stirred up some emotions that I had not felt for a long time.  It was also hard to go through the pictures on her page and see so many moms and dads early on in their journey going through some raw and fresh pain.  It was a therapeutic experience in many ways for me and for this reason I decided to do it again this October.  You'd think that after four and a half years, things would either be buried deep enough or the grief would subside quite a bit but this is not true.  Losing a child is something we take to our graves and those emotions are always there and reachable, if we chose to make them.  And the therapeutic part about it is that when you reach those emotions again, your loss feels that much closer.  They are older now, but you feel them, the loss of them, and how much you love them all over again, and even though it's painful, it's fresh.

The photo for day 5 is your strongest memory of your child, whether it's good or bad, what you remember most of him.  I thought about this and all kinds of memories came back to me like a huge tidal wave.  Emotions flooded me and the pain felt raw again.  My mind went to places I don't let it go often.  Those memories hurt.  I remembered the moment the doctor lost the heartbeat and what I was feeling as commotion set in place and panic and fear sort of eluded me.  Patric was there by my side and I thought of what he must have been feeling to see me get wheeled into the operating room and the chaos that surounded that short but hurried trip from my laboring room.  I can't imagine what he felt as he watched from the hall window and heard me screaming and moaning as the first incisions took place.  This is a very vivid memory of mine but one I don't talk about or think about very often.  The doctor always told me that I would remember more of the surgery as time passed but that wasn't true.  All my memories of that night are the same ones I woke up with as soon as I came out of recovery.  I tried very hard to keep a level of conciousness and awareness throughout all of that so everything that I remember is burned into my brain with extreme clarity and detail.  I can't get it out of my brain.  But I can control when those thoughts come about.  And last night they all came back.

I remembered asking to see Chase and them bringing him into my room before they life flighted him to Albuquerque.  I will never ever forget the image of him--his eyes open and aware.  Then when the doctor came into my room in Abq and gave me the whole status update....I was in a state of shock.  I don't know how I operated.  And meeting Patric in the NICU the first time, seeing Chase at the same time together...And those hours and days that ensued....

These memories are all I have of my son.  Nothing is happy about them.  They are very dark and painful.  A whirlwind that we were in as our world as we knew it shattered. Right before our eyes.  Since those days, we have done several things to remember our Chase.  We visit his grave and we take balloons to the mountains and we write him letters and sometimes we even buy him things.  But most importantly, we talk about him all the time.  We talk to him and we love him.  We feel his spirit and his love and he knows we love him.  These memories we create are just as important as the ones we have with him.  We try to make them happy as best we can but there will always be a hint of sadness around, no matter how much time passes.  And last night I felt this sadness in full force.  In an emotional, therapeutic breakdown.  The kind of breakdown that gets it all out and you feel exhausted afterwards.  This is what keeps me going.  This is how I do it.  I do my best to honor my son and to mother him in any way that I know or feel is right.  Mostly I carry him with me, though.  As I will til the day I die.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

I Need You

As this school year started I noticed something.  Maybe I'm getting older or maybe time is moving faster, but I looked at my kids as they walked to their respective school buildings and they looked older.    And I noticed this like a slap in the face.  The last three weeks or so of summer vacation began revealing this in their behavior, too.  I have a special relationship with each of them and these relationships are slightly different from each other.  Some are more challenging and take a little more work.  Some I abuse a little because they are easy to maintain.  But I have seen each of them grow recently.

