Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Just too difficult for words today...

A million times I needed you
A million times I have cried.
If love alone could have saved you,
You would have never died.
In life I loved you dearly,
In death I love you still.
In my heart you hold a special place,
That none will ever fill.
It broke my heart to lose you,
But you did not go alone.
For all my love went with you
The day God called you home.

It has been a month since you left my arms, my sweet angel. I think of you everyday and yearn to hold you again. I hope you are having fun in God's playground. Your precious face is what I think of as soon as I wake up, the last image I see before I go to bed, and all that I dream about at night. For as long as I am living, my baby you will be. I miss you Luke and please know that time will never remove my love for you. Sweet dreams my angel baby. Mommy loves you.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Love Happens

Do you believe in signs? If you don't, then this post will seem really cheesy to you. I do believe in signs but at a pretty "normal" level. I don't believe that you can really see the Virgin Mary in a potato chip or Jesus in the foam of your latte at Starbucks. Some people may believe in these things and that is great for them, whatever bring you comfort I say.

Rob and I have always had "Friday-Night-Date-Night." We started this tradition when we first started dating three years ago. We promised each other that we would keep this tradition even when we had a family, even if it did turn into "Friday-Night-Date-Night-Once-A-Month." It was our way of saying that we would always stay connected to each other, even when life gets crazy hectic, we would still have our "just us" time.

We were having our date nights regularly up until Luke was born. We were really looking forward to last nights date night because it was our first date night since Luke died. Not because we didn't have the opportunity to go the last few Fridays, it was just the first Friday that we felt like it was time to get back into the tradition. It just was too hard to start the tradition again in weeks past. So suffice to say, we were both really looking forward to it.

Our date night usually consists of dinner and a movie. I work late on Friday nights and so usually by the time we get done with dinner I am so tired that we end up just renting a movie from Blockbuster and I fall asleep on the couch before the previews are over, especially if I had a glass of wine at dinner. Other nights we actually make it to the movie theatre, last night was one of those nights. We didn't really know what movies were out, we just knew we didn't want to see anything sad and I hate scary movies so the only option was comedy or romance. Rob loves Jennifer Anniston and since nothing else looked good to us, we picked "Love Happens."

I had seen a few previews for this movie, and in fact, I had even seen Jennifer Anniston on Ellen talking about this movie. From everything (which was pretty little) I had seen, it sounded like a cute, lighthearted romantic comedy. Umm yeah, not so much.

If you plan on seeing this movie I would stop reading. I am about to tell you all about it and I don't want to ruin it for you. But before I do that I need to tell you a little background about Rob and I.

Rob has always wanted to own a hardware store. I guess the first job he ever had was working at a hardware store and he loved it, made no money, but loved working there. I have a great relationship with my mother and grandparents. They have been the few people in all of this that I have really clung to for strength. For everyone else, I have put on the strong face -the lemonade maker. I love talking about Luke to everyone. I love to tell them how he looks like Rob, I try to educate them on holoprosencephaly, and how Rob and I are trying to move forward in the best way we can. I don't cry when I talk to them, I am just matter of fact. To some people, when they talk to me they probably think, wow, I wish I could be that strong and to see the positive in a pretty not-so-positive situation. I have to be this way or I would literally spend my day on the floor, in the fetal position, holding Luke's hospital blanket, crying all day. But instead I am trying my hardest to put on a strong face to the public, and then when I get home I cry it out. It's just how I am doing it. It may not work for all, but for me, this is how I am handling it.

The movie begins and the first line of the movie is this guys saying "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." I am not kidding you. Okay, coincidence. Not a big deal. The movie goes on about this guy who has lost his wife and to deal with his grieving he wrote a book called "A-Okay." He wrote the book, which was very heartfelt and real to him, somehow got picked up by an editor and its now a best seller. He holds conferences to help people grieving the loss of a loved one, all the while his manager trying to make this guy an international success. Talk shows, DVD's, even exercise equipment.

