Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 a year without him

my god. i'm not sure how exactly we got to this point. tomorrow is the start of 2012. an entire year has come and gone without my son. proof that even though my world stopped in october of 2010, it somehow kept going simultaneously.

i really don't know what to make of 2011. grief is an ongoing process that is not dependent on what year we are in. so it goes without saying that every day of 2011 saw me with a broken heart. i was sad every day of this past year missing my son. he missed out on so much, and we missed out on so much more. we experienced his 1st birthday without him. we made it through his angelversary. both D and i "celebrated' our milestone 30th birthdays without our little man. we went an entire year without changing a diaper, feeding him, kissing him, or chasing after him. a whole year of parenting our son from afar instead of being earthly parents. hating every bit of freedom his absence has allowed us. desperately wishing every day that we would wake up from this nightmare and have him back with us.

yes, we saw despair in 2011 - a lot of it. but in the midst of the pain and the heartache and the suffering and the longing, we had some "good" times too.

  • we started In His Name. Julius' foundation which provides resources and support to other SIDS/SUID/SUDC families. and have already had the honor/privilege to reach out to hurting families around the country and the world.
  • we had monthly Juju giveaways to bring just a fraction of happiness to another grieving mother that Julius brought into my life. it was nice to bring some happiness into the world because of him.
  • i co-founded a Face2Face group {Face2Face North Alabama} in my area with a woman who has become my closest friend. and have met so many incredible parents who are also trying to figure out how to live again after losing their precious children.
  • we helped franchesca with Jenna's Journal Drive, and donated about 80 journals {with the help of our very generous friends} in memory of our baby boy!
  • we set a goal of raising $5000 via Julius' memorial fund at CJ Foundation, and on his 1 year angelversary in Oct, we exceeded that goal thanks to our very generous family/friends and people we don't even know! we are currently at $5302, and are still waiting on 1 more donation, so we should be at about $5500. i can't even express how appreciative we are!
  • we had a thirty-one fundraiser in honor of Julius and it was a huge success. we raised about $200 for his memorial fund.
  • i got my Julius tattoos, which i still adore to this day and am so glad i got them done.
  • D and i took a little getaway trip to atlanta. and even though we were both sick with the flu, it was nice to just spend time with my hubby.
  • my blog was listed as a resource on First Candle's resource page. it was such an honor to know that such a worthwhile organization feels that my blog could be of some help to another grieving mother.
  • we got a painting done for us in honor of Julius by one of my favorite artists - natasha wescoat. it is still one of my most prized possessions and brings me so much comfort when i walk out into the living room and see his amazing smile captured on canvas.
  • we started a garden/flower bed for Julius. it's still just a work in progress and nothing to brag about. but i'm anxious to get to work on it this spring.
  • i helped my local church plan a memorial mass for pregnancy/infant loss that took place in may. it was such a meaningful mass, and i was so honored to be able to help.
  • i became a Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope community organizer volunteer thanks to natasha asking me to help her with her duties, and together we were able to host a few online book club discussions and host a christmas in july gift exchange.
  • i took a trip up to MN and had the privilege of meeting natasha, jenna, deanna, kristin, and tiffany in person. talk about an amazing trip filled with laughter, tears, and lots and lots of talk about our children {the best part}!
  • i was interviewed by our local news station about dealing with grief after the loss of a child to SIDS. the story aired a few months ago, and it was really very nicely done. i never got a chance to blog about it, and now the video that was online is gone. but it happened the day after Julius' 1 year angelversary, and it was such a wonderful way to honor his life.
  • i have been working with our local hospital to get the information for In His Name added to their bereavement packet so that we can support our local SIDS families better.
  • i learned how to make a memorial candle for Julius and made a tutorial for franchesca's 12 days of christmas with you in heaven series.
  • we received an overwhelming amount of keepsake, heartfelt gifts for our son throughout the year which we proudly display all over our house. it is a reminder to us that he is still being thought about and loved by more people than just us.
  • i fell more in love with my husband and my son than i ever thought possible. they have given me the strength to get through each of these 365 days of 2011.
just re-reading some of the posts that i made in 2011 made me realize how much has changed, yet how much has remained the same. 2012 already promises drastic changes in our lives, but i hope with those changes comes happiness instead of more devastation. and that is my wish for all of my dear BLM blogger friends, and everyone out there reading along. thank you so much for all of the support and love you have shown my little family this year. it means more to us than you will every know!

lots of love always,
tiffany, D and Julius

Friday, December 23, 2011

bah humbug

i seriously feel like scrooge. i can't believe christmas is in a few days. with the weather being as  unseasonably warm as it's been the last few weeks, and the fact that we no longer have cable service {yep, you read right, no tv channels for us *gasp*}, which means i'm spared all of those annoying christmas commercials. i've managed to evade the "christmas spirit" pretty well. we've put up no tree, we've purchased no gifts, we've sent out no cards. it's been pretty nice to not have that stress on us right now. it's not like we don't have enough to focus on with just grieving and trying to get through the rest of the year.

i feel like i'm a broken record. i re-read what i posted right before thanksgiving, and it all still holds true. i can't believe it's another holiday without my son. dammit i miss him so much. i woke up this morning with tears in my eyes just thinking about how lonely i am without him. i could just scream at the unfairness of it all. he is desperately missed and desperately loved. and here we are, without him, trying to dodge holiday after holiday. it's ridiculous, but it's my reality. i'm pissed off, but there's nothing i can do.

i'm thankful to those that have sent cards/gifts and continue to mention our son. it warms my heart every time. that's really the best present anyone could give me {and i'm sure any bereaved parent} - mentioning my child. for my fellow babyloss parents, please know that i will be keeping you close to my heart this weekend, as we all mark another holiday without our children. i hope that christmas is gentle on you all...

Monday, December 19, 2011

December Giveaway Winner

well we have come to the end of our monthly Juju giveaways. i can hardly believe that this year is coming to a close. in some ways i'm excited, even hopeful that 2012 will bring brighter days. but i know that there is no way to escape the bad days. they come with the territory of being a bereaved parent. your heart never forgets that it's missing someone dearly. not for one second have i forgotten that my son passed away. so to think that 2012 will be free and clear of heartache and pain is not realistic. but i do hope with all of my might that next year showers us, and all of my hurting friends, with some much needed sunshine in the midst of the pain.

anyway, i'm sorry that i am posting the winner a day late, but i have been a bit under the weather.  when i picked the winner {using random.org} i had a good chuckle. it doesn't make sense why i would laugh when picking the winner of a donation to the charity of their choice until you know the backstory. last week, the person who won, had a similar giveaway, and i won. so when i saw that she won mine, it made me laugh to think that somehow maybe our babies had arranged this. and i also thought i should definitely take a pic of the result on my phone so that no one thinks i fudged the results. ;) so anyway, the winner of this month's giveaway was comment #2....Brooke, Eliza's mom!


so i will be making a $25 donation to the National Share organization {in memory of both Eliza and Julius}, whose mission is to "is to serve those whose lives are touched by the tragic death of a baby through early pregnancy loss, stillbirth, or in the first few months of life." it's actually an honor for me to end my giveaways with this donation. though i have never received support personally from Share, i know many have, and i'm glad to do anything to help such a worthy cause. thank you to everyone who entered. i truly wish i could donate to all of the charities that were posted.

now begins my quest for what to do in honor of Julius next year...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

disassemble!

today is one of those days. 1 thing sets me off, and i spiral.
i miss my son. i wish he was here.
i hate grief. i feel defeated.
no matter what i do, he is still gone.
no matter how many times i get out of bed in the morning despite the urge not to, he is still gone.
grief wins over and over.
and i'm left here with this overwhelming urge to run around screaming "disassemble, disassemble!" at the top of my lungs like "number 5" from the movie "short circuit."
i wish i were a robot that could just be disassembled so that i didn't have to deal with this pain. but i can't become one.
grief wins yet again.

