Ever had one of those days that just makes you realize that you're worn out? Just flat out beat? Yea, I've had one of those. You'd think that after nearly 3 years without my son, I would have learned to cope better but I think that I've just been fooling myself. Sigh. This sucks. It just seems like everyday, there's some new obstacle or problem. It's been non stop for three years and it's all seriously starting to chip at me. Will we get through it? Absolutely, but I think I may have underestimated the amount of energy I would need to expend just to get up in the mornings. Sometimes, life just doesn't stop tripping you up or kicking you while you're down.
You know, it's funny. I used to HATE the snow. So very much. Now granted, I don't love the mess it makes but boy have I learned to love the snow. While we were playing in the snow today, we wrote Connor's name. I can't help but think of him when it snows. I read something one day that I really loved. "Snowflakes are kisses from our babies". I really like that idea. If that's the case, I was smothered in kisses today... all 3 of us were. Considering I never got kisses from my sweet boy, this is the next best thing. As I was watching our 4 year old play in the snow with red cheeks and snowflakes in her eyelashes, I couldn't help but think about how much fun Connor would have had in the snow with his sister. I would have had to keep him afloat in the snow with as much as we got! It might have swallowed him whole! The snow was beautiful and it was so calm. I love to just watch it fall. I still think of all the "firsts" that we never got to experience. This would have been the first real snowfall that he would have been able to play in. Instead of one tiny set of footprints, I should have been watching two. But, I could feel him there with us today. It just still shocks me sometimes that there are still those moments that creep up on me and I think "what if". And one "what if" spirals into a whole series of them! Things I've thought a billion times... Connor James, mommmy misses you so very much and I know at least some of those snowflakes were kisses. I LOVED every one of them. I love you sweet boy.
Well, we made it through another holiday. The picture I've included in my post today is something that really helped me this year. The day before Christmas Eve, I received this beautiful ornament in the mail. When you hold it up to the light, there he is. My sweet boy. It is incredible and so beautiful. It made me feel like someone remembered. When you're a mommy of a child who is not alive, people tend to not bring them up. They may think that it will just make you sad or maybe it's weird for them. There are tons of reasons but the point is that we get screwed. We don't get to talk about our children without people getting weird or uncomfortable. People forget (or just don't acknowledge) that it's still hard for us and we still need people to listen to us talk about how we're doing. While everyone else has "moved on" and forgotten, we are still struggling to keep our mask up. We are trying to immerse ourselves in the holiday festivities even when we're screaming inside that this isn't fair. Then, as if that is not enough, we have to listen to everyone ask about the other children in the family. How are they doing? What are they learning? Are they walking, talking, crawling? Sometimes as a parent of a child who died, it makes me feel like MY son isn't as important. That he didn't matter. No, the stories will never change and he will never grow up but it doesn't make me want to stop talking about him. If we don't keep our children's memories alive, who will? It most certainly not be any of you, who will not even speak his name. Now, I want to make it clear that we understand that speaking about our children is hard for you to do. Some of you loved him too. But, for just one minute, imagine how hard it must be for us to live with our child's passing EVERY SINGLE DAY. Some of us even still have doubts that we made the right choices or that we were good enough. We see moments on repeat in our heads that no one else was there to witness. We still feel like our hearts our being ripped out every time our minds go back to that moment. A lot of us still remember what it felt like to beg God to let us trade places with our children and praying non stop. We remember what it felt like to realize that we had NO CONTROL over this. We had no CHOICE. So please, next time you think about how hard it is for you, think about how hard it is for us. Next time you're afraid to bring up our child because you might upset us, remember that it upsets us more if you do not mention them. When you think that bringing our child up will just dredge up painful memories, remember that a lot of times those memories run non-stop through our heads already and we never buried them for you to dredge back up. It does not matter how long it has been... days, weeks, months, YEARS.... we are still not "over it". I don't expect will ever will be. We want our children to be remembered. We want to hear you say their names. We love them and we want to know that other people do too. Please, do not think you are sparing us the pain because we feel it constantly.