The movie goes on to talk about one guy in particular. He was a contractor who had a twelve year old son who would help him on his job sites. On one of his jobs, the son died. After the loss of his son he lost everything. He was filled with so much sadness and anger that he lost his business and his wife. The main guy (I think his name was Burke) tries to help him work through his grief during this conference but he just couldn't seem to get through this guy - the sadness had just completely taken over him. So much that he didn't know how to get back on track. So Burke takes the whole group at the conference to a place that this guy could not return to since his son had died - a hardware store.

I started crying during this scene because my heart just ached for Rob. I know that he had so many dreams with Luke and one of them was to go to a hardware store, go home, and build something together. Just like dads and sons are supposed to do.

I will admit that I haven't reached out to everyone. I have remained confined to the comforts of my mom, my husband, and grandparents. The rest of the family I have avoided. Not intentionally, but that's just how its been. Yes, I realize that for Rob and I the pain of losing our son is excruciating. But I forget that Luke was also a grandson, a nephew, a huge piece of this family and that others are grieving the loss of him too. And by me avoiding people, the people who too have lost Luke, they probably also feel a sense of losing me as well since I have been avoiding them.

The movie goes into how this guy Burke is actually a real hypocrite. He didn't attend his wife's funeral because it was too painful, that after his wife died he completely lost contact with her side of the family, and that deep down the loss of his wife was still so painful, all the while preaching to others to "make lemonade."

I went home and cried for probably a good hour. At first, when we walked out of the theatre - in silence, I kinda felt creeped out. Like, how could a movie touch home so closely. But then when I got home I just cried. When I started this blog I decided that I wanted to focus on all the positives, not the negatives in losing Luke. That I would only write on this when I was having a good day, not a bad day. But in doing that I too have become a hypocrite. There are days that all I want to do is yell and scream, to cry for hours, to stay in bed till noon. That some days all I want to do is make lemonade out of lemons and vodka.

I believe that last night I was given a sign. For a movie that we though would be a nice, light hearted romantic comedy, perfect date night movie, turned out to be a sign from Luke. It was my son telling me that its okay for me to not always try and make lemonade, to cry it out if I need to. It was my son reminding me that I was not the only one who has lost him. That he has uncles, aunts, and grandparents that miss him too and are grieving his lose, and that they miss me too since I have been avoiding them, and for that - I am sorry. I was doing it because I just couldn't be emotionally available outside of my own comfort zone.

The movie ends with one of my all time favorite songs, "Have a little faith in me" by John Haitt. I went home and just listened to it over and over. It was like Luke was saying "have a little faith in me mommy, I will hold you up and get you through this, just have a little faith in me."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What my son has taught me...

I know that it's supposed to be the other way around, that as his mother, I would be the teacher and my son would learn from my example. But instead, it is me who is doing all the learning. The saying goes "learn from your elders," but instead the role is completely different. My son who barely weighed more than a pound, that I only got to know for 22 weeks, and that I barely got to hold for more than an hour has taught me one of lifes great lessons, to live in the moment. But to not just live in the moment, but to really LIVE in the moment.

My husband used to always call me the "ultimate planner." It is sad, but so true. I would have everything figured out. Don't get me wrong, I love doing little things spontaneously. Like just heading to the beach for the weekend, or eating breakfast for dinner. I am not neurotic about it and its not like I can't do something unless its on the schedule for the day, but I am very much a "life" planner. I wanted to invest thirty years in a career, get married by a certain age, buy the cute house with the white picket fence, have two children - a boy and a girl exactly two years apart, retire at 55, and then grow old with my husband. It had to be exactly like that, in that exact order. Control freak? Just a bit.

Last December Rob and I decided that in January we would start looking for a new house. I thought this "plan" would work out beautifully because if we got into the house by March Rob and I could start trying for a baby in April, get pregnant in six to twelve months and then we will have had enough "just us" time before the baby came. I know this must sound so silly but I truly believed that it would all work out this way, not totally, but pretty close.

So we start looking for a house in January since that was the "plan". I went off the pill in February because I figured we would be moving in March. I wanted at least one month to "cleanse" my body of the pill before we officially started trying, or as we liked to call it "not, not trying." March comes by, no house. April comes, I am pregnant. Not exactly as my "plan" went but we were still so excited to be pregnant.