*******

don't forget to enter my last giveaway here. there are only a few more days left before a winner is chosen.

and finally, i was asked by someone for the link to my guest post and memorial candle tutorial over at Small Bird Studio's 12 days of christmas with you in heaven series. i'm not sure why i didn't post it before. silly me! if you missed it that day, you can find the actual post here.

i know this post is all over the place, and i'm sorry. it's how i feel today - all over the place.. :(

Monday, December 12, 2011

TCF Worldwide Candle Lighting

Julius' spot
last night was the TCF worldwide candle lighting. this was our 2nd year participating. last year it had only been 2 months since his passing when we went. this year we were a day shy of 14 months. it still stung. it was still incredibly painful to be there remembering and honoring my son in a way that NO parents wants to. i wish i could go back to the days when i knew nothing about candle lightings or TCF.

our local area chapter of TCF hosted a beautiful ceremony, as they do yearly. and so i was there again, for him. we had a candle burning there and at home for our little man, and all of the precious children who have left this world far too soon.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Good Morning, little boy!

mornings were our time. we had a routine. when i would wake, i would get him up and sit him up on my stomach. his attention ALWAYS gravitated toward the lamp on the nightstand. he would stare at it in amazement. and i would say to him "good morning, little boy!" usually i would have to repeat that phrase about 5 times really loudly for him to look my way {never would i have imagined that i would have to compete with a lamp}. but finally after about the 5th time, he would look at me. and once it registered who i was, he would give me the biggest, gummiest smile.

most mornings i would be exhausted from our nightly feeding routine {every 1.5 to 2 hrs every day}. but as soon as he smiled at me, i forgot all about that. i'm seriously not even kidding. there was something about his smile. it refreshed me. the happiness and love he transmitted every time he smiled made me whole again. and i was ready to get our day started.

it's no wonder that mornings are very difficult for me now. most days it takes me a while to get motivated to even attempt to get out of bed. i do get to see his smile as soon as i wake, but it's because of his picture that we had blown up on canvas and placed on the wall directly across from my side of the bed. and don't get me wrong, his smile in picture form is still amazing, but there's nothing like the real thing. i do get to say "good morning, little boy" but i say it to his urn instead of to him. looking at my former rival {the lamp} on my nightstand breaks my heart.

mornings without Julius, even a year later, are so hard. how anyone can think you will ever "get over" a child is beyond me. yes, his life was short, much much too short, but the affect he had on me in that time was.....magical.

****

thinking of my dear friends brandy and brooke as they celebrate their magical children Andrew and Eliza birthdays this week without them. i'm so sorry that those amazing people aren't in your arms where they belong. but i thank them for bringing us together, and i thank them for making you both the amazing people you are today!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

12 Days of Christmas with You in Heaven Guest Poster

so today is my turn to be a guest poster over at Small Bird Studios. fran created the "12 days of christmas with you in heaven" as a way to help grieving families honor their loved ones and cope with this difficult holiday season. i posted my tutorial on how to make the personalized memorial candle that i made for Julius. so go check it out! i hope that it was relatively easy to follow, but if not, just send me an email and i'll try to clarify.

i also revealed my last monthly Juju giveaway...

this month is all about giving, so in honor of that, i have chosen this month's giveaway to be a $25 donation to the charity of the winner's choice {but a real charity please, no one put in for the george costanza human fund ;) }. i have a few organizations that are very meaningful to us {CJ Foundation for SIDS, and First Candle just to name a few}, and i give to them every chance i get hoping that one day no one will have to lose a child this tragic way. but i know that there are other wonderful organizations out there that do so much for others, so i'd like to do a small part to help in honor of my son and the winner's loved one.

all you have to do is leave a comment with the name of the charity you would like me to donate to if you won. i will leave the giveaway open until the 17th and then announce the winner on the 18th {the week before christmas}. good luck!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

thankfulness and sadness

thanksgiving. it's here again. another one without my son.
what will we be doing? nothing. maybe laundry. maybe some reading. i checked out a book from the library last weekend so i definitely need to get on that one.

though we won't be acknowledging this holiday, i am thankful...
first and foremost, i am thankful for my son. the beautiful person that entered the world on may 30, 2010.
the amazing little man that changed the very fiber of my being.
the poofy headed little boy that brought nothing but happiness and light into our lives every second he was here. whose memory continues to bring a smile to my face and makes my heart swell with love.

i am thankful for my hubby, D. he is the glue that is keeping me together in this world without my boy.
he is such a devoted husband and father. he's really an amazing person - so smart, loving and funny.
he makes me laugh everyday.
and he does his damnedest daily to try and fix my brokenness even though he is broken himself.

i am thankful for my family that accepts this new broken tiffany.
they may not understand what we are going through, but they are patient with us.
they have allowed us to grieve the way that we need to. they have not tried to rush us on this journey.

i am thankful for true friendship.
i may not have all the same friends i had before Julius passed away, but i know that i am surrounded by those who truly care.
they may not all be BLMs, but they continue to reach out to me and let me know that they are thinking of me and more importantly my son.
they lift me up when i am too weak to take another step.

and even though i have much to be thankful for, i am also sad - devastated even.
devastated that he is not here.
devastated that i'm not chasing around a toddler in the midst of the family activities.
devastated that he never got to know what a turkey is or what it tastes like.
broken hearted that he is gone.

i am thankful and i am sad. and that's ok.
feelings are very complicated things. and i've realized that it's perfectly acceptable to have more than 1 emotion at a time.
i've resigned myself to the fact that it will definitely be like this from now on.
for even my happiest moments will be twinged with pain because he is not here.

thinking of all of my BLMs that are missing their precious children this thanksgiving and always. hoping this holiday is gentle on you all.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

i'll never understand...

"...my advice to you is if you don't have any kids, just adopt a kid 1 year old or older"

i recently overheard someone say this as they were complaining about dealing with their newborn acting like a newborn. i can't tell you how much that stung. i would give anything to get the chance to have sleepless nights because of my son. i would give anything for Julius to have had a chance to make it to his 1st birthday. i would give anything to bring him back.

some people are so clueless and just don't understand how lucky they are. some people don't realize how much they take for granted. it breaks my heart over and over again when i meet one of those people.

why us? why Julius?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Guest Poster

first let me start of by apologizing for being somewhat of a slacker for not posting the giveaway winner in a timely manner. i did pick the winner on the 11th {via random.org}, but i never got around to posting about it. the winner was ashley - comment #3! one more giveaway to go in my monthly giveaway project in honor of my baby boy. it's so strange that another year is coming to a close without him, especially when my love and adoration of him grow stronger with each passing day.

i am happy to say that i will be taking part in the "12 days of christmas with you in heaven" series that fran of small bird studios will be hosting on her blog. it will be a series of posts from other BLMs of tips, tutorials, giveaways, etc on ways to make it through the holiday season without our precious little ones.


i plan to prepare a tutorial on how to make the memorial candle i made for my munchkin.


i've made a couple more since then, so i think i'm getting to a point where i could explain in a relatively simple manner how to do it. it was very meaningful for me to do for him, and i'm hoping that others feel the same way. so be on the lookout for that! i will also be tying in my last giveaway with this post.

