Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Happy birthday sweet girl

I can't believe's been 3 years.  Three long years since I first met you.  It just doesn't seem right.  Yesterday was a quiet day.  I couldn't bring myself to talk about you, though you were certainly on my mind.  For some reason, this birthday was hard.  I don't know why....  It was almost as hard as your first.

Your short life will always matter to so many people.  Do you realize that, in the 3 years since your death, we've raised nearly $5000 for the March of Dimes?  And momma does other things in your honor, such as stamping necklaces for grieving mommas just like me.  It may not be the HUGE mark that so many parents wish for, but a mark all the same.

I will always miss you, that will never change.  I will always wonder what you would be like and how life would be different if you had lived.  But most of all, I will always love you.  Though I never truly got to know you, that love will never change.  You are my daughter, my first born, and you will always have that piece of my heart.

I love you sweet girl.  Happy birthday

Pics from Grammy P

Friday, August 23, 2013

One year photo shoot

Some days it's hard to believe my baby boy is a toddler now.  How is it that nearly 14 months have gone by already.  My beautiful friend and photographer traveled from Pittsburgh to shoot these gorgeous photos.  Love you Cindy!  Check her out, and, if you live in the greater Pittsburgh area, think about contacting her.  She'll do an awesome job!  Cindy Kimble Photography

Sending love to big sis

Yes, I'm cutie and I know it

Rub a dub dub, Squirmy in a tub

No I don't wanna sit still

Friday, August 9, 2013

All over the place

Lately my emotions have been all over the place.  It seems as though her birthday is affecting me more this year than last.  Of course, last year I had a newborn to care for, but I'm not suite sure what the significance of this year is.

I don't know where to go with it...I'm at a loss with how the grief is hitting me.  I miss her so much.

Friday, July 12, 2013

A birthday celebration 3 years in the making...

Well, today's the day.  It's your first birthday kiddo.  This time last year, the anesthesiologist was trying to get my spinal block to work for the second time (it's 9:26am as I'm writing this but probably won't post until later because I have to add pictures).  You were born at 9:47am after 36 looooooooong weeks of worry and waiting.

I've had a hard time with your birthday.  Not only are you growing so fast, but also I wasn't sure how to act.  I guess I didn't know a first birthday should be a happy occasion.  I mean, I DO know, but for my kids it wasn't.  At least not until now.

I love you more than you will ever know.  It doesn't seem right that I'm this happy, but I am.  Though I will always miss your sister, you bring me the joy I had always imagined with her.

Happy first birthday Joshua!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Right Where I Am 2013: Two years, 9 months, 22 days

It's that time of year again.  I'm joining up with Angie from Still Life With Circles to write about where I am with my grief.  You can read my 2011 post here and 2012 post here.

It's quiet in my house, baby is finally sleeping.  It's been a long week as he's had his first ear infection and has been a grumpy little cuss.  But, it's okay; he still here, a living, breathing, beautiful child.  Tripping over toys, cleaning up blow outs and spit up, getting soaked during bath time...just a normal day for a mom like me.  Or is it?  How can these days be normal when I'm not a normal mom...there will always be something missing.  There will always be that hole in my heart...the piece she took with her when she died.  I will never be "normal" again, despite what other may see on the outside.

It's been rough here lately.  Battling grief I hadn't father-in-law's death has brought back so many feelings about her.  I actually dreamed of them together not long after he passed away.  It had been a very long time since she came to me in a dream.  It was as if she was telling me he was okay; they were together.  Still, the dream brought up so many feelings I wasn't ready to deal with again.

Acceptance has finally come, though.  It's taken nearly 3 years for me to fully accept her death.  Three  While I have accepted it, I still miss her like crazy.  I hate the fact that she's gone...I hate the fact that there is a hole in my heart...I hate the fact that I will never see her grow.  But, I also know that, if not for her death, my sweet boy wouldn't be here and I wouldn't be who I am today.

It's been a hard realization...accepting her death.  It's even difficult to type.  But without her death, how would I have known about the antibodies and isoimmunization issues.  How many other babies could have been lost?  Her death gave her brother a chance at life and that is yet another thing I am grateful for.

Everyone accepts and deals with death differently, many faster than others.  Acceptance doesn't mean she isn't missed like crazy.  It doesn't mean I don't have bad days; they are just few and far between.  She lives in my every day life.  Josh looks so much like her it's not funny.  Some nights, when he wakes up babbling, it makes me wonder if she visits him and keeps him company.  I love to think she does.  It's comforting, that's for sure.

I will miss you every day of my life.  I am so grateful for the time I had with you and the lessons you've given me since then.  You know that piece of my heart you took when you left?  Make sure you keep it safe because one day we'll be back together, baby girl and I'll gladly let you keep it as long as I can give you the hugs and kisses I've stored up since the day we said goodbye.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The highs and lows of this life

And, so another 27th has come and gone.  I really just wish I could skip every 27th all together.  I hate them.  Just means I'm one month closer to another birthday that she won't celebrate with us.  I think she knew I needed some sign this weekend.  I saw sooooo many different kinds of butterflies while we were camping.   At least 3 different types of swallowtails and lots of fritillaries.

