Happy Birthday

A year has gone by. Not quickly. Not slowly. It has gone by like a year does, a day at a time. I have gone through days completely angry, and others happy. Each day has brought its own challenges. I still can’t believe a year has passed. But the sight’s and smells of spring bring back memories pulsing through me like everything was yesterday.

I don’t have anything profound to say. Every single day I miss JT. I don’t know how to fill that hole I have. Right now, it is a relief to be away from the familiar at school. But, I still felt anxious as his birthday approached, because then it would mean a whole year distanced me from memories of my son, and the time will only continue to grow.

Hope is being cheerful in circumstances which we know to be desperate. -G.K. Chesterton

I know what desperate is. Desperate keeps you up at night, desperate leaves you wanting to scream. Somedays this year it was easier to find hope, hope in a new tomorrow; while other days left me wondering what hope was. Some day’s anger or grief would totally envelope me, that made it hard to see past my own life.

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. -Mark Twain

This quote one forgiveness is finally one that really resonates with me. Finally, one that makes sense. Because when something is broken it is never the same, but out of it can come new things. Things that are, in their own way, beautiful, like the fragrance of a violet.

I still have trouble forgiving myself. Sometimes until that happens I don’t think I can focus on the hurt others have caused me, 365 days hasn’t afforded me time to figure out everything. But as I figure things out, there is one that will always answer me, God. That promise keeps me praying, which keeps me hoping.

Matthew 28:20 And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Prayer is exhaling the spirit of man and inhaling the Spirit of God. -Edwin Keith

My Dear Little JT,

You would be a year old. I often imagine you toddling around. I try to think of what you’d look like now. If I see a little boy, I wonder if you would be around his size or bigger because your hands and feet were so long.

I miss you everyday; really there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of you. I can’t even begin to express how much I miss you, and could write pages about it.

But for now I will leave it at happy birthday here on earth. What a beautiful thing it was to watch you come into my life. Your big, little life changed mine for forever, and you have not only touched mine but others as well. You are missed here on earth, but I know you are in a perfect place free of pain, and I will see you again. I love you my little angel.

XO, mommy


The Long Awaited Process

I cast my sons feet. For Christmas I gave a pair to his daddy. I love the footprints that the nurses gave me, but I wanted to feel his feet like they would’ve been, not just the inside. So I created bronze cast feet.

To read about the process click on any of the pictures added.

Broken Praise

Glory Baby

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Driving home with out you in my arms was the worse feeling ever experienced. Having to leave you seemed wrong, even when I knew you weren’t really in that hospital anymore. You were already learning to fly and helping God scatter the stars. I remember on the drive home thinking how truly bright the stars were. There wasn’t a cloud to be seen and each pin prick of light seemed to be glowing brighter than ever before. I couldn’t quit looking at them when I got home, my arms wrapped around my empty chest save your blanket and toy. I had told you about Van Gogh’s starry night, how he wanted to capture the celestial bodies rolling across the sky, and now you’ve seen it first hand. You will see more than I could’ve ever shown you, and I can and should be glad about that, but I still miss your hiccups.

Dear John

My Dear JT,

You would be around six months old now. You would’ve met your little cousin. You would’ve been tucked in in the quilt great grandma nene made for you. I would have fed you. You would have already made several trips to the barn to feel Dakotas soft nose.

I love you, and I still find myself day dreaming about what we would’ve done. What you would have looked like, who you would have acted more like. For ever you will be a little angel, so small in my memories.

Remember on Easter when we heard the song Because He Lives? Well I know because He lives you are in a better place. And tomorrow has come for me. I try to face it the best I can JT, but sometimes my heart just aches for you.

You made me stronger in so many ways though baby. I thank you for that. I wouldn’t trade you for the whole wide world. But I would give anything to feel you again. I miss you my little mango.

Love, mommy

Grieving Process Cont.