if any of you have something that you would like to share with other BLMs, head over to fran's blog to find out how you can participate.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

need advice?

first let me say, thank you for all of the words of support you sent after my post the other day. in general i tend to be very protective of my grief and my son, and i get very riled up when i hear/read insensitive comments being made to other grieving families. i understand that there are those that really do not understand the feelings/emotions that go along with losing a child {i wish i did not have to understand these feelings myself}, but sometimes i feel like there are those that don't even attempt to show empathy toward those grieving {like that woman did with my friend}, and that really upsets me.

i got a few comments about not liking the phrase "God only gives us what we can handle." i have to admit, i really dislike that phrase myself. hearing that or anything about this being God's "plan" is like watching/hearing someone run their nails against a chalkboard for me. but while i was pinning away a few weeks ago, i found quote that actually brought me comfort...

via
i actually don't mind thinking about it this way. and i like to think that Julius is right there with him helping me along.

and finally i want to plug my dear BLM friend, Eliza's momma, Brooke. she has started giving advice on her blog under the pseudonym Ms. B Reeved. Here's her little description:

"I'd like to introduce Ms. B. Reeved, my alter-ego who will occasionally be dispensing advice on this blog, intended to give well-meaning strangers some idea about what to expect and how to deal with a bereaved parent. She has experienced the loss of her infant daughter, so she knows whereof she speaks, but she also is able to respond objectively, since these are situations and questions posited to her by readers and NOT necessarily from her own life. She will accept letters and queries sent to bythebrooke (at) gmail (dot) com."


she's answered 2 questions so far, and the advice she gives, in my opinion is so well-written, informative, and a bit witty. i have heard so many times that people just don't know what to do or say around someone that has experienced pregnancy/infant loss. so if you are out there reading, and have a question you would like answered, send Ms. B an email. it can be so enlightening to hear the perspective of someone who has "been there."

Monday, November 7, 2011

what NOT to say to a bereaved parent...

"I am so glad that God chose to give me healthy children because I could not handle that"

for the love of all that is holy, please please please never say THAT!! for the record, no one said this to me, but it was said to a very close friend of mine who is also a BLM. i'm livid for her. and i'm livid for anyone else who might have ever heard something to this effect.

we did not ask for this reality! we were not give this hand in life because we could "handle" it. and it's beyond upsetting to hear otherwise. while we certainly don't want anyone else to have to deal with the pain of losing a child. it's really hurtful and thoughtless to have the good fortune of others rubbed in the face of a grieving mother. it's like adding salt to the gapping hole in our hearts.

unfortunately this is just another reason that i avoid people who do not know our story, and new social situations. i really wish that everyone was required to read a manual on how to deal with bereaved families and what to/not to say to them. it would certainly cut down on some of the unnecessary heartache. :(

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November Giveaway and Remembering

i seriously can't believe another year is coming to a close. i'm absolutely speechless that so much time has passed since my baby boy took his last breath. time is such a crazy thing when you are in the midst of grief.

there are only 2 more giveaways left in my monthly Juju giveaway project. it really has brought me much comfort to be able to do something nice for someone else in honor of my son. :) this month's giveaway was inspired by another special little boy, Aiden. i have become close friends with Aiden's mom. she has been there for me through quite a bit, and i had the privilege of meeting her in person in july when i went to MN.

today is Aiden's angelversary. on this day last year, my dear friend was just beginning her grief journey - a journey i wish no one had to make. it seems like a lot of us BLMs have an animal{s} that is meaningful to us and that we feel connects us with our babies. for me, it's butterflies, and frogs. for natasha, one of her favorite animals is the dragonfly.

so when i was thinking about what i could give away this month, i immediately thought about the dragonfly earrings that i purchased a few months ago. it just seems fitting.


in order to enter this BLM giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment with Aiden's name. yep that's it. this day and this giveaway is dedicated to him.

i will leave the giveaway open until the 11th and then announce the winner on the 12th!

Natasha, i pray that little Aiden is surrounding you in his love and giving you the strength to make it through the day. ♥ Aiden ♥

Thursday, October 27, 2011

one of those days

today is just one of those days, where the grief seems insurmountable.

maybe it's because it's so gloomy and chilly outside.

maybe it's because i didn't sleep well at all last night. making me exhausted today and extra susceptible to the grief.

or maybe it's because i was just thrust against my will in a one-way conversation with the computer support person about how his daughter is turning 1 this weekend, and they are going to throw her a party. btw, if you care, he is just SO excited to see what she does with the cake they bought her. he's sure she is going to make a mess of it. {mind you, i asked for none of that. i was just calling to get my work computer fixed}

anyway, i'm not really sure why i'm in such a mood today. i guess it's just one of those days...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Heartache of Infant Loss by Laura Schubert

"Infant loss is nature's cruelest practical joke. It's investing all of the required time and effort into pregnancy, only to be robbed of the result. It's cradling a body that grew within your own and trying to reconcile the cold, lifeless form in your arms with your memory of the baby who turned double flips in your womb.

It's worrying that you'll forget what your child looked like and snapping an album's worth of photos that no one will ever ask to see. It's sobbing so hard you can't breathe and wondering if it's possible to cry yourself to death.

Infant loss is handing off a Moses basket to the nurse who's drawn the unfortunate duty of delivering your pride and joy to the morgue and walking out of a hospital with empty arms.

It's boxing up brand new baby clothes and buying a 24-inch casket. It's sifting through sympathy cards, willing your foolish body to stop lactating, clutching your baby's blanket to your chest in hopes of soothing the piercing ache in your heart.

It's resisting the urge to smack the clueless individuals who compare your situation to the death of their dog or who tell you you'll have another baby, as if children are somehow replaceable.

Infant loss is explaining to your 7-year-old that sometimes babies die and being stumped into silence when she asks you why. It's watching other families live out your happy ending and fighting a fresh round of grief with every milestone you miss.

It's being shut out of play groups for perpetuity. It's skipping social events with expectant and newly minted mothers because, as a walking worst-case scenario, you don't want to put a damper on the party.

It's listening to other women gripe about motherhood and realizing that you no longer relate to their petty parental complaints because, frankly, when you've buried a baby, a sleepless night with a vomiting toddler sounds something like a gift.

Infant loss is pruning from your life the friends and relatives who ignore or minimize your loss. It's recognizing that, while they may not mean to be hurtful, the fact that they don't know any better doesn't make their utter lack of empathy one whit easier to bear.

My baby girl would have been 5 years old this month. I don't know what she'd look like, what her favorite food would be. I've never had the privilege of tucking her into bed, taking her to the zoo or kissing her boo-boos. I will never watch her graduate or walk down the aisle.

Infant loss is more than an empty cradle. It's a life sentence."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

and the grief goes on...

just because his angelversary has passed, the load has not gotten any lighter. i still miss my son so desperately. last week i was so completely drained from all of the anticipation and stress of his angelversary that by friday i could hardly focus. i spent pretty much the entire weekend laid up on the couch, in seclusion, watching movies and pinning {my new time suck hobby since deactivating my fb acct for the 2nd time - if you're on pinterest, look me up!}.

and even though i'm over that hurdle, i'm starting to anticipate the dread of the upcoming months. this will technically be our 2nd holiday season without Juju, but since we were in such shock and denial last year, it really feels like our 1st. for the most part, we have decided to ignore the holidays once again. i know that one day i will feel up to "celebrating" again {or at least i hope}, but this year it still doesn't feel right.

i know these next couple of months will be hard, not only for myself, but also for a few of my dear BLM friends as we head for holidays and angelversaries. today, my heart is with my dear friend tiffany and her family as they mark the 1st angelversary of their amazing girl Ellie. i got the opportunity to meet tiffany and her family back in july when i went on my getaway to MN. and just like all of the BLMs that i have come to know since losing Julius, i feel a deep connection to her and her baby girl. so my heart is extra heavy today. if you get a chance, please stop by her blog and read all about her precious Ellie and say a little prayer for them.