So now that the "original plan" had changed, I now needed to come up with a "new plan." So now the "plan" was to keep looking for a house until about September, if we weren't in escrow by October then we would just rent a bigger house for a year or so until our baby was about one and a half and then we would start for baby number two. See, the "plan" would still work....then we went to our 22 week appointment, and that did not go as I had planned.

Losing a child is just not natural, I still sometimes wonder if the last four weeks of my life really happened. Of course no mother ever "plans" on bury their child but sadly for me, it happened.

My child has given me a whole new outlook on life. My son has taught me that as hard as you may try to "plan" and think things out for your life, life is just going to happened whether its in your "plan" or not. Luke has taught me that I have to live right here, right now. That in an instant it could all be taken away. I was so focused on making sure that our future was planned and figured out that I wasn't enjoying the moment. Luke has taught me to stop and smell the roses. To hug my husband a little bit longer in the morning, to make sure that I tell someone I love that I love them, to appreciate today. Tomorrow will come, but maybe it won't. And if it doesn't, I want to make sure that today counts.

I remember when I was in labor with Luke I refused pain medication for 32 hours because I was afraid that if I got the epidural I wouldn't feel Luke kicking me anymore. I wanted so bad to hold onto that last moment with him. What I wouldn't do to feel him kick me one more time, what I wouldn't do to kiss his sweet skin one more time. Those are moments I will never get back.

I can't bring back my son. As much as I wish I could rewind the tape and fix his little brain, I can't. What has happened to us has been devastating and it hurts but I can't change that either. All I can do is move forward. I have to get up each morning and realize that as much as it hurts I have to put one foot in front of the other. Today is a new day and as hard as it may be, I want to make it count.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Not much to say today...

I am feeling pretty yucky today. Emotional overload. My goal with this blog was to try and the find the positive side of a not-so-positive situation. I have tried really hard to not dwell on the things that I can not change, but instead focus my energy in healing in a positive way. But lets be honest, someday I just can't find it. Today was one of those days. Don't get me wrong, I am still doing pretty good overall, I was just having a hard time finding my lemonade today. And quite frankly, that is okay. I am going to sit on my couch, enjoy my husbands company, and know that today I was not defeated just because I couldn't come up with a positive twist on things. It was just a "blah" day. I know there will be others like today, I know its just part of the whole "grieving roller coaster" as I like to call it. Just get in, sit down, and don't forget to buckle your seatbelt.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Men are from Mars, Woman are from Venus

Rob and I have a great marriage. We have always had a "don't go to bed angry" or " love not war" motto for our marriage. We have always been really good at gaging each others needs. Rob pretty much always knows when I need to be held or kissed or sometimes just left alone for a little while and I think I have a pretty good understanding of his needs too. We have always put our relationship first when it comes to making discussions and most of the time we are on the same page. Either way, we always work/talk it out.

Losing Luke has been devastating for us both. Our journey through grieving has been very different. For the first time in our relationship, I can't gage what Rob's needs are and vice-versa. In so many ways we are closer that we have ever been. We have clung to each other, realizing that is the only way we will get through this - together.

Our church offers a Share Grief class that I signed us up for. I didn't think we needed it necessarily for our own individual grieving, but more for us to have a better understand of how the other person was grieving. I wasn't too sure if Rob would be interested in attending, but being the amazing man he agreed to attend it with me. I knew that he was doing it for me because he would do anything to help me on my path to healing. So we attend this class of four; Rob and I, the instructor, and one other lady. Yes, Rob was the only man. I knew that this was going to be difficult for him. I am sure that he was thinking this was going to be a big group with a ton of people talking and he could just sit in the back with me and listen. That was not the case, not even a little.

The first part of class was just introducing ourselves and a little of our background. After that we watched a movie about different phases of grieving - sadness, anger, loneliness, etc. After the movie we had a group discussion. I went first, being the social butterfly I am. I just purged it all out to these two strangers. The other lady went after me, and then it was Rob's turn. I could tell that he wasn't really quite sure were to start but after a little bit he started opening up.