I get a lot of pressure about grieving it seems. I’m not sure people even mean to do this, but sometimes Its excruciatingly difficult to do something because of other people. This happens all over in life, your afraid to wear those bright colored shoes because you’re not sure how people will react or maybe someone raised an eyebrow once. Well imagine that feeling with the grieving process.

I just would like to break down somethings and say I think in grieving it’s ok to be totally selfish. One way I sort through my emotions is through art, and even at that I only do it when I feel really compelled to. Not with every art work that I produce. But for the most part, my art is for me so to work out some emotions through it is natural. Especially the pieces where I’m dealing with grief. It’s totally for me, and I don’t care if people “don’t get it”. That may sound selfish, but how would I be benefiting if I did it to satisfy someone else? In fact a professor suggested that I do a project focussing on a certain aspect relating to my son, but I didn’t feel it would be honoring his great big little life he lived. So I am choosing not to do it or to go there yet, (art focussing on him).

There are times when I think what I do should be in honor of JT, but I don’t feel the need to broadcast all of those moments. In fact many little moments
like that have been done in private. I just don’t feel comfortable yet making a big banner broadcasting every time I do something I’m honor of him. There may come a time and place, but till then, its just between me and him.

I guess it seems like I just wrote some sort of artist statement, or more or less a grieving statement. Not that people were even questioning my process out loud and to my face, but I hope by putting this out there that perhaps it helps some others with their grieving process.

Another Prayer Request

Please pray for another precious little one, her name is Amaya Glorianna. As someone else put it, what a long way she has come from an “incompatible with life” situation. But she still needs uplifted with prayers for strength and for her sodium level which is low and her creatinines level which is high. Pray for mommy too, as the hospital is far away.

And another wee one, Conner, also in the hospital. He needs some help breathing on his own, and is also away from mommy in the hospital. Pray for strength for both him and mommy.

Prayer Request

Today in Sunday School there was a prayer request for a little baby boy who came into this world eleven weeks early. Jace. His tiny little heart has problems, as does some of his other organs. He’s at a children’s hospital, but my heart just aches for this little one and his family. So please pray for strength all around them and for his little two pound body to grow stronger.

Brady’s Smile

Recently I attended Color the Night 4, a fundraising event for Brady’s Smile. It is a beautiful organization that serves (right now) 14 hospitals in seven states. It is a children’s-based charitable organization created by Annie and Matt Hinton in memory, love and honor of their son Brady, who passed away on his 2nd birthday. Its focus is helping to make life easier in the newborn and pediatric intensive care units (ICU) for patients and their families.

One of the ways they are helping are through Christian Carts, these carts are for mothers who have still borns or know their baby isn’t meant to stay here on earth long. I think these are a wonderful thing. Now, may I be so bold as to make a suggestion for an item on this cart?

Smell is your greatest memory. I heard this once and completely agree. There will be times I smell something and think mmm smells like my aunts house at christmas, and then memories come back. I wish so badly i could smell JT’s little baby scent. It is wearing off of everything, and it makes me sad. I so desperately hold something he wore and breath waiting for a hint of how he smelled. Because when I would smell his smell, I was carried back to feeling his weight on me, his squeaky little cries, and the feeling of his soft skin so vividly.

On a site I am a part of with other grieving mothers or dad’s going through this, one post caught my eye. A woman’s sister made her a perfume, they sprayed things with the perfume while her little one was here and used it in the hospital room. Now she has that scent bottled and she can smell it anytime she wants, and it’s not going to fade, but it does the same thing JT’s scent did for me. Carried her back. I so wish I knew of this, and had had some sort of scent that I could smell now.

So my suggestion is for these carts, what if there was something scented, whether its a spray or candle that can draw a mothers memory back to her little one. Something they can access even after they are out of the hospital, maybe even five years down the road. It’s just an idea, but I wanted to share my thoughts on that.

JT’s Voice

 Psalm 119:49 Remember your word to your servant,
for you have given me hope.
50 My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life.