"I thought of you with love today, but that is nothing new. I thought about you yesterday, and days before that too. I think of you in silence, I often speak your name. All I have are memories and your picture in a frame. Your memory is my keepsake, with which I’ll never part. God has you in his keeping, I have you in my heart! Forever and Always."
Well, this year feels a little different for me. I'm still finding myself struggling sometimes but I've actually felt some Christmas spirit that I haven't felt since Connor died. It's different but in a good way. It feels good to let go of it all and just revel in how blessed we really are. I'm using my energy this year to focus on some light Christmas shopping, baking and giving our daughter my undivided attention when she's with us. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in my own grief and worries that I forget she still needs us so much. I forget sometimes that she's sad that her brother isn't here too and she's still a baby (but don't you dare tell her I said that. She's 4 years old now and is considering herself a "big girl" nowadays). Sometimes I find myself feeling guilty if I don't feel like reading her "one more story" before bed time or rubbing her back for just a few more minutes. When I have those moments, I make sure I take extra time the next day to do something special with her. I'm doing my best and I guess that's all I can really do. I love her like my own and I hope she always knows how much I care. I found myself stumbling over my own words a few weeks ago when she and I were cuddling before bed time. She looked at me and stared for a minute and then said something she's said before and I never know quite how to answer. "Kimmi, I miss Connor and I really wish I could see him." All I could say is "Me too baby. But Connor's in Heaven and he's not sick anymore." How do you explain something so tragic to someone so innocent, so young? So now our bedtime routine includes singing a song that I used to sing to her when she was little and inconsolable and that I sang to Connor as I laid on the couch and felt him kick. We sing "Heaven" by Warrant. Sure, it's not a normal lullaby but it's what my daddy used to sing to me when I was little and it's always had a special place in my heart. When both of us really miss him, we look at his pictures and hold his teddy bears. I do not hide his things from her (as some people suggested I should). I think she should know about her brother and she should be able to love him, even though he's in Heaven. No, she does not understand completely but I will not shield her from his death completely. It isn't fair. We have been through so much and I still hurt but it is not as heavy as before. I will be celebrating his life this Christmas and trying to remember that he is celebrating with Jesus. This was a hodgepodge of information for this post but I think it's all relevant. Things may not be how you planned but you kind of have to make the best of it. So, tonight I will be finding all of our stockings and getting some
Wow. I can't believe that we're just a week away from Thanksgiving (I figured it's late enough at night to just not count the rest of today). This blog has been a place for me to go on the really hard days. Sometimes I get so caught up in the shuffle of every day life that I forget I have this. I have so many things to be thankful for and I am so very thankful but I still miss my baby. These days are hard just because I feel like we're missing something. I guess that's because we are. It's still hard for me to think about the crazy-excited little boy we should have right now. We should be watching him bounce off the walls at family functions when Grandma and Paw-paw give him too much candy. He should be following his big sister around. We should be running around like crazy while trying to keep him from going down the stairs alone or breaking something (on accident of course). I am so very thankful for the time I got with my son. The 27 weeks I carried him. The 14 hours he fought hard. The few minutes I had with him after he was gone. Dear Lord, I AM thankful. But that doesn't make me miss him any less. It doesn't keep me from saying "this isn't fair" sometimes. I think I've learned that while you adapt and you learn to live again, you still miss them. You still expect to see them. You still wish they were here. And sometimes, while you're smiling on the outside, you are still falling apart on the inside. No matter what happens, I am thankful for the time I had with my baby. I am thankful his name is still spoken and that his sister knows who he is. I am thankful for our beautiful baby girl (she may not have my DNA but she is still my baby). I am thankful for the man I married. He is always there when I need him and although he's not the most emotional person in the world, he tries, for me. I am thankful for all of my family and friends. I am thankful that Connor helped me find who I am supposed to be. I stumble sometimes, but I'm improving. I hope that all of you have peaceful holidays. Do what is right for you, even if that means sitting in your jammies and refusing to leave the couch. Do not rush yourself and do not feel OBLIGATED to do anything you don't feel like. I love each and every one of you. It's okay to feel sad, even when you're thankful.