Friday, October 14, 2011

1 year

a year has passed since i last held my baby boy. the ticker on the side has gone from counting time in months to years. it makes me sick to my stomach to see that. to realize that that much time has actually passed. it's just not right.

the few days leading up to the 12th were absolutely terrible. my heart fought hard to make time to stop, but to no avail. the 10th was a holiday from work for me, and i had planned to take off on the 12th, but at the last minute i decided to take the 11th off too. i just didn't think i would be able to concentrate if i went to work.

since D was also off on the 10th, we just spent the day together at home. on the 11th i went to a local pottery painting studio and spent some time there painting some pieces in honor of my boy.

a froggy {i know his eyes are weird, but in my defense i was distracted by the woman who walked in with her 1 yr old son planning for his 1st birthday}
my awareness ribbon

then i swung over to the local newspaper to get some copies of the paper since his memorial ad that we placed for him was in it.

his memorial ad
i stopped by ben & jerry's binge on some ice cream, because it was that sort of day. and then after D got off of work, we went bowling.

he comes with us bowling. unfortunately i sucked.
i didn't sleep well that night as the anticipation of the next day took over my thoughts. i woke up on the 12th with tears in my eyes and a very heavy heart. and after i wrote my letter to Julius, i got up and got myself dressed {a huge accomplishment in my eyes and worth mentioning}, and went to see what D was doing in the office so we could start our day. we loosely planned to spend that day together at the zoo in nashville. we wanted to do something that we would have done with Juju if he were still here with us. we wanted that day, though painful, to be about his life and honoring him. so after making breakfast, we headed on the road up to n'ville.

since there was a ton of traffic due to an accident, it took us a  little longer than usual to get up there. and by the time we arrived, it was almost lunch time and we were starving. we decided to grab something to eat close to the zoo. and with the help of urbanspoon, we discovered that there was a {highly rated} cuban restaurant close by. being half-cuban and originally from s. fla i was so excited to find this restaurant. i haven't had cuban food in a few yrs {since i was last home visiting my family}. so we stopped, and as soon as we walked in, the song "here comes the sun" by the beatles came on in the restaurant {i blogged about the importance of that song, and the beatles some months ago}. so when i heard it, i just knew that Juju was with us. we had an amazing meal {even D thoroughly enjoyed the meal and gave me credit for picking the restaurant, which he never does}.

after eating we headed over to the zoo. as soon as we got out of the car, i began 2nd guessing my decision to go to the zoo. i mean, i know that it's a family place, but i guess i didn't realize the amount of babies that would be there. it seemed like every single person had a stroller. D asked me several times on the walk up to the admission booth if i wanted to just abandon the idea, and go watch a movie instead. and i was pretty close to taking him up on his offer. but i decided that for Juju i would suck it up, and follow through. i'm not sure why, but i just really felt like we needed to do this. and honestly, i'm so glad that i did.

the amount of kids in the zoo was really suffocating at first. but D did such of good job of distracting me. we really spent the whole time being silly, and talking about Julius and what he would be doing if he were there, and just all the memories we made with him. it was a fun time. after the zoo we went and had an early dinner at another restaurant i wanted to try {i really wish we had gone back to the cuban restaurant}, and then headed home where we did a small impromptu balloon release. i'm so glad that D and i spent the day together this way. 
my "i can't believe i really have to send balloons up to my little man" face

going up to him

then yesterday i got the opportunity to honor my baby boy and spread awareness about SIDS in another unique way, but that will have to remain a secret for now. :) 

i want to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who thought of us, said a prayer for us, sent me messages and emails. i was so overwhelmed not only by sorrow that my baby boy was no longer with us, but also by the intense love that everyone showed us. there is no way we could have had such a peaceful day without it. and not only that, but i'm so proud to say that we made our fundraising goal! we planned to raise $5k for Julius' memorial fund at CJ Foundation in 2011 for SIDS awareness and research. and because of everyone and their generosity, we not only met that goal, but we have exceeded it!! thank you all who contributed, or even considered contributing. it means so much to have you help us remember and honor our son's precious, amazing life in this way!

though i'm generally not comforted by poems that are even remotely "optimistic" or poems that have a positive spin on them because i'm still so angry about Julius not being here with us. i received a card from the wonderful people at CJ Foundation the day before Juju's angelversary with part of a poem in it that really stuck with me. and after receiving all of the love and support that we did on his angel day, i know why...

"The tide recedes but leaves behind bright seashells on the sand, the sun goes down but gentle warmth still lingers on the land. The music stops and yet it echoes on in sweet refrain...for every joy that passes, something beautiful remains." - MD Hughes

Friday, October 7, 2011

winner and *another* giveaway!

the winner of this month's Juju giveaway {the t-shirt and pin from Remembering Our Babies}, chosen at random by random.org, is BECKY!!
congrats girl! please send me an email with your info and what size shirt you would like, and i will get your order placed today. and hopefully, you will get it by the 15th.

*****

and i just wanted to let you all know that there is another giveaway going on right now in honor of Julius {and you don't have to be a BLM to enter this one}. the girl who has been at pretty much all of our life events since 2009, and was the 1st person to meet Juju, our dear friend and photographer, Whitney of Caught You on Camera, asked me a few days ago if it would be alright to do a giveaway in remembrance of Juju in order to help us raise money for his memorial fund at The CJ Foundation for SIDS. and of course we agreeed.

to enter this giveaway, all you have to do is make a donation to Julius' memorial fund {in ANY amount}, and then email the donation receipt to caughtyouoncamera@yahoo.com. the winner will be chosen at random using random.org. and will win an 11x14 canvas wrap of the photo of your choice! anyone can enter this one, even if you aren't local or a former client of hers. please check out her post for more details on how to enter. she will announce the winner on Julius' angelversary {the 12th}. thank you Whitney for helping us remember the life of our amazing son!!! ♥

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

i want him back

i want him back...still. i miss him...still.

i would give anything to wake up from this nightmare and find him curled up next to me. i would give anything to have oct 12 be just another day instead of the worst day of my life. i would give anything to stop the flashbacks.

daily i ask the question "how am i supposed to live without you?" i still haven't gotten my answer. all i know is that since oct 12 i have woken up everyday. i have gotten out of bed. i have done things. i continue to live despite my asking not to.

i don't know if i will ever get the answer to my question. i don't know if this pain will ever get easier to bear. i know the pain will never go away. for i will always want him back, i will always miss him, i will always love him. that little boy became my compass in life on may 30, 2010. without him, i'm lost.