I feel compelled to write this, even after a long silence on this blog. It is something that has just been on my mind recently, especially having gone back to college. It is so weird how people treat you after such a huge loss.

There are those who just don’t say anything, and live like I am the same person. Then there are those who just look at you, searching. Maybe searching for the right words, or maybe searching my face looking for some trace of what happened. I feel like maybe somewhere, and maybe here is appropriate, I need to put out there that it is okay to ask about JT. It is okay to acknowledge it happened.

I began this paragraph with “one of the biggest reliefs…” but, there wasn’t just one relief. One of a few big reliefs came one day in church. I had been very much struggling that week, and a lady came up and gave me a hug. She told me about an older lady she ran into in the grocery store who was looking at the top shelf. She asked the older woman if she needed help, she said no, but asked for a hug. She had lost her husband, and explained she tried to get in at least five hugs a day. After telling me this, she hugged me. It was just a flood of relief that came over me. Of course I cried, but it was just so kind.

Again, on coming back to school, I found another flood of relief in a friend who I had shared the news, good and bad, about JT with. She asked about him. She cared. I showed her pictures. Meanwhile another fried asked me the first day I saw her, “How are you doing?” I said that i was doing good, and she said it again, “No, I mean it, how are YOU doing?”

I’m not saying everyone else who didn’t say something isn’t a good friend, or has offended me. Not at all. But I do understand I am different now. I am reading I Will Carry You finally by Angie Smith, as I am nearing the end of the book, I have found sections I just want to hand to people to read.

“I know everyone deals with grief differently, but one of the things that meant the world to me was that people acknowledged we had lost her. It is really awkward to be walking around and see someone who knows what happened but doesn’t say anything. I always knew people were doing this to protect me, and their motives were pure, but it was so much easier when they would ask about it. When it didn’t come up, I felt like she wasn’t real” (Smith 164).

THAT’S what I want people to understand. Now, in saying that, I don’t mean every time you see me ask about him. But he was alive, and my child. That’s why I have so many of his pictures up. I cannot put him away in a box. “Part of my purpose in this life is to be Audrey’s voice, and I do this with great pride and a tremendous amount of prayer” (Smith 156). Those were Angie’s words, but I whole heartedly echo them.

I know the pictures aren’t him. But I can’t walk to his crib every morning and see him. I won’t be able to take a picture of him at his first Christmas or football game. That is why I have them up, I look and think back on the time I did have with him and I try to remember the exact moment that the photo was taken. I carry his photo’s with me as well, sometimes I’m not sure why. I guess it’s like when you were a kid and you always had that one toy with you, it’s a comfort. You didn’t need the toy, I don’t need the pictures. But every other mom gets to carry pictures around, and I am not ashamed of him. Besides that, he was so beautiful. Yes, he had several horrible brain problems, yes, he had gastroschisis, but that didn’t show. That didn’t matter. He was my beautiful baby.

I had another chance to show his pictures on campus. Someone who I had fibers with again had a class with me. She asked me if I had my baby, and was it a boy or girl. I took a deep breath and said what I have practiced in my head and said to those who don’t know. I said, “Yes, he was a boy, I had him for two beautiful days. Then he passed, but he was so beautiful, would you like to see pictures?” She apologized and said yes, and continued to apologize as she looked at the photo’s I carry. But this opened discussion, I got to tell about him, and another lady heard who had also been in my class last year, she said she had been thinking about me a lot and was glad to see me back.

That’s all okay. They both heard the same news and reacted differently, but it’s alright. It’s the fact that I got to tell about him that mattered, and I’m sorry if that sounds selfish. But to those reading this who have lost a baby, I’m going to tell you, don’t feel bad if you make other people uncomfortable. It is your grieving process, and to show pictures or talk about your baby isn’t bad. People don’t know how to handle it, and that’s okay. It is better to acknowledge they were in your life. They were real to you.

JT was real to me.