Its been a rough couple of months.  Between changing jobs and the death of my father in law, life has been extremely stressful.  That stress often leads to wandering mind and restless nights filled with dreams of what should have been and it just makes me sad.  Sad that she's not here and sad that I seem as though I'm not thankful for what I have.

But, of course, I AM thankful for what I have.  I wouldn't trade my son for the world, even if it meant bringing her back.  There, I said it.  I know, in my heart, that if she had survived, he would not be here.  I, the person I am today, would not be here either.  And, I wouldn't be deserving to have such a sweet little boy.  Instead, my little girl is cared for by so many loving people and finally gets to meet her Granddaddy and show him the ropes.

Despite the sadness that has surrounded me lately, that sweet little boy continues to amaze me.  He's growing soooo fast.  At 10 1/2 months, he has 3 teeth (the 3rd just broke through over the weekend), loves pulling himself up and cruising along.  I swear he'll be walking in no time!  He babbles up a storm, saying momma, dada, nana, and a few others.  He's starting to realize who momma is and calling me momma (heart melting!).  He tried climbing the stairs at his sitter's house, which, in turn, means he tries it here too.  Oh, sweet boy, slow down, please!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Even when expected, death takes its toll.

On Tuesday, my family said goodbye to it's patriarch.  My father in law succumbed to complications of pancreatic cancer and the superbug, VRE.

A short, hard fought battle finally over.  As difficult as it is, I'm so glad he's not in pain anymore.  I've never met a more unique person in my life.  And, yes, it's the kind of unique that is wonderful.  I loved that man dearly and count my blessings that I became a part of his family.  He is the best Granddaddy my kids could ever have.  Even better, he can take care of my Addie girl now.

Love you, Pa.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A hardened heart

     In a former life, though not so long ago, I prided myself on the ability to separate my emotions from everyday occurrence.  As an emergency dispatcher, the ability to do so is invaluable.  When, day in and day out, you see the worst in people, it's so important to be able to stay calm and not get caught up in the evil that surrounds you.  It's a skill not many people possess and is hard to teach.  It's also a skill that brings about skepticism,  sarcasm (not that I needed any help there), and even a bit of morbid humor (OK, maybe more than a bit).  But dispatchers have to do what they can to deal with the things they are faced with every day.  Though I left that life behind me nearly 3 years ago (and shortly after Addie died), that skill still remains.  I honestly believe my hardened heart helped me deal with her death.  Maybe it wasn't such a good thing, but being able to logically think about why she died helped me cope with my grief, especially once those first few months of darkness passed.  Though I will never really be able to accept her death (yes, I still constantly ask "why me, why us?"), I can handle my emotions better than most in my situation.  But my hardened heart hasn't stopped me from experiencing the pain my family is facing now.
     From the day we are conceived, we are one day closer to death.  Think about's true.  As quoted from one of my all time favorite movies "It's the Circle of Life."  But, even knowing that, doesn't make facing death any easier.  Even for this girl, who has faced more death than I care to admit.  This time, it's terminal cancer.
    Though I will not reveal who, I will say it is NOT myself, my husband or my son, thank God.  But it is a very close member of my family, a person who is very important to us.  Anyone who has had experience with cancer, knows just how devastatingly horrible it is.  And, it's not just the disease itself.  The treatments are sometimes even worse.  Radiation burns, scars, weight loss, constant nausea and vomiting.  Medical technology has made leaps and bounds in the treatment of this disease, but when you know the cancer is incurable it's a hard choice to decide to put your body through something so terrible only to extend your life for a year, maybe more, maybe less.
     I see the people I love struggle with this disease, both the patient and those who surround him.  I know what goes through my head, but I often wonder what the others are thinking.  I try to stay strong and supportive, but it's getting harder and harder every day.  Seeing a loved one in uncontrollable pain, or so doped up they can't remember what they said 5 minutes beforehand, I'm not sure what's better.  Obviously, I don't want him to be in pain, but the person I knew just a few months ago, doesn't exist when he's doped up.  It amazes me that it's only been a few months since we were told of his diagnosis.  Literally, less than 3 months, but the changes have been insurmountable. 
    Regret, guilt, grief...all the emotions are so familiar and even my hardened heart is having a tough time.  Cancer sucks.  It's a horrible, dreadful, life-sucking disease that no one should ever have to face.  But, here we are.  We will stand as strong as we can, but we all know the inevitable.  No matter how much we prepare, it's going to hurt.  We know what the future holds, and knowing really stinks sometimes.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

9 months

Its hard to believe my sweet boy is in his final single digit month.  At 9 months old, he's crawling, sitting on his own, climbing over everything and is generally a happy baby.  Now that the weather is finally warming up, we've been taking him outside more.  He spent his first time in a big swing and LOVED it.  Still not too sure about the prickly stuff on the ground, but he's willing to experiment and eat it.  He looks more and more like his daddy every day.  I've never felt a love stronger than the love I feel in my heart when I see the 2 of them together.  They are my life.

