Friday, April 29, 2011

SIDS Awareness Day

Because of the storms and tornados down South, we've been without power for 2 days already {and will be for several more days from what we've been told}. I'm actually updating from my phone {I probably should be saving my battery}. I'm not complaining at all, it most definitely could have been worse. The destruction that some have faced is so heartbreaking. But all of the quietness and stillness has given me lots of time to think {always about him}, and miss him so much more.

Today I had to face the one thing I have been dreading since the power went out. I had to clean out the deep freezer and get rid of the stash of breastmilk. I had to let go of one of the last physical bonds I had with my son. I had to part with 4.5 months of his food, all the moments we spent together, the last time I saw him alive. It felt like I said good-bye to him all over again.

And on top of all of that, today is Spring for SIDS {SIDS Awareness Day}. My heart has been so heavy all day thinking of all of the precious little ones that have left this world, and all of the broken hearted families left behind. I have met so many wonderful SIDS families on this journey, they have provided me with so much love and support. And it pains me that so many families are facing this devastating loss. My wish is that one day no one will have to lose a baby this way {or at all, for that matter}.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Price I'm Paying...

the other day, I came across this quote which spoke to my heart.

Grief is not a disorder, a disease or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve. ~ Earl Grollman

Grief is most definitely the price we pay for love. I pay that price daily, every time I open my eyes.

So why do we do it? Why do we love, sometimes so intensely that it hurts. So intensely that it’s hard for us to determine where the person we love ends and we begin.

Is it that we are gluttons for punishment? Is it that we don’t know any better? After Rebecca lost Lily, I remember speaking with her on the phone, telling her how strong and amazing she was {words that made me cringe when they were said to me just a few months later}, and telling her how if I were in her place, I don’t know that I would have the courage to pick myself up and go through the process of getting pregnant again.

Fast forward a few months to the horrific day we lost Julius…I remember sitting on the floor of the hospital family room – the small room that seems to get even smaller when they tell you that your child has just passed away, and I remember looking over at D and telling him that I wanted to have another child {very matter-of-factly}. Sure, at that precise moment I was probably saying it to fill the chasm in my heart that his absence had just carved out. But as time moved on, my desire to become an earthly mother again has not.

It’s odd, considering I have never really been sure of anything that I have ever done in my life. I became an engineer because, well, it’s an honest profession, and they get paid a decent wage...I guess. I decided to give parenthood a go because, well, it was the “next step” in our lives…I guess. While he was with us I thought how happy I was that we decided to become parents. Julius was so much fun. I loved everything about him, and thought he was an amazing little person. And then the day he passed away, I realized how much I really needed him. He might have technically been dependent on me for everything, but I didn’t realize how much of my life, purpose, and meaning had become intertwined with his mere existence…until he was gone. i can only hope that soon i will get the chance to start the journey to becoming an earthly mother again.

this sunday is International Babylost Mother's day, and the start of 1 of the 2 months that i now dread. my thoughts and my heart goes out to all of those mothers who have lost their babies, their children. since Juju was our 1st and only child, i will especially hold those mothers who are childless close to my heart on sunday and on mother's day the week after. and for those who are reading my blog who are not babylost parents, please take the time on sunday to tell a BLM you know that you are thinking about her and her baby{ies}. i know she would deeply appreciate it.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy List: My Baby Boy

first, i want to say thank you to everyone for their support and love after my last post. i was feeling quite down, and just reading all the loving messages really lifted my spirits. this has actually been a good weekend. friday, D and i spent the day up in nashville {post coming soon about that}, but we had a good time. though our first easter without Juju was difficult, it was a day spent doing things in his honor, so it was "good."

earlier this week i finally received the painting that natasha wescoat did for us. omg, it is so much more amazing in person. and it even came with it's own registration information {yep, Juju is a work of art in more ways than one ;)}. so i decided to hang it up today...

close up

i absolutely love it, and i'm so glad that i decided to contact her. though i would much rather have my baby boy back, i'm so happy to have this special tribute to him. that wall is actually the 1st thing we see when we walk out of our bedroom, so i'll be greeted by his lovely smile every morning.