Here we go. It's that time of year again. All of the Thanksgiving and Christmas items are crammed in every shelf at the grocery store. Pictures of perfect four person families are everywhere you turn. The music is cheery and there are people... everywhere. So many people. Before, these were all the things I loved about this time of year. The smells, the atmosphere, getting to pick out Christmas ornaments for the year... now, they're all the things that exhaust me. Seriously, holidays have become tedious. It's work to get out of bed and smile at everyone. I thought it would get better... I thought surely our first (fill in random holiday here) would be the hardest. It would be the most difficult and the most heart wrenching. Honestly, I think I was still in shock for most of it. I hardly remember much from the entire year after Connor was born. Maybe it was longer... I'm not sure. I remember bits and pieces... or things that really shook me. For instance, that super bowl commercial about the wonders of being a mother. I honestly couldn't even tell you what the commercial was for because about 10 seconds into it I was tearing up and had to walk out of the room. I had just recently lost my son and people expected me to watch this heart wrenching bull crap? It was too much for me to handle. I think all of the firsts are hard, yes, but your body is still in a state of self preservation. The next set of holidays that roll around are just as bad because you are no longer in shock. Your body still has it's moments of self preservation but for the most part it's so raw the second time around. It's like experiencing the firsts all over again but this time there's no Band-Aid. I have this love-hate relationship with holidays now. I do love it all but at the same time it's exhausting to deal with everything. It's the time of year where everywhere you look, you're reminded of your loss.
I used to love dreaming. It let me escape my worries and get refreshed for the next day. After I lost my son, I was afraid to fall asleep for a while. I used to have terrible nightmares and they would shake me to the core. As time went on, they became less and less frequent. That is until recently. In the recent months, I have had some good dreams about Connor and some not so great. The other night I had the most wonderful dream.. that is, until I awoke and reality crushed me. My sweet two and a half year old had just gotten out of the tub... he held on to my neck as I carried him in his room to get jammies on. I tucked him in and spent a few minutes loving on him and talking to him. He only spoke back to me once in this time. I was telling him that I loved him so much and that mommy and daddy thought he was the most special little boy in the whole world. He looked right up at me and his answer was "I know." That was it. I then proceeded to finish tucking him in and went to bed myself. When I woke up, I panicked because I wondered why Connor wasn't up yet. I jumped out of bed thinking we would be late to school. I walked all the way into the hallway and looked into our daughter's room before it hit me. It was all a dream. Wow... talk about being half asleep. At this point, I was no longer motivated to start my day yet, so I climbed back into bed. My dreams of Connor are wonderful and they aren't the things I hate. I hate having to wake back up. It's even more of a reality check than normal. Every time this happens I walk into the kitchen and retrieve Connor's urn off his shelf. It's the only thing I can really do to feel close to him. Sometimes I just hold it and talk to him for a little while. Might seem crazy to some people but it gets me through my day. Point is that even after two and a half years, I still find myself imagining what it would be like to have a rambunctious, full of life two year old boy. I find myself longing more for normalcy than ever. This is not where I thought I would be in two years. Not at all. I'm thrilled with the other aspects of my life. I have a wonderful, supportive husband and a perfect little girl but no matter what, there will always be someone missing. There will always be that void. I like to believe that I am a strong, independent, intelligent woman but these moments always make me question those things. Then, I remember I am not alone. I know so many strong, intelligent, beautiful women who grieve their babies like I do. To all of those mothers: do not forget that grieving your child does not make you weak and you are not losing your sanity (even though it feels that way sometimes) and you are NEVER alone. I love all of you and pray that you find peace in the moments you can and happiness without feeling guilty. Have a wonderful weekend.