Friday, September 30, 2011

October Giveaway

i'm a wreck today. i knew i would be. i feel the giant lump in my throat because tomorrow is the start of the worst month of the year for me. it's coming, i know it, and there's nothing i can do about it. so i decided that while i had just a little bit of energy, i would go ahead and post the october giveaway now.

i really struggled with what to do for this giveaway. i mean really. i had absolutely no clue. but then a couple of days ago, it just came to me.

october is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. of course i didn't learn about it until after we had lost our precious baby boy. october 15th, 3 days after Juju's angelversary, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. i know there are many virtual and local events going on in honor of that day. there is even a "Remembering Our Babies" ceremony that i will be going to in my local area that day. i really do think it's great that babyloss parents have this chance to celebrate the lives of their babies, but i really hate that a day/month like this even has to exist. all i really want is Julius back, and i know pretty much every babyloss parent feels the same way.

the giveaway:
so in honor of this special day/month, i will be giving away a "too beautiful for earth" t-shirt from remembering our babies
via
and an awareness pin
via
how to enter:
this giveaway is for BLMs only. all you have to do is leave a comment. i'd like to try and get the shirt and pin to the winner so they can have it by oct. 15th, so i will keep the giveaway open until oct 6th, and then announce the winner on the 7th. thanks in advance for playing along. good luck!

Monday, September 26, 2011

received or taken?

i constantly struggle with my feelings toward God since Julius passed away. and i know i've blogged about it before. i most definitely had to reevaluate my feelings about the God i *thought* i knew/understood. the book When Bad Things Happen to Good People really helped me with that, but i would be lying if i said my feelings on the topic had been resolved. this weekend, though, as i was lounging around and catching up on some of the blogs that i follow, i read something that spoke to me.

i follow the blog of the sikes family, and the story of their perfectly adorable infant son, James, who they lost a few months ago to an aggressive brain tumor. and in one of the posts, James' mom was talking about how in one of her support groups, the facilitator said "that we all need to decide whether we believe that God 'took' our loved ones or whether God 'received' them." that one line really blew me away. it perfectly sums up the feelings i've been grappling with every second since oct 12th of last year. i know some have very unwavering faith that allow them to make peace with the death of their loved one without really questioning their god. and i wish that i could say that i was one of those people. but unfortunately, i'm not.

i don't think that God took Julius from me. i don't think that my amazing little boy was stolen from me because He needed an angel, or because He was trying to tell me/us something, or because it was all part of His plan. i think my Juji left us because he perfect little body failed him {something i've constantly begged my own body to do since that day, but to no avail}. how did it fail him exactly? we don't know. and that answer is something that we will work tirelessly to help find via amazing organizations that support SIDS/SUID research. but i do believe that God was there to receive him with open arms. i believe that He is holding my cuddly little boy until i'm reunited with him and can love on him myself. this is how i choose to see it. this is what brings me comfort {and i understand that it may be completely different from what brings comfort to others, and that is ok}. i'm just so thankful that i actually ran across this post, this line. and i thought i would share for those who also find themselves questioning their faith, their god.

in "lighter" news, i was inspired last week to summon my crafty side {which is almost non-existent} for a project for my boy. i was determined to make a memorial candle for him. i'm always lighting candles for him, especially on special occasions. but i wanted something that actually signified that it was for him {as opposed to just a random candle being lit, especially as the holidays are approaching}. so i did some "research" {read googling}, got some tips, and created this...


it's not perfect by any means. but i definitely think i get an A for effort, especially since i really do have NO creative side whatsoever. i'm going to try my hand at making a few more of these. i'd really like to perfect it, and make some for some of my local BLM friends for their little ones. i also decorated another votive candle holder while i was at it. you can see it in the pic below. it is a square candle holder, so on 2 sides i put the letter J, and on the other 2 sides i added a green butterfly.

the 2 candle holders in progress disregard the mini-cheese, it had nothing to do with the process
now if i could only do a ton of these to help distract me from the fact that oct 12th is coming, i would be golden... :(

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

changed

i started this post weeks ago, and thought it would be good to finish it up and post it, especially with Juju's angelversary approaching. and i apologize in advance for my post being all over the place. that's what happens when you don't post for a while, and have tons of thoughts running around in your head. ;)

*****
i was thinking the other day about all of the ways Juju's death has changed me. and i started listing the ways in my head. after a couple, i figured it might be a good idea to blog about it. i just don't think i ever realized how many ways grief can change a person. it's just not about being sad and crying. it infiltrates every aspect of a person's life. it changes your very foundation...

* i'm even more anti-social. to be honest, i was pretty anti-social to begin with. i'm an engineer, and we're stereotypically anti-social, but i learned over time to pretend to be social. it got to a point where new people/situations actually didn't scare me. i could do just enough "small talk" to seem normal. but now, i just can't. i freak out thinking about meeting new people. i freak out if a new person joins our group at work because that means that eventually they *may* make their way over to my cubicle, see all of the adorable pics of my son, and ask me about him. i require people to serve as my "buffer" and brief new people about my situation. i stay home on weekends, or if i do go out, it's with people who know my situation, are not afraid to talk about Julius, or are bereaved parents themselves.

i hate people. ok, well not exactly, but some days i feel this way. i just have a much lower tolerance for people who complain about nonsense. i have a low tolerance for people who seem to take others and life for granted. which i guess is one reason why i avoid people so much. i hate shopping. well, unless it's for something that reminds me of Julius. but other than that, i have absolutely no energy for shopping anymore. i can't even tell you the last time i went into target. i just avoid stores all together now. Juju was my shopping buddy. and it always seems like there's a huge number of babies lurking around corners with their blissfully happy parents. i just really hate anything that takes me out of my comfort zone and puts me around people who might pry in my personal life.

* i have no more opinions. i don't care about things anymore. no longer watch/read the news. couldn't care less who wins the next presidential election. i'm no longer interested in college football. and sadly no longer care about the environment. actually one of my "rebellious" changes after Julius passed away was to start using tide detergent as opposed to the free and clear, environmentally friendly detergents that i used in the past {hardcore, i know!}. i was tired of depriving my clothes from smelling so chemically good. i tried so hard to do the "right" thing for our family and for Juju, and it didn't work. so now, if i want something, i get it regardless if it has chemicals in it, is bad for you, etc. and i don't make myself feel guilty about it.

* i'm a terrible friend. i actually used to consider myself a really thoughtful, loyal friend. someone you could turn to if you were having an issue. but that's definitely not the case these days. i have cut a few people out of my life. and have given up on a few friendships because i just do not have the energy to put into them. right after Juju passed away all of my energy went into grieving. and now that i have a little more energy, it goes into doing the bare minimum that i need to do in order to make it through the day. i just don't have any energy to spare for anyone else. and along those lines, i'm a terrible daughter and sister as well. weeks go by without me contacting my parents or sister. and i really feel horrible about that.

* i'm no longer a planner {or as much of one as i used to be}. grief is one way to break a person of their type-a tendencies, i suppose. i really had my life planned out at one point {and Julius'}. i knew what school he would be attending, what sports he would be playing. it was all laid out. plans and organization made me happy inside. now, don't even ask me what i'm doing this weekend. planning for things seems like a waste of time. and it's not like i would have the energy to do that anyway.

*i'm super emotional. this is probably obvious considering what i've been through. but before Julius passed away i never really considered myself super fragile, like i am now. sure i had my moments of showing emotion, but definitely not to the level that i experience emotion now. and these days i'm really likely to crumble at the littlest thing that may trigger me. for example, these days i really stay away from tv, etc because i just can't be sure that i'm not going to be triggered. but recently i have been watching several gordon ramsay shows {hell's kitchen, kitchen nightmares} because i thought it was a safe show. i mean it's a food program where all he does is curse at people, right? i had months of success with this formula. and then one day, i'm watching one of his kitchen nightmares and as he's talking to one of the chefs, the guy gives him a really big hug. and he says "alright calm down, it's not like we've lost our children."

i seriously felt as though i had been punched in the gut. i tried so hard to press on and continue watching. but i felt SO betrayed by my safe show that i had to stop it. i was suddenly paralyzed by my grief. and ended up crying myself to sleep. it seems like nothing is ever safe. i will never be able to approach even watching tv shows the same way again. which may be the reason for #1.