i love the painting so much, that i decided to turn it into a "skin" for my phone.

i also got the memorial stone for Julius' garden earlier this week {i ordered it from Personalization Mall} ...

ok, so i like it, but i don't love it. first, you can hardly see his name {no, it's not just your monitor, that's how it looks in person too}. but i'm not going to send it back. i think i'm just going to paint the letters myself with some type of waterproof paint so that it really stands out. i may pick another milestone day in may to do it as a project to keep myself busy.

and here is a pic of his memorial garden at the front of our house {please keep in mind that it's a work in progress, and that i don't have a green thumb at all}.

so those are just some of the small things that have brought me joy this week amidst all of the sadness. and though i did my best to ignore that today was easter, i lit a few candles around the house. i lit these two candles in particular in honor of all the precious little ones that are in heaven instead of in the arms of their parents this easter. and because these are my wishes for all of my baby loss parents - peace and comfort.

Friday, April 22, 2011

barriers to grieving...

i suppose there comes a time in everyone's life when they have to deal with removing a toxic person from their lives. and i suppose the same is true in one's grief - when we have to encounter a person that negatively affects us on our grief journey. that's where i've been the last couple of weeks. on top of the dread i've been feeling about the upcoming month, i've had to deal with this, and it's taking a lot out of me.

I made the decision shortly after Julius passed away that I was only going to do things that bring me joy and happiness. I made the decision that I was going to cut out all stressful people/things from my life. My goal is to maximize my happiness, well, because I already don’t have enough of it to go around. My baby boy is gone, my world has been shattered, my heart broken. The last thing I need to deal with is added stress, added drama.there is no room in my life for drama and discord for name's sake. but i've learned that even in grief, not everyone follows the same principle.

it is hard to continue to move forward when you are faced with such a barrier. it is so hard to continue to want to reach out to those in need when your efforts have been turned around and used against you. it's so hard, especially in grief, to have to disappoint someone by telling them something they don't want to hear {for example, a group policy put in place to spare the hearts of bereaved parents in the group, and those that may come in the future}. it's even harder when they've taken what you have said and twisted it for the purpose of bad-mouthing you and the other innocent/grieving members of the group.

but sometimes you have to make the painful decision to remove a person from your life because of the toxicity. you have to do it to protect your grief, your heart, and the grief and hearts of the others. it is a difficult thing to do, especially because doing so does cause more hurt. but it is necessary.

normally i would say that this is a minor incident, a blip on the radar. i would brush it off, shake it off and move on. but after you experience a loss so profound, after your heart and world have been shattered, minor things like this become major. they lead to breakdowns and setbacks. because when  you are grieving, your guard is so far down. you are operating at a loss, literally and figuratively. you have no extra energy to spare to try and fix things or smooth things over. you just have to retreat. retreat and protect your already broken heart. retreat to continue grieving. so that's what i've done.

though this has brought some discouragement and doubt that i am actually doing good to help grieving parents out there. i will press on. because i know a few things. i know that i'm a good {albeit broken} person. i know that i have amazing friends that have gotten me through so far. i know that my little {now incomplete} family is the only thing that matters. i know that my baby boy's love has changed me forever. and i know that with his help i will get through this too...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Happy List: My Friends

i had actually made up my mind yesterday that i was not going to do a happy list this week. i've had an incredibly emotional and stressful week. and as much as i needed the little boost of happiness i derive from doing the happy lists, i just could not build up the energy to type one out.

then this morning, i had another incredibly emotional experience. i found myself in a room with a nursing mother. i found myself flashing back to the day that i last held my baby boy. flashing back to the last moments i saw him alive. the last thing we did together when he was alive, the last moment i shared with him. the last time i kissed him and told him how much i loved him. it all came rushing back to me as i sat there. it all hit me in the face. i dealt with it all for a while, but then it got to be too much for me, for my heart, and i had to get out of there. i just couldn't breathe. i made it all the way home before the breakdown came {which i guess is an improvement}.