When I started this blog my intention was to help heal myself, kinda like my own therapy. I had told Rob about it and told him he could read it if he wanted to. After a few days I asked him if he had read it and he said no, that it was too hard. I figured that he just needed a week or so and that he would then want to read it. A week went by and I asked him again if he had read it and again he said no. My feelings were really starting to hurt. I thought that at first the reason it was "too hard" was because of the obvious, that he missed Luke so much. But when weeks went by I thought he was just trying to move on - "push it under the rug" as they say, to just forget about our son.

It was Rob's turn and like I said it took him awhile to open up but when he did open up he started talking about the blog and he said something that would have never dawned on me. He said that he couldn't ready my blog because it hurt to much to read about his wife being in so much pain and him not being able to do anything about it. Of coarse he missed Luke, but watching and reading about how much I hurt for my baby was breaking his heart. I would have never known that had we not gone to the counseling session. I walked out crying because I felt so honored to be his wife, to have someone love me so much.

I learned for the session tonight that yes, we all may grieve in different ways but we all still grieve. And that is completely okay. I am so grateful that we went tonight, another way that God is helping us down the path of healing.

On another note, I have always wanted to read the Bible. I thought I would start one of these days but instead of starting at the beginning, I am going to skip to the section called "Luke."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I saw Luke...

All I could do was just stare at him. I could not believe how much he looked just like he did when he was born. As this beautiful being sat in front of me, I could not stop watching every little movement, every little detail. I will never forever how much I loved him the moment I first laid eyes on him. As he stared back at me I feel in love all over again. He was exactly as I remember him when I held him in my arms. His hands and nose were a little different, but in ever other way he was exactly the same. As I leaned in closer to him I took in a deep breath. I wanted to see if he still smelled the same way as I had remembered. It was amazing, his scent is so comforting. Just as I thought, he smells just like the hospital blanket he was wrapped in the first and only time I ever got to hold my sweet angel. The same blanket that I still sleep with every night.

He stood up and walked toward me, my heart racing because I could not believe how I could love something so much. He told me that he had to go and my heart just sank because I knew how much I would miss him. I then realized that it was going to be okay because I knew I would see him again soon and I could go right back to staring at this beautifully made creature that I loved more than anything.

As he walked toward the door, he turned around and said to me "I love you baby, I will see you tonight when I get home from work."

God was so kind when he created Luke to look just like Rob.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Counting my blessings

When we found out that Luke had a severe form of holoprosencephaly I remember thinking, why me? Why us? Are we being punished for sins we commited when we were younger and this is our punishment? For the first few days Rob and I were so angry at God. We just could not understand why our baby wasn't even given a chance. As the days progressed my anger just intensified. I was so fixated on how mad at God I was for taking my son that I wasn't allowing myself to see the real picture. Yes, for a reason I will never know until I am again with my son, God needed my son more than I did. That is something I can't understand, because I loved Luke so much and God knows I would have taken such good care of him. But once the anger subsided in me I realized that the God I know would not take my son out of spite. The God that I know is a kind and gracious God that everyday gives us so many blessings. He was kind enough to give me Luke, so why would he be so mean as to take him back? He wouldn't, unless he needed Luke more than I did.

I know that God is kind and gracious. He has done so many amazing things in my life. He has blessed me with an amazing family, dear friends, and one of my greatest blessings is my husband Rob. When I met Rob I had already been through some challenging experiences in my life. I remember at a real low point I prayed to God "please just bring me happiness, whatever happiness may be for me." About a year later I met Rob and let me tell you, God redefined the word happiness for me when he sent me Rob.

When Rob and I first started dating he would do all these cute little things and so I started a list of them. I keep this list in my wallet and I pull this list out whenever I miss him, or when I am feeling down. Rob was at work yesterday and I was having one of my sad moments and so I felt like I needed a "pick-me-up." I pulled out the list and read it and as usual when I was done reading it I felt so much better. So I guess the point of my rambling today is that God is good. I know he didn't take my son away from me for any other reason than he needed Luke. I don't know why but it's not in God's plan for me to know any other reason than that. One day when Luke and I are together again in heaven I am confident that God will tell me why. But in the meantime, while I am here on Earth I have to be thankful for the many other blessings that God has given me.