* i hate holidays. i used to love christmas time - all the cheer, shopping, sending out cards, etc. now i hate it. i used to appreciate thanksgiving. now - hate it. i used to look forward to my birthday {not that i consider that a holiday}. now - who cares? it's all a painful reminder of who is missing. and now i have a deeper appreciation for characters like the grinch, and mr. scrooge. maybe they had it right all along. bah-humbug!

there are definitely more ways in which his death has changed me as a person, but those are the main ways. and i'm constantly surprised when i come across yet another thing that has drastically changed since the loss of my son. it really is a wonder how parents survive this.

and in completely random news...one of the ways i've decided to keep myself busy in order to get through october is to do little things around the house. i've already re-caulked my bathroom sink {which i learned how to do courtesy of y.outube}, but this past weekend i decided to hang a couple of the "expressions" that i purchased from the uppercase living fundraiser i had in Juju's honor. i hung these in our bathroom...


love is the thread that ties us together
 i know it's probably considered weird to hang something so sentimental in a bathroom. but well, i spend a lot of time there {considering i'm a grieving mother} and it's actually placed right above his changing table, which is not pictured. so to me, it seemed like the perfect location.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Giveaway winner

I promise I will post a proper blog post soon with what's been going on with us, but I just quickly wanted to post the winner of this month's giveaway. And the winner {chosen by random.org} is Ashley!!! O Ashley, you are really going to love this pebble painted by Casey of Treasure Beans. I've seen it, it's gorgeous! Anyway, just send me an email {canesgirl115 at yahoo dot com} with your info and I will get your pebble out to you.

Thank you so much to all those who entered! It really brings me some joy to do these giveaways in honor of my son.

Friday, September 9, 2011

September Giveaway

first i want to say a big heartfelt "thank you" to everyone who has sent their support to me the past couple of weeks. it's most definitely been rough, and i truly have appreciated all the kind words. D's surgery did go well. the first day of recovery was kind of rough for both of us {considering as i mentioned before i wasn't used to seeing him in such a state}. but really by the next day he was back to his normal {read: grumpy old man} self. and i was able to breathe again. he has been doing really well with recovery. so thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

i know i'm completely behind with the giveaway for this month. the last couple of weeks just really drained me of my energy. but better late than never, right?! i'm really excited about this giveaway too considering that this woman gave me a huge pick-me-up in the midst of all my anxiety. several weeks ago i was checking out the FB page for Treasure Beans and i ran across her "Little Critter Sets." she had the cutest froggy pebbles and i just had to get it. last week, my pebbles arrived...

me & Juju

Mommy & Julius
i just really love the way Julius' froggy looks. it reminds me of him so much. i put the pebbles right next to him on his special spot on our dresser. love them!
the giveaway:
so i contacted Casey from TB again, and ordered another pebble for this month's giveaway. here is the pebble the winner will receive, hand-painted by Casey. it's called "Mother with baby angel in a shawl by the sunset."

via

via

'Pure & Tender, hand-painted scene of a precious, sunset moment. A mother keeps her baby angel warm in a colourful, glittery shawl while sitting in a rocky terrain. Measures 2"'

how to enter:
to enter the giveaway {BLMs only, please}, just leave a comment listing some of the sites that have helped you memorialize your precious baby{ies}. i'm always searching for new ways to memorialize my baby boy, so i could use some more ideas, especially as Oct approaches. i always seem to get a bit of peace and comfort each time i do something for Juju. i will keep the giveaway open until fri, sept 16th. and i will announce the winner on sat the 17th.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

a day to start drinking heavily...

today has been such an emotionally draining day {and it's only noon!}. it has been one of the most difficult days since Julius passed away. today D had to go in for sinus surgery. today my rock, my biggest support needed *me* to take care of him, to be strong for him. today i had to go near the dreaded hospital {the procedure was actually done at an outpatient facility near the hospital}. today i had to pass the park where Juju and i spent the day the day before he passed away. today i had to turn my husband over to a doctor. i had to watch him be wheeled away from me. i had to wait in a waiting room for a doctor to come talk to me. i had to keep it together. and with all of the similarities and reminders, i had to try and not think of October 12th.

i'm not sure how i've kept it together this long when all i wanted to do all day was crumble, curl up into a ball and cry. this whole week leading up to today has been incredibly difficult for me {and him, this is the first time he's ever had anything like this done - he doesn't get sick often}. i'm the one usually being taken care of by him. so i'm definitely not used to this role reversal. and since Juju passed away i definitely haven't had the ability to take care of anyone but myself. but i did it, i pulled it together, and we got through it. i do wish i had a stiff drink, or sedative, or something... *sigh*

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

just a reminder...

i was all prepared to blog about how Juju's death has changed me {and i still will, i'm still working on putting it together}, but instead i think today is a good day for a little reminder {to no one in particular}.

my son is NOT a tragic story. his death is tragic. but Julius is anything other than tragic. he IS my son, a beautiful person, a beautiful soul. a little boy who was full of life, and laughter and love. he loved cuddles. he loved to be held. he loved to be talked to. he LOVED to eat. he hardly cried. he loved splashing in the water during bathtime. he loved being carried in the baby carrier. he loved being bounced to sleep on the exercise ball. he loved looking at ceiling fans, and lights, and the television. he hated bottles, and pacifiers. he had the craziest poof of hair at the top of his head. he was the clone of his father {with his mother's curly hair}. he had eyes that would light up a room, and a smile that would light up the world. he is thought of every second of every day, deeply missed and deeply loved!

he will always remain part of our family. he will always be mentioned and included as long as i am alive. he is not something to get over or move passed. he is not just a story to be forgotten. he IS my son, a beautiful person, a beautiful soul.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

FML!

yep, that about sums it up. i've lost my son. i miss him dearly. i would give anything to have him back in my arms again. i miss my son. right now, at this moment, i feel hopelessly broken. i miss my son.


FML.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

at a crossroads...

it seems like a number of my blogger friends have posted about the topic of friendships recently. sometimes it's really strange to me how in sync (emotionally) i can be with people i've never met in person. the past couple of months i have been feeling the strong urge to re-re-evaluate my friendships and those that i let in my life. i've posted about this a couple of times throughout my grief journey. but as life continues to move forward, it is becoming more clear to me that the person i once was is never coming back. and because of that, some of the friendships i once held onto, i have to now let go of.

don't get me wrong, for the most part, i have been overwhelmed with support. and surprisingly a lot of the support came from those i least expected it. i know that death is scary to most people. i know that most people just don't know what to say to me or how to approach me. i remember so vividly being so scared to reach out to my friend, rebecca, for fear of upseting her after she lost Lily. but i did. i moved beyond my comfort zone to see how i could help her. and though it was scary for me at that time, i would have done it over and over because her friendship means that much to me. and so, even though i truly understand why some people have avoided me, and i don't hold it against them, i also have to do what is best for me, which is to remove these people from my life.

see the way i see it, if you can't be bothered to be there for me through, what i only hope is, the worst time of my life, well, then you can't be with me during the happier times either. one thing my son has taught me, is that life is too short to keep people around "just because." the quote "quality not quantity" has never taken on more meaning than now. i just haven't been able to shake the feeling that there are some people {especially on fb} that are keeping me around so that they can check out what i am doing/how i am coping. sometimes i feel like my life is "entertainment" for others, and with everything else that i am dealing with, i just cannot accept this right now. it was fine before i lost Julius, before i became a grieving mother. heck, i did it sometimes myself - friending people to see what they were up to. but i just can't anymore.