Well, sometimes it doesn't feel like it, but it does get better as time goes on. Sometimes you feel like life is marching right along without you. You're not alone. But one day, you realize that life wasn't leaving you behind. You just took a detour. Everyone's detour takes a different amount of time, energy, fake smiles and tears (or lack thereof). Slowly, it all comes together again and you feel less left out and alienated by life. You find joy that you weren't sure existed anymore. Now, you are always going to miss your baby but just like your other relationships, the relationship with your child and their memory evolves and becomes a little less raw. For me there were panic attacks and I would feel like I couldn't breathe. There are lots less of those now... I mean yes, I still have an occasional panic attack or breakdown but it no longer feels like my entire life is run by them. I would not call the grief journey a beautiful journey in any sense of the word but there are beautiful things that accompany that grief. When you feel like it's darker than it's ever been, look around. There is something beautiful to find there... acceptance, a new lesson, something that you'd never taken the time to really look at... sometimes the beautiful things will catch you completely off guard and shock you. But, they're there. Just remember that this journey is one that is lonely at times, scary and painful but take time for yourself and to sort out some of what you're feeling or you will never be able to move past each hurdle. Don't forget that it's okay to ask for help and it's okay to cry and scream and be "dramatic" (as I've been told before). Sometimes you just have to get away from everyone and go somewhere that means something to you or just lock yourself in your bedroom and let it all out. This is healthy (contrary to popular belief) and you do not always have to be so strong! <3 Have a safe and peaceful holiday weekend everyone
This summer has been so busy! We've had a wedding, work, tons of time with our munchkin and plenty of things to do. I've been a slacker when it comes to writing but now that things have slowed down some, I need to write again. We are nearing an anniversary date that I always dread... Thursday (August 15th) was Connor's due date. Two years ago, we should have been welcoming our baby boy into the world. Unfortunately, he and God had different plans and he was born 3 months early. I know some people think it's silly, but these dates are still hard for me. No, he wasn't actually born that day but to me, that day was the one aspect of a normal pregnancy that I had to hold on to. It was the one last thing I had to hope for Connor to make it to. I prayed he would make it to 40 weeks (at least 30) so that his lungs were more developed and he was more ready to make his debut. Looking back, I know it wouldn't have mattered if he was born later... his lungs never would have been functional. Stupid CMV. I still find myself wanting to scream at all the doctors who never even worried about my sick spell so early in the pregnancy.
Back on topic... what really brought me to write tonight was something I experienced a few nights ago. I was in the bath thinking about all the random things you think of: dinner, work, things you need to do when you get out, etc. Suddenly, out of nowhere, I was completely over taken by a memory. A memory that I had no idea had resided in my mind this long. Before I go on, I have to explain how upset I was a few months ago because I couldn't remember a lot from the first and last time I held my son. Everyone kept telling me that my body was just preserving itself but I just felt like a horrible mother. I honestly couldn't make a memory of my son's face come up that wasn't from a picture I have of him. I was devastated about it. Anyway, this memory... it broke me. I was suddenly sucked into those moments when the only people in the room was my husband, myself and my tiny son in my arms. I was looking down at his face and I could see everything... things that I didn't know I had stored in my memory somewhere. I could see every wrinkle, his spots and bruises, his tiny fingernails.... everything. And I remember thinking "Look how perfect he is." I felt nothing but love for my son in that moment... and then I remembered that my son was gone and it was such a mix of pure love/happiness with the bitter sorrow of losing my son. And that's when the memory stopped and all I could do was burst into tears. It was such a mix of emotions. I was happy I could remember that but the pain was still so fresh. Memories are a funny thing.... they come right when you need them sometimes, right when you don't others and sometimes literally knock
Happy Birthday Connor James! At 3:08 pm today, you would be turning 2. What an exciting age 2 is... we're all missing out on so much. I can't believe that it's been two years since I was in the OR waiting for you to arrive... it doesn't seem so long ago. Oh baby, mommy and daddy miss you so much. Your sissy is starting to understand that you aren't here. We've always talked about you but while we were making cupcakes for your birthday, she asks me "Who has Connor?". At first I just answer that no one has Connor. The question caught me off guard and I didn't know what to say. Then she asks me "Well, where is Connor then? Why isn't he with you?" and I answered that you are in Heaven with the angels. She seemed to be content with that answer for now. Two years... your mommy has changed so much since you were born. Things are so much different. I still struggle sometimes. I still find myself asking why. I still blame myself sometimes. I'm not sure if these things ever go away. I so hope that the angels are giving you lots of love on your birthday since mommy can't quite reach there. I love you baby boy.Happy Birthday.