So here is the list I have complied. Some might find it silly but to me my husband is the most adorable man ever and I just love him for all these little things:

1. In the winter he goes out and warms up my car for me before he leaves for work.

2. He talks to himself in the shower. (Sorry honey, I just think its sooo cute).

3. For Christmas when we go get our Christmas tree, he buys a baby tree that he plants to replace the tree that we cut down. So its a tradition that we plant the tree together and every year when we go back we see how the trees have grown.

4. He's wears matching PJ's with me.

5. He always goes grocery shopping with me.

6. He gets Kelly Clarkson songs stuck in his head and then sings them aloud.

7. He cooked a turkey (a 20 pound turkey for just the two of us) last Thanksgiving. I asked him why he was cooking such a huge turkey and he said "so I will know how to do it when we have a family."

8. He gets so excited about making homemade bread.

9. For my birthday last year he put pictures of us all over the house. On each picture he put a reason why he loved me. He did it when I was at work so when I got home there were pictures everywhere!!

10. When I had oral surgery he went to the store and stocked up on all the foods I could eat - baby food, cream of wheat, ice cream. He then called his mom to have her come and "check-in" on me to make sure I was doing okay.

11. He went to EVERY doctor's appointment during our pregnancy.

12. When he first heard Luke's heart beat he said "I could listen to that all day."

13. He stood by my side the whole 47 hours I was in labor.

and my favorite one of all....

14. He helped me create the most beautiful baby boy I have ever seen.

Count your blessings today. Yes, I could sit here and cry all day over how much I miss my son. But instead I am going to look forward to seeing my husband later today. My husband who looks just like my son Luke.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Men Don't Cry

It must be very difficult
To be a man in grief,
Since "men don't cry"
and "men are strong"
No tears can bring relief.

It must be very difficult
To stand up to the test
And field the calls and visitors
So she can get some rest.

They always ask if she's all right
And what she's going through.
But seldom take his hand and ask,
"My friend, but how are you?"

He hears her crying in the night
And thinks his heart will break.
He dries her tears and comforts her,
But "stays strong" for her sake.

It must be very difficult
To start each day anew
And try to be so very brave -

He lost his baby too.

-Unknown Author

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Medical Card

I cried yesterday. Not an unusual occurrence, of course, but for the first time since Luke has been gone - I cried tears of happiness. Yesterday I opened the mail and was stunned to find Luke's new medical card. It completely caught me off guard because for anyone who works with me they too can testify that our insurance company isn't exactly the quickest at processing stuff. In fact just recently I had a conversation with someone at work who said they got a bill from about four years ago that they were just now processing.

I knew that I would be receiving Luke's birth certificate, social security card, as well as his medical card, I just expected it to be months from now when the pain wasn't so raw. So as I sit there on my bed, sobbing my eyes out with this medical card in my hand something dawned on me. At first I was crying because I realized that I would never be able to use this card for Luke. I got really mad thinking to myself "why would they be so cruel as to issue a card to a child that can never even use it?" I was so overwhelmed with grief because I knew that I would never be able to pull this card out of my wallet when I had to rush him to the ER for a broken bone, or to take him to the doctor for his first cold. I felt cheated out of getting to be that protective mother who runs to the doctor, with this insurance card in tow, anytime my little man had the slightest cough or tiny rash. But the more I selfishly cried the more I realized that if in fact I did get to use this insurance card I would be using it because my child would be in pain. I realized at that moment my child will never have to experience any of these events that are all associated with him suffering. Luke will forever be perfect. His bones will never be broken, his sweet skin will never be scared or bruised, and he will never have to cry out in pain. So in an ironic twist of fate, my insurance company saved the day. Yes, it may take them six months to a year to pay my medical bills but proving to me that my son will never have to suffer or endure pain apparently only takes them a few days to process. So for that, I thank you insurance company.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What Makes A Mother

I thought of you and closed my eyes
And prayed to God today
I asked "What makes a Mother?"
And I know I heard him say
A Mother has a baby
This we know is true
But, God, can you be a mother
When your baby's not with you?