so i started the process a couple of weeks ago to remove some people from my friends list on fb and to make my profile more private. i struggled a lot with this. i discovered that some friendships i am still holding onto because of the memories i've had with these people. but in the end, i knew that i had to let go. and really up until last week i was really "content" just removing people from my fb.

but then on friday {Juju's angelversary of all freakin' days} i logged onto fb as normal, was checking in with friends, etc. and then it felt as though someone had sucker-punched me in the gut. i looked to the upper right corner of one page i landed on to see status updates for the same day last yr. that day i had posted 2 things about Julius: 1) that he started his morning off with a blowout {something he did regularly to get his day started - it was the cutest thing}, and 2) he had finally decided to try a bottle {that victory was actually short lived - he only wanted momma}. so on a day that i was already feeling down, fb helped to bring me further down.

i have been actively avoiding logging on through my computer since then because i just can't handle being constantly remind of how happy i was this time last yr. and with october fast approaching, and the thought of my status update on that fateful day, i just really can't go there. i never really considered deleting my account on fb until now. i, no doubt, have felt "hurt" by fb since Julius passed away. but it was nothing that hide, unfriend, or block couldn't take care of. but now it's different. i can't turn this off. and with all things i've been dealing with, i think it might be time to say good-bye.

i just never thought deleting my account on a website would be so hard...

Friday, August 12, 2011

10 Months & Giveaway Winner

today is Julius' 10 month angelversary, and my heart is extra heavy. i just miss that little guy so much that it hurts. sometimes i really feel like a broken record. seriously, how many times can 1 person say "i miss him so much. i love him so much." that much never changes. that much is constant. but i did want to share some words that a dear blogger friend, and fellow SIDS mom to the most adorable little girl, Talya, wrote about my son. i get many wonderful comments about him, and i'm always so touched. but this one came yesterday when i was feeling really down, and it warmed my heart so much. she said:

"...And it's been said, but it's worth repeating: you may be biased as his mama, but Julius? Abnormally cute is an understatement. I look at your photos of him here and he RADIATES sweetness and beauty and light--so much joy in such a little person, which he got from the love of his mommy and daddy. His beauty really just shines through in the photos. I never had the honor of meeting him, Tiffany, and I am so sad and sorry and angry that he's not physically here with you now, but when I look at those photos, and see those sweet cheeks and in that gorgeous smile, I smile with him. What a love, and what a life."

what a love, what a life, indeed. and that little boy taught me so much about both.

********
now to get to the winner of my august giveaway! i can't thank you ladies enough for participating. it is such an honor for me to be able to do this. i know it's not much at all, but i hope it does bring someone a little happiness. so the winner of the custom made butterfly baby mother's necklace {chosen randomly by random.org} is comment #26 - Kayce Pearson!

so kayce, please send me an email, confirming your selections for body/wing/gem color, and info, and i will forward it on to ms. D. Antonia so she can get started on making your necklace!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Finality

some days i just can't even begin to process the finality of death. today is one of those days. i find myself staring at his pics on my desk at work trying to figure out 1) how that handsome little boy was the product of me and D {he's just abnormally cute, but i know that i'm bias}, and 2) why i will never get to see him again.

today also marks the beginning of school here, which means that summer is over, and very soon fall will begin. we are headed full force into october, and i'm absolutely terrified. that month has become the single worse month of the yr for me because of what it represents. a year? a whole year since i held him/kissed him/told him i loved him. i go back and forth between denial and the thought of planning something special for that day. everytime i start to think of what i could do, i get so overwhelmed with emotions, and shut down. so if anyone has any ideas, they would be much appreciated.

it's just so hard to comprehend how this is my reality now...

Monday, August 1, 2011

9+ Months and Giveaway

Dear Julius,

I miss you so much, Baby. I can't believe it's been over 9 months since I last held you, or gave you a kiss. You've been gone about as long as I carried you in my tummy. How is that possible? In some ways it still feels like it was just yesterday that we left the hospital without you. We miss you more and more each day. Daddy and I really haven't been doing much these days. We continue to struggle without you, but we continue the fight to survive. This weekend we went to watch the last Harry Potter movie. There was a scene in the movie that really saddened both of us. Needless to say, I ended up having a serious breakdown after the movie was over. I hate that it's so hard for me to do simple things like watch a movie with Daddy. I hate the fact that grief affects every single aspect of my life. I hate living without you. But I know that it's because of your love and support that I do.

Loving you forever and always,
Mommy

*****
today is august 1st which means the start of a new giveaway. this is perfect timing because ever since my breakdown this weekend after the HP movie, i've been in a funk. so doing this will help brighten my day, and help me focus on the good.

i'm really excited about this giveaway. the past few months i've been almost stalking this amazing artist and her work on FB. she sculpts such amazing pieces - it's hard for me to believe that a single human can be that talented! anyway, after months of eyeing her stuff, i decided it would be really great to have one of her pieces for a giveaway. the artist i'm referring to is Ms. D. Antonia Truesdale from The Midnight Orange.

the giveaway:
so this month's giveaway {for BLMs} is for a custom made butterfly baby mother's necklace.

via

via
here's the description from her etsy store:
"These baby butterfly necklaces are designed to lay heart to heart with momma. Their wings are translucent and when the light hits them the right way, their color glows against the chest.

***Please specify body color and wing color, and gem color in the notes to seller. For the body color, I need to know whether you want a light color or deep color (aka, light blue or deep blue). I will need to choose the wing species from what I have in stock, so it will be a tender surprise for you. I will match the gem to your color preferences but will need to choose the shape of the gem from what I have in stock.***

These are very tiny hand sculpted pendants that are just about an inch in length and will come with a starter chain that is 18 inches long and silver plated. You can upgrade your chain whenever you are ready."
 
how to enter:
to enter, just leave a comment with your preferences for body, wing, and gem color if you should be the winner. and for an extra entry, leave an additional comment telling me which piece{s} is your fav Midnight Orange piece{s}. personally, i have been fixated on this one. i will keep the giveaway open until midnight aug 11th, and then announce the winner on aug 12th {Juju's 10 month angelversary}. good luck! ♥

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Quick Trip Recap & Giveaway Winner

i know i'm a little behind, so i will start off by announcing the winner of Juju's July giveaway. and the winner {using random.org's random number generator} of the Willow Tree angel of hope is comment #2. NATASHA!!!! congrats girl! i'm so glad that this angel gets to go to such a great home and such a deserving momma. thank you so much to everyone who entered! it really makes me so happy that i can do something small for someone else in honor of my baby boy. it means so much. ♥

this past week i was in MN for my much needed "escape" from my daily life. it was such an amazing trip. i finally met some women who i had initially "met" through my blog, and who have been such a wonderful support system to me. i got to do quite a few things to honor my baby boy. i got to help honor/remember other precious little ones. and i got to take a break. it was like a little mini-retreat. and i'm so glad that i got a chance to do it.

i had the pleasure of meeting jenna {Noah's momma}, natasha {Aiden's momma}, deanna {River's momma}, kristin {Stevie's momma}, and tiffany {Ellie's momma}. they are even more amazing in person. and even though we had never met in person, i felt completely comfortable with each one of them. there was absolutely no awkwardness between us.