I'll start with the baby.  He's, well, the baby.  He, like his big brother was at this age, is very attached to me and I absolutely love it.  We go everywhere together.  We battle each other daily but that unconditional love is strong, fresh, new....  And 2 1/2 is such a great age.  I love our conversations, I love listening to him me, to his siblings, to himself.  He's such an amazing little person.  he has bits of each of his siblings in him, I can only imagine which parts are from Chase.  I love watching him grow up and spending most of his waking moments with him.  He melts my heart in many ways and not a day goes by that I am not thankful he is part of our family.  He takes his nap in our bedroom and I am sometimes at my desk when he wakes up and comes downstairs.  First, sometimes, I'll hear him wake up and talk, then I'll see the door handle turn and finally the door opens and out he slumbers, or sometimes pops, blanket in hand, paci in mouth.  Sometimes he wakes up cheery and sometimes he wakes up a little cranky, needing a little more time to perk up.  When he does this, he cries for me.  Usually I run up the stairs and meet him at the top and carry him down, whether he's happy or sad.  But sometimes he makes it down to the landing before I get to him and he says these words that I can't forget.  I hear them in my head often and I don't ever want to not hear them.  Because they are words that he won't say forever.  They won't always come so easy to say to me as he gets older.  (like ELEVEN) He says, "Mommy, I neeeeed you."  And it's with a whimper and a sad voice and gets an immediate response out of me no matter what I'm doing, because I can't let those words go unheard and unnoticed.  Ever.  I don't want to.  I can't.  The truth is, I need him, as much as he needs me.

Reese walks into his school all by himself because Karly is no longer going there.  He physically looks bigger.  He's getting tall.  But our relationship has grown, too.  There was a point in the summer that I was concerned he was "pulling away" from me a bit and I figured it was just part of him growing up, though I hated it.  But recently, and maybe because Patric's gone so much, he's gotten closer to me.  I am so thankful for this and try to take special time to talk with him about whatever he wants to talk about.  I'm so afraid of the day he stops that and let's just hope it's not in the near future.

Karly.  She's changed the most this year.  She is getting tall and really growing into a little lady right before our eyes.  She's really at a tough age in that she is in between being a little girl and being a teenager and one day she wants to be one and the next day (or minute) she wants to be the other.  We try to deal with this as best we can but some times it gets a little tense.  Many times I catch myself getting caught up in her frustrations too much instead of letting her work through them in her own space and then coming back to her after she's seen things in a different light.  She is so amazing and beautiful and smart and funny.  And she is one who already has a tough time saying those words I so love to hear from Owen.  She says them in a different way and I have to pick up on that better.  I'm trying, but I don't always see how and when she needs me.  I really want to get better at that and think I am.  I love being there for her.  I love this more than anything.  I love for her to see that she needed me and I was there for her.  I love her.

Emma.  A true gem in my life.  She is my rock.  She takes care of me in ways I don't even know sometimes.  Because sometimes I'm too busy taking care of her, or so I think, but in the end, she's the one who's doing it.  She is the strongest person I know.  She's got the toughest job because she's the oldest and gets all the tough jobs and expectations because of that.  But she's so impressive.  She has the will of a soldier and the skills to do whatever she wants.  She has made the biggest strides in our move.  She has all kinds of friends (though she doesn't admit it often) and she is one of the smartest kids in the class so her teachers all love her.  And this year being an 8th grader, she is top dog.  I love watching her at her school.  I can tell she is comfortable where she is.  I know her insecurities too and my biggest hope and dream for her is to instill in her confidence.  I wish I could wrap it up in a little box and watch her open it with a big smile and put it on like a robe....and never take it off.  But I can't.  And sometimes she is so hard on herself that she loses faith in herself and I am trying everything to not let this happen.  She is such a beautiful girl from the outside in and I know she'll see this one day.  She does now sometimes, but just forgets goal is to make her feel this all the time.  She is my light some days.  And always my friend.  We talk about things that I would talk about with girlfriends.  I'm so lucky to be her mom.

And as I see these kids for a brief moment walk into their school buildings, I think about what it is I need to do and can do to make this growing up process go better and maybe a little slower.   And I am brought back to the baby.  Just as he so easily tells me, "I Need you mama", I pick him up and love and squeeze him....something I realize I don't do as often with the older kids.  And I have changed this.  I have given them more physical contact with me.  Not as much as Owen gets, but I sneak in a kiss on the cheek or a shoulder to shoulder nudge or a big bear matter how big or small....but a touch and I hope I don't ever forget to do this.  Because time starts spinning out of control and when I stop and look back, I realize what I missed.   I working on it.  I'm working on doing and saying what I feel to them and trying to get the same thing back.  "I love you" and "I need  you" are words that need to be heard....and never forgotten.