Yes, you can he replied
With confidence in his voice
I give many women babies
When they leave it is not their choice
Some I send for a lifetime
And others for the day
And some I send to feel your womb
But there's no need to stay

I just don't understand this God
I want my baby here

He took a breath
and cleared his throat
And then I saw a tear
I wish I could show you
What your child is doing today
If you could see your child smile
With other children and say
"We go to earth to learn our lessons
of love and life and fear
My mommy loved me so much
I got to come straight here
I feel so lucky to have a Mom who had so much love for me
I learned my lessons very quickly
My Mommy set me free

I miss my Mommy oh so much
But I visit her each day
When she goes to sleep
On her pillow is where I lay
I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek
And whisper in her ear
Mommy don't be sad today
I'm your baby and I am here

So you see my dear sweet one
Your children are okay
Your babies are here in My home
And this is where they'll stay
They'll wait for you with Me
Until your lessons are through
And on the day you come home
they'll be at the gates for you

So now you see
What makes a Mother
It's the feeling in your heart
It's the love you had so much of
Right from the very start
Though some on earth
May not realize
Until their time is done
Remember all the love you have
And know that you are
A Special Mom

Author Unknown

My cup of Joe

I wanted this blog as a way to feel connected. Connected with myself and most importantly with Luke. However, as I turned on my computer this morning with my hot, yummy cup of coffee I was overwhelmed with emotion to read all the beautiful emails that my dear friends and family had sent me. At a time when in so many ways I feel alone, I am honored to have so many people share their similar stories with me. This journey has made me realize that we all have our own life tragedies. I remember driving home from the hospital, without my son in tow, and looking over at other drivers and wishing I could be them at that very moment so that I could not feel my own pain. Of coarse in every other aspect of my life I am so truly bless but at that moment I just wanted to be someone else, someone who wasn't feeling the pain I was feeling. But the truth is, how did I know that person too wasn't in pain? We are all just a bunch of books walking around with these perfect looking covers but who really knows what kind of chapters we all might have inside. Life is not fair at times, but for me I have come to realize that we have all been here in one way or another. No, maybe you haven't lost a child but maybe you have. Or maybe you have lost someone that was so near and dear to you that to this day the pain is still so real. My point is that we are all amazing books that make up many different chapters, I just thank you all that shared a piece of your book with me today while I enjoyed my cup of Joe.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Broken Road

I lost my son...those are words that I never thought I would say. Like so many people I believed that my life would go a certain way. I had my fun during my early 20's, got a great job, found the love of my life, got married, started our family, and then I figured we would live happily ever after. That's how the story goes - right!?

Our wedding song was "God Bless the Broken Road" by Rascal Flatts. It was such a perfect song for us. Having experienced some difficult times in our lives, finding each other was truly a blessing.

The last 3 weeks have been the most devastating weeks of our lives. We have both gone through a range of emotions from deep sadness to extreme anger. So many questions with so little answers. But for some strange reason our wedding song keeps playing over and over again in my head. Before, I interpreted the song as life once being a broken road that with time becomes a smooth freeway but now I realized I had it all wrong. Life is filled with broken roads and major detours, detours that take you so far off the beaten path that you have no idea how you will ever get back on track. Losing Luke has been the biggest detour in my life. The road I was on with Luke was the happiest, most amazing journey I had ever been on and even though the journey took a huge detour I have to believe that God blessed that broken road.

When Luke died a part of me died too. It is a piece I will never get back, I know that. But I am determined to honor my son, not drown in my sorrows. I was blessed to have him for 22 weeks and that is a blessing I will FOREVER be grateful for. Someone once told me that you will never know what true love is until you hold your child for the first time. I have never known love or sadness like I have for my son. As hard as this time may be, so much of me feels so blessed. I had a beautiful baby boy that looked just like his daddy, who had my nose, and his Uncle Robert's long fingers and toes. He was the most beautiful angel, a true blessing from God.

If you chose to read this, please don't be sad for me. Yes, the pain is gut-wrenching and some days I do wonder how I will pick up the pieces, but you should know that I feel that I am one lucky person - God chose me to be Luke's mom.

What an angel looks like...