sunday we met and attended a lovely brunch hosted by a football player {chad greenway} for mothers of critically ill children, and those that had lost their children. though a bit emotional, it was so nice to be able to be recognized for being a mother. he was also generous enough to provide everyone there with gifts. one being a beautiful vera bradley bag. i have always eyed those bags, but never bought one, so it was a real treat.


us with our vera bradley bags
 after lunch we went out to this adorable place and painted pottery. it was such a great experience to be able to sit around and talk, and feel a bit normal. i painted a couple of things that reminded me of Julius - a froggy, and a heart.

me posing with my Juju pieces


and then we went out to eat and spent some more time talking about our babies. it was just a wonderful time!

me enjoying my delicious dinner
some of Faces of Loss team with Kristin {the founder}
the rest of my time there was just as great as that day. i was able to help tiffany with her event in honor of her daughter Ellie. i helped jenna with a couple of things for her event that is coming up for her baby boy, Noah. i was also able to visit both Noah and Ellie at their special spots. it was such an honor. on top of that, i did A LOT of gushing about my pride and joy, Juju. so overall, it was an absolutely amazing trip. i'm so so glad that i decided to take the time out to do this. and i'm so blessed that i got to meet just a few of the wonderful people that have been there for me these past 9 months of sheer hell, and give them a big hug in person. i don't think they will ever fully understand how much their friendship means to me!!

Friday, July 8, 2011

We are NOT alone...

my hubby never ceases to amaze me. in our relationship i am most definitely the selfish griever. i truly don't mean to be, but my emotions constantly take over. it's easy for me to "think" that i am suffering more because i am the one that always grieves "out loud." but then D will do or say something that reminds me that i'm not the only one who lost their precious son, Julius. a few weeks ago, D asked me to read over something for him. i had absolutely no idea what he wanted me to read, but was not at all expecting what i did read. it was so moving and powerful. it brought me to tears. and he was gracious enough to allow me to share his thoughts with you all. i hate that Juju is missing out on spending time with his amazing father. :'(

~~~~~~~~
Though I would much prefer to be in the position I was before, where I knew very little of the world of babies passing away. Now it seems to be all around, that awareness that makes you take notice of every instance. I am constantly hearing about other couples and their stories of baby loss. I once thought that I would be able to rank the way a baby is lost by the easiest to the hardest. However, I found this to not be the case.


I lost my son as a result of SIDS while he was at his daycare and my wife and I were at work. He was a wonderful son at the very young age of 4.5 months old. I once scoffed at parents that though they can see all these qualities in their children when they were only babies and could do very little. But I knew so much about my son. I can see his personality, I can feel what he was thinking. I felt as though we were cut from the same cloth.

As I hear the stories I try to make the comparisons, I try my best to make my conclusion that it was the hardest for me.

I do hear quite a few stories of miscarriage. As a matter of fact me and my wife experienced a moment where we very firmly believed that we had miscarried our son. When I compare, I feel that it might be better to not have ever know our baby. It would be easier, to think that maybe something was wrong with him and it was better this way. I would not have had to be so attached to him. Yes, I say to myself, the way I lost my son is worse than having a miscarriage. But... I know it is not true. If I said that having a miscarriage is easier then I would have to say that I would be willing to give up the 4.5 months that I spent with him. And I would never do that. I would never give up a single minute that I spent with my son. And though he was taken away, I had him. He was in my arms, I stared into his eyes, and we were in love.

My son died of SIDS, but I do hear stories of babies being lost to accidents or disease. Situations that give parents a reason that it has happened. My situation has to be worse. I have no one to blame. Nowhere to point the finger. If I traveled into the past, there is nothing that I could have done that would have prevented what happened to my son. What would it be like to have someone or something to yell at as I cry inside. But... I know it is not true. Life is not fair either way. Whether you have someone to blame or not would never alleviate any of the grief that I feel. The grief that I hold is between me and my son. It is something we share. I miss and love him as I know that he misses and loves me. It is irrelevant how me and my son got into this situation but it is the situation we are in. So I really cannot believe that having someone to blame would make the world right. It would not make the world more fair. It would not bring me and my son together.

Another situation that I hear is of parents losing their children when they are older. I only had 4.5 months with my son. Other parents got a chance to see their children walk, some talked, some had play dates with other children. Some children went to school and some even graduated. My situation has to be worse. I never saw my son take his first walk, grow his first tooth, or say his first word. Everything that I was looking forward to, all the events I imagined my son accomplishing, never came to fruition. But ...I know it is not true. This was a tough one. I would give my life to spend just a little bit more time with him. But in order for me to believe that it is easier to lose a child later in life then I would have to believe that love diminishes over time. And I do not believe it does. I loved my son so much on the very first day, even when I was placing my head next to my wife's pregnant belly. And that love never wavered or weakened at any point. I am certain that no matter what his age was I would love him the same, and the hurt would be the same.

I try my best to make my conclusion that it was the hardest for me, but I cannot. They are all bad, unfair, and grief filled. It is hard to explain the point of all this. What it boils down to for me is....I am not alone. We might all handle and deal with things differently, but no matter the circumstances we are all in the same situation. I am not alone.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Giveaway & Some Happiness...

time is a concept that i know little about these days. i just can not understand how it's been almost 9 months since i held Julius in my arms. my goodness, how have i made it this far? this time last year my parents were in town visiting and meeting Juju for the 1st time. we were proudly showing off our little boy. it seems like just yesterday. it sickens me to think of how happy i was just 1 year ago - i'd say the happiest i'd ever been. and then to think of the devastation just a few months later. october 12, 2010 - a day you couldn't pay me a million dollars to repeat. i'm still in my grief slump, but i think i'm on my way out. i just miss him so so much these days. i'm sure i pretty much say that in every post, but that's a fact that remains. my longing for him and my love for him will always be present.

but while i was in the midst of my grief slump, i decided to do a little something for myself. it's amazing to me how much of an affect grief has on your physical being. i thought i was doing really well (physically) at the beginning. but now after 9 months, i know that i'm at a breaking point. i went back to work almost 2 weeks after Julius passed away. and aside from a couple of small trips {and 1 in which i had the flu}, i have not had a break since he passed away. so i booked a trip to the great state of Minnesota for a week. it seems kind of random, especially since i have no personal ties to that state. but i will be meeting with some amazing women who have become some of my dearest friends on this journey, in part because they are BLMs and on the grief journey themselves.

i have not been excited about anything in the almost 9 months since i lost my son, but i am so very excited about this. i need this. i need time away. i need to get away from the day to day routine. i need a break from work. i need a break from my reality for a while. and it's great that i will be amongst women who get it, who get me, who, unfortunately, get this pain. if i start sobbing, they will know what to do/say. no one will be scared of me. i won't have to worry about someone asking me if i have children. they all know my story. and i can be "normal." i need this trip. seriously.

and getting back to my original discussion about time. on july 2nd i realized that we were in july, and that i hadn't posted my giveaway for the month!! time really is escaping me. anyway, since Juju passed away i started collected willow tree figurines. i don't know why they bring me so much comfort, but they do. i'm actually running out of space to put them in my house. but one of my favorite figurines is the angel of hope. and hope is something that i struggle with the most these days.

via
the giveaway:
so this month's giveaway is for a WT angel of hope.

how to enter:
to enter, just leave a comment and tell me if you have started collecting anything to feel close to your angel{s}. and for an extra entry, leave a separate comment with something that you hope for. since i will be on my trip on Julius' 9 month angelversary {when i usually announce the winner}, i will keep the giveaway open until the 15th, and then announce the winner on july 16th. good luck!