Love you the the moon and back, to Chasey and back,

Sunday, July 21, 2013

a broken record

I feel like I post about this all the time....well, okay. So I don't post as much these days but my deep thoughts, when I have them ;-), are always about this...

I am so thankful for my life.  For my husband.  And each one of my kids.  And I am painfully grateful for my rainbow baby.  And all the things I get to do as a mommy to this baby...because I missed out on them with Chase.   I am constantly reminded of him.  At least 5 times a day, I say to Owen, "can I hold you?"  Each time I change his diaper, and especially as he gets older and nears the potty training stage, I am grateful for the chance to do this.  I love love love it when he grabs my hand as we stroll along, because he doesn't do it very often and....I never got to hold Chase's hand to cross the street.  Going to bed....I often think of teaching Owen to sleep with Reese.  But I love sleeping with him.  I am even grateful for those middle of the night throwing up episodes...I'm grateful that he was in bed with me so that I could make sure he didn't choke himself...and I'm grateful to even have this child here to nurse through an illness.  My diaper bag.  I could easily graduate to carrying just my purse at this point and use his little backpack for diapers and wipes and a few essentials.  But whenever I think about getting rid of the diaper bag for good, I remember the immense pain of empty arms.  Seeing someone in a restaurant and noticing a cute diaper bag and me not having one....because I didn't have my baby.  I love giving Owen his baths...something (along with diaper changing) I would have gladly assigned to the girls after having four children.  But no matter how tired, no matter what is on my plate, I stop and thankfully do his bath.  And I still take him everywhere with me.  When I just have a few things to get at the grocery store and want to make a quick run, he always wants to go with me and I don't hesitate to take him.  He loves to go to the grocery store!  

This rainbow is the most challenging baby we have raised without a doubt.  But not a second goes by that I am not grateful for him and feel so incredibly lucky to have him.  And I am not entirely convinced that it's been hard with him because of my fear of losing him since I lost Chase.  I'm not sure how I would have faired these first two-and-a-half years without this perspective.  I would not be smiling through the fatigue like I am I don't think!  But I have gotten definitely felt closer to Chase when I think it would have been very difficult to do so as the time passes and makes us feel farther and farther from him.  Owen has reminded us of him and helped us imagine him in and amongst us all.  

We miss our sweet boy.  I think of him every day from morning til night and pray every night to see him in my dreams, though I hardly ever do.  I know one day I'll hold him in my arms again and that will be amazing.  Until then....I love and miss you with every beat of my heart, little man.  

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Always learning

Getting  But it also is pretty cool.  And there's one thing I've decided I will never stop doing as I's learning things.  About life.  About people.  About relationships.  About expectations.  About purpose.

I used to have expectations.  I expected get up early if I was going to get my run in before the kids woke up.  I expected to do well in a race if I had trained hard.  I expected....  I expected to have a healthy baby after nine and a half months of a healthy pregnancy.  I expected to bring that baby home from the hospital a couple days after giving birth to him.

I'll stop right there because those expectations were not met and my life fell out from under me in what were the most painful, emotional and physical, moments of my life.  Shattering on the floor below like a piece of glass.   I learned perspective real quick.  Faster than I wanted to.  When I already felt very strongly that I had the right perspective on life.  But I no longer take things for granted like a healthy pregnancy or healthy baby or time to go for my run.  I learned that.

And then I realized I still have other expectations that I need to let go of.  I learn things on a daily basis about people and relationships that tell me I need to raise or lower my expectations.  As a parent, obviously, I'm shaping the lives of my kids and I'm very careful about relationship expectations and what they learn.  I sometimes have specific behaviors I want them to acquire from me but I know that they are who they are already and that is their own person.  They have a bit of me in them, a bit of their daddy and the rest is up to them.  I am humbled, some days, at this realization.  They are pretty amazing individuals.  And when I see my flaws in them, I try to correct them, in hopes that they become a better person than me.

But it is me that I come back to.  I've learned not to expect things from people that are just not going to give, perform or be what I think they should.  I am a firm believer in actions speaking louder than words and listening to that.   I will not assume that you will give, perform or be something that your actions don't tell me you are, just to help you out because that's what I think you want to or should do. I have to let go and listen to (observe) those actions.