Laughing and chasing the dog's wagging tail

Mmm, feeding myself some breakfast


Add caption

The loves of my life

Kisses Daddy!

Talking with Daddy about trees.  Daddy, the arborist, knows a lot about trees.

So serious!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Too long...

I found this today while browsing Carly Marie's Lost for Words Calendar.  I couldn't have said it better myself.

Miss you more than you know baby girl.  Happy 31 months.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A new design

Well, I figured it was time to upgrade the ol' blog.  After all, Joshua is a big part of my new life.   Thank you so much to Franchesca from Small Bird Studio for her beautiful work once again.  Check her out.  She does much more than blog design as well!  A fellow baby loss mom, she has made a huge impact on the community that I call home.  Love her!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Surviving one day at a time's a word you hear often in the baby loss community.  When you lose a child, life becomes a battle to simply survive.  That's what I did at the very beginning.  I didn't live, I simply survived.  Some days, I didn't even do that.  Some days, I couldn't get myself out of bed.  But I DID survive.  My heart continued to beat, yet my soul was left behind. Grief consumed everything; my life, my home, my family.

Grief is a bitch...sorry about the language but it is.  Grief is selfish.  Grief is all encompassing.  Grief is relentless.  And, perhaps the worst of all, grief hits at the most unexpected times.  In those first days and weeks, all I could do was grieve.  I rarely saw anything around me.  It was as if I had blinders on...all I could think about was me.  I never saw the effects grief had on my husband and the rest of my family.

I remember making the decision to not allow grief to take over my life.  I made the choice to survive, not to die with her.  But it was just that...survive.  Not LIVE.  There is a difference.  Surviving to me meant the ability to function, the ability to get out of bed every day and go about my normal routine.  But it was difficult to enjoy life.

The first time I felt alive again was at her memorial.  We were surrounded by family and friends.  It was a celebration of her short life and a gathering of many of the people who supported us.  I remember breaking out my camera for the first time since she died and capturing life as it happened.  Gradually, as time passed, I found myself living, not just surviving.  It's a journey we all take.  There are good days and there are bad days, but eventually, we do learn to live again.

Having a rainbow certainly makes it easier.  I have someone to care for and to shower with love.  Everything I wanted to do with Addison I get to do with Joshua.  But that doesn't mean I miss her any less.  Those milestones still hurt.  She should be two and half right now.  February 27th was not a good day for me.  My smile, my laugh that day was forced.  My heart ached for her more than it has in a long time.

Two and a half years later, I can say I live more now than ever.  She taught me to be a better person and a better mother.  I've finally learned how to enjoy the world I'm in and to truly LIVE.  I'm grateful for everything that I've been given, living and surviving one day at a time.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What would life be like?

     I gotta say....the life of a single parent is for the birds.  Kudos to those of you who do it every day.  P is out of town for the week, so it's just J and me, and I'm exhausted already.  Thank goodness I've got the help of my MIL and mom during the day.  When he's finally in bed, all the bottles washed and it's time for me to wind down, its hard not to wonder what life would be like with 2 kids instead of one.  This past Sunday, she would have been 29 months month will be 2 1/2 years since she's been gone.  How can that be right?  Two and a half years...its unfathomable...
     When I look at his face, there are times I see her.  There is such a resemblance between the two.  I miss her.  I dreamed about her not long ago.  Its been a long time since she appeared in my dreams.  It was right around Christmas, when I was missing her more than normal.  I wonder if she comes to me in my dreams just to let me know she's ok?  The dream was a glimpse of my life with her...there she was, opening her gifts and squealing with delight.  Joshua was in tow as we took her out to play in the snow.  It was really an alternate reality.  This is the first time they both appeared in my dreams together.  It makes me feel as though she was always meant to be here which I've often questioned.  It opens up so many more questions and guilt.  Like I should have known...I should have done something more to save her.  But how could I have known?  Sigh...and I'm back in that same place.  Knowing I couldn't save her, but wishing all the same.
     Here's my sweet boy, who's nearly 7 months old now.  How is that possible?


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013

Wow...what a year this has been.  A year, full of fear and hope; of sadness and great joy.  It is the year we were blessed with a beautiful rainbow.  Though it's hard for many to understand...having a rainbow does not take away from the damages of the storm.  I still miss her more than I can ever imagine, but I love her brother just as much.  Prepare yourself for a photo overload!  Of course, to be completely honest, I could post a whole lot more.   2012 will always be known as the Year of Joshua in my house!


And, of course, I can't forget my sweet girl.  A new friend of mine has an angel tree and collects ornaments throughout the year and writes the names of all the babies lost.  Here is Addie's ornament.

Wishing everyone a very happy and prosperous New Year!

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