I have also learned not to compare my relationships.   Because comparing leads to expecting  It doesn't work.   Sometimes I try to understand why my relationship with one sister doesn't mirror or even consist of the same things that the my relationship with another sister does and I come up disappointed because my expectations were not met.  And really, I should not have compared the two relationships in the first place.  But I'm learning to let go of those expectations....  and not compare the relationships.  Because they are different, just as the individuals are.

It's not easy...and I try to be true to myself while I am trying to set an example and teach my kids as well.  Always hoping that I'm doing it "right", or what I think is "right".  Living up to expectations I have of myself.  Not always escaping the throws of hypocrisy, but trying to learn from my mistakes and learn from them, too.  I think as a parent, you strive for your kids to be better than you lieu of the mistakes we make along the way.  Sometimes admitting those mistakes and showing them my fears helps us grow together and makes our relationships stronger.

And I don't plan to ever stop learning.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Just a few things to do...

It's been busy 'round here.  And as I was telling someone recently, I don't expect or hope for it to slow down because I know it won't.  It'll only get faster.  I just hope to enjoy it as best I can.  And we've been doing just that.  Swim, track, baseball, 4th of July, cousins, Color Run, travel just to name a few, have given us lots of memories to cherish.   

We also, however, have lots of uncertainty right now.  It's hard on everyone....trying to keep track of where we are tomorrow.  It doesn't really allow for planners in this family and that's hard.  We ask....for faith.  We hope that they have faith in us as their parents that we make the best decisions for our family, even when they don't understand them.  And to have faith in us to keep everyone's best interests at heart....and to trust in us, to follow through and then adapt to any changes that come our way.  I know this is very hard on them.  

But I hope they are learning that no matter what comes their way, they can handle it and deal with it.  And that when a sudden or unplanned change is in front of them, to adapt and find a new route as quickly and as painlessly as they can.  Because I worry that when they are 25, they'll look back on these years and think their parents were crazy, unorganized, flighty people that always acted haphazardly.  And that is everything we are NOT doing....but will they ever understand that?  I hope so.  

I do know that we have never stopped loving them, or showing them so much love, throughout it all.  And maybe they'll remember that part most of all.  

Just maybe.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Worst day of my life

Four years ago today was the worst day of my life.  And I hope and pray it will be the worst day of my life and that I never have another day that even rivals this day.  This day four years ago I held my baby in my arms as was dying.  I have looked back on those moments so many times and wished so badly they had been different.  I remember holding his body but feeling him already gone.  And so I held his body.  And that was it.  And the days and weeks that came later that haunted me.  That I didn't hug and squeeze and treat him like the newborn he was.  He was lifeless in my arms.  Stiff.  Not responding.  But I still wished so badly that I had held him with so much more of a motherly disposition.  The truth was, I was in shock.  I really didn't even know what my body was doing anyway.  I was so worried about my other kids and how they were taking this and making sure that this was the best possible memory that could be burned into their brains because really there was no winning here.  Our hearts were all breaking right before us.  I felt like mine was just burst right open and I had blood everywhere all over me.  Because I barely moved as I held him.  And that I regret.  I have replayed it so many times in my head what I would have done if I had a second chance to hold him.  And I have even convinced myself that I could have breathed life into him. I could have coaxed him into staying here with us because we all know the best place for him is right here in our arms.  No where else.  I would have caressed him and whispered to him and sang to him and rocked him and nuzzled him into my neck ..... all those things I do to my babies.  But I never did to Chase.  And I will take that to my grave.  Some days it's a heavy, heavy load on my shoulders.  And then I feel him.  He's telling me it's okay.  And all of a sudden I'm okay.  But those moments that I think back to this day four years ago, and I don't let myself go there very often, but those moments, my heart breaks all over again.  I miss you little man.  I miss you so so much.  I wish nothing more than to hold you again.  To feel you in my arms.  I love you Chase Allen Pearson.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Four Years Old

My little boy is four years old tomorrow.  It is so hard to wrap my mind around this...that it was four years ago tonight that I was so anxious to meet our newest gift from Heaven.  And yet it was so hard to believe that this tragedy even happened to us back then.  Now, it is all we have....if we don't hold onto this event, there is nothing to hold onto.  I remember after losing Chase (and I think I have said this in more than one post), one thing that hurt the most was never being congratulated when he was born.   It's those automatic phrases or words that come out of one's mouth for certain occasions and because Chase was so critical after delivery and then died just four days later, no one could say those words to me.  It wasn't that I was angry at people for it--who would say congratulations to a woman who never got to bring her baby home from the hospital?  It was the mountain of "should-have-beens" that I was heading for that this was kicking off.  Such simple words.  Yet unspoken because they were not appropriate.  And there were times that I was walking around shortly after Chase's birth, mothering a child in Heaven now, that I would have loved to have heard those words.  They would have sent me right into an ocean of tears, but I still would have loved to have heard them.  I was still his mama.  I still proud for having given birth to such a cute, healthy-looking baby, minus all the tubes.  But congratulations are hardly in the mind at a time like that.  And to even say that I was feeling like that is a little embarrassing.  

I miss him.  We all do.  We miss him as much today as we did the day he left us.   I wish so badly I could get a glimpse of what he looks like in my mind.  But I still think of him running around, playing with his siblings, sitting on my lap, just being part of this family.  And how we would be having a birthday party for him, probably SpiderMan or Dinosaur Train, cake and blowing out candles.  Reese.  Reese was this age exactly when Chase died.  And that's when it hits me.  Time seems so measurable when I put an image of Reese in my head from those days surrounding Chase's birthday and gone to heaven day.  Sitting next to me on the pew listening so intently to what the preacher was saying about his baby brother.  Reese grew up a lot that day and and that's how I see Chase.  Quiet and ahead of his years.  Like he knows more than we do.  I'm sure he does.

We have talked about our day tomorrow and how we plan to celebrate his birthday.  I'll post pictures tomorrow, or at some point.  But it is with such a heavy heart that I look forward to this day and these days ahead.  Even after four years, I force the smiles, as we all do.  Only Owen will be able to be truly happy.  And from this we will all be able to smile.  A gift from Chase, I'm sure of it.  So we hold hands and we hold each other in our hearts and this is how we make it through time....until we are all together again.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The little things

I find myself gearing up.  It's that month...that wonderful, hideous, delightful, yet so painful month.  The month that we have wonderful things to celebrate (Reese's birthday...Chase's birthday) and that month that we have our heart broken all over again (Chase's death).  And so I ways I don't even realize.

I remember the feeling of walking into a public bathroom and seeing a diaper changing station.....and not getting to use it.  It was things like this that made me so different from anyone else and feel so alone.  I had all kinds of feelings like this going on inside.  And as April comes up again, I find myself having these feelings again.  Like changing Owen's diaper on one of these tables and being so incredibly grateful that I could do this.  That my baby was here this time.  He is really here.  I still pinch myself and he's 2 years old.  I had a lot of paperwork to do a few weeks ago and a job that would have taken anyone else two days to do, took me about 6 because I only got about an hour and a half of it done at once before Owen woke up from his nap or needed my attention.  And I was thankful.  Whenever I got frustrated for being interrupted during my tedious, time-sensitive job, I was quickly reminded of Chase and that I would have done anything to have the distractions of my baby keeping me from getting things done.  I don't know why, really.  But my mind kept going there.

Like the high chairs in restaurants....they used to be such a painful sight.  Now, they are a reminder because as I situate Owen in his, I am thankful, and at the same time, mindful of those days I would have been using one for Chase, but didn't.

Like the pitter-patter of feet running through the house.  One of my most favorite sounds on this earth.  And I wonder what Chase would look like.  I find myself going through pictures and seeing Reese when Chase was born.  The same age that Chase would be today.....that is so hard to wrap my mind around, but I try so hard.  I see Chase in those pictures; I try to picture Reese a little different, maybe a mix between Owen and Reese and that's what I want to think of Chase looking like.  But I can't.  I see a little boy in the same little clothes with the same color hair, but I can't see any facial features on the little boy.  I try to...but it's a detail my brain won't let me create for some reason.  At bedtime, I lay in bed with my boys and hug my blanket and miss him so much.  I close my eyes and touch Owen's face and try again to picture Chase.  It feels nice......his skin feels so soft and so incredibly real....but I still can't see any details.   Tears.  Sadness.  Memories.  That's all I get.  Such a strong yearning to see and feel my little boy.  Reese says he's here in bed with us.  I hope so.  I truly do.

I remember being home after Chase died and whenever I got food out of the freezer, I'd see those April dates.  Seeing those dates stamped on something real was like screaming at me.  And I still feel that way four years later.  When I see milk in the fridge with a "best buy" date of April 14th, 15th, 16th, or 17th, I think of those days in the NICU.  Or April 13th, or April 25th, or 26th.  They are all triggers for me.  So, you see, it's the whole month that I can't get away from.  And then we celebrate Reese on the 19th and try to be happy on the 14th for Chase.  It's such a roller coaster, April.  But we ride it together.  And that's the only way I get through it.   And so I brace myself, for this ride.

Monday, January 28, 2013

January: Off and running

Oh my.  I started this post two weeks ago.  And it's the end of January now.  It's going fast.  Everything.  The days, the weeks, the months, the years.  Time.  That linear enemy that measures our existence.  More gray hairs, less hair, more wrinkles, bigger pores. Ahhhh, to know it is to love it.  Right?  Well not that stuff.  But I love this life.  I love all that it has to offer.  Owen turns 2 in two weeks.  I love these days.  I can't get enough of him.  I think I've said that since the day we brought him home, haven't I?  He is learning manners and he has such a comedic personality.  Of course....he loves entertaining his siblings.   He says "peeze" (please) and "tink-u" (thank you) and "wecome" (your welcome and "bess-u" (bless you).  Oh and he also says "shup" (shut-up), "cwap" (crap) and "sucka".  He has brought us so many laughs and giggles and smiles and so much love.  The old never know how much love your heart can hold...?  And since I'm with him all the time (All.The.Time), he really is my little buddy.  It reminds me of Reese....I had forgotten how much time he and I had spent together and that I felt exactly this way.  I stop and look at Reese.  And I feel sad because I'll be reminded of this and realize that I spend so much time with Owen that I have missed out on Reese these last two years.  I feel him growing up, yet trying to stay my little boy all at once.  And sometimes I feel like I make him grow up because I have Owen occupying my time and needing my attention....leaving Reese left to figure it out on his own.  On my emotional days this really bothers me.  But when I think more rationally, I realize this is all part of the kids growing up.  And fact is, I don't want them to.

I have so much love in my heart.  And this makes me happy.  I can feel it bursting at the seams. And this life would be perfect.  If.... Only if...  But it's what we have and for what it is, it is perfect.

I took Owen to library this morning and it was so much fun watching him  sing and clap, all the while nestled snuggly into my lap.  There was a little girl that talked just like him, she was just his age and such an outgoing little girl and quite vocal.  The grandma told me she had an older brother that helped make their household a very busy one.  An older brother that was 3 1/2.  He wasn't with her but I so badly wished he was.  I wanted to see the age difference and the interaction for my own eyes.  I had imagined it so many times with Owen but to think of the two siblings and compare them to Owen and Chase brought tears to my eyes.  I was so happy to be there with Owen.  And I was just as equally sad to be there without Chase.  So my imagination was all I had, once again, to fill in the gaps.

It goes without saying that Chase is on my thoughts constantly.  I miss him dearly.  When I go to bed at night, I see a star.  It's a bit blurry without my glasses but I see it very vividly and I see it every night.  And I think of Chase.  It has something to do with him, even though I'm not sure exactly what it is.  But the fact that I see it so "clearly" and it shines so brightly tells me he's out there.  Some days I struggle to feel him.  I struggle to feel even remotely close to him.  But then other days he is very near.  It doesn't mean my life isn't perfect.  It's missing someone in a very huge way.  But what is in my life makes me happy and fills my broken heart, busting at the seams.  It's just how I live.  <3 p="">