after i put myself back together again from the breakdown {with the help of my hubby and a couple of dear friends}, i realized that i did have something to be "happy" for. because during my most stressful moments this week, the ones that i could count on to help me to my feet were my friends. i have gotten so much support from my FB family, from the BLMs that i've met through blogging, and from my local support system {the Face2Face group that i co-lead}. thursday happened to be one of our get-togethers {a dinner} and a day when i was feeling particularly fragile. and they showered me with so much love and laughter that my cheeks actually hurt when i left. my cheeks hurt? i can't remember the last time i laughed that much. i can't remember the last time that i felt like my goofy self. but they brought it out of me, they helped me get there that day, they supported me.

so this happy list is dedicated to my friends, my real friends, my TRUE friends. the people that have seen me at my worst, and have stuck around anyway. the ones that are not afraid to talk to me because it might inconvenience them and their feelings. the ones that are not afraid to speak the name of my son, who is no longer with me. the ones that care about my feelings, about my hurt, about my pain even though they may also be grieving themselves. to those that have been there for me, and shown me the real meaning of the word "friendship," thank you.

"Friendship isn't about whom you have known the longest... It's about who came, and never left your side." - Unknown

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I'd Rather Have a Broken Bone

in april 2009, i broke my ankle and a bone in my lower leg while on vacation in puerto rico {how you ask? well, by stepping down off of a horse the wrong way. lame, i know}. my first ever broken bone and emergency trip to the hospital came while i was on vacation. i remember so vividly laying in the middle of the street in such excruciating pain. trying not to move, crying because it all hurt so much. riding in the ambulance on the bumpy streets of puerto rico, crying because it hurt so much. the painfully slow recovery from ankle surgery. the bed rest, swelling, the slump of depression because i couldn't do ANYTHING for myself, the crutches, the boot, and lots of pain. i remember it all.

a year and a half later, and i have another emergency situation. i have another run-in with a hospital, an ambulance, and lots of pain. but this time it's because of my infant son. this time, it's because my baby boy stopped breathing.

yesterday was Julius' 6 month angelversary. saturday is the 2 year anniversary of my broken ankle. and as incredibly painful as breaking my ankle was, i would go through it again 1000 times if it meant i could have my son back. i would gladly take every agonizing moment. because the pain of breaking a bone {or two like in my case} is nothing, absolutely nothing, in comparison to losing a child. this is by far the worst thing i have ever experienced. it's a wonder that i've made it this far...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Winner of Giveaway #4 & 6 Month Angelversary

wow, i can't believe that giveaway #4 has come to an end. can you believe that i actually forgot?? i forgot about the giveaway. i forgot today was his 6 month angelversary. i've been so consumed with figuring out how i'm going to get through his 1st birthday that i'm completely forgetting everything else. but i'm back on track, and ready to announce the winner.

and the winner of the keepsake remembrance necklace from LillyEllen Designs is comment #27

Our Journey {momma to precious Eden}!!!!

i'm so excited that you have won this necklace and now have an extra piece of jewelry to add to your armor. please send me an email with your selections and your address, and i'll get that submitted for you. just in case you have forgotten, here are the things you have to decide on:

"This solid sterling silver bar comes hand stamped with the names, dates, or words or your choosing. I can fit about 7 or 8 letters on each side. This bar necklace also includes a 3/4" sterling silver disc stamped as you wish and a freshwater pearl. A Sterling Silver Ball or rolo chain is included!"

i want to thank everyone that entered my giveaway. it really does bring me some comfort to be able to do a little something special for you ladies. i appreciate all of your love and support so much that i want to give back in any way i can. i just wish i could give a necklace away to everyone who entered.
Dear Juju,
Today is your 6 month angelversary. It's been 6 whole months since I last held you in my arms. It's been 6 whole months since I was complete. I miss you so much. I miss you with my entire being, with my soul. I've been trying hard to keep myself busy so I don't think about how much pain I'm in, but it never really works. I would give my very life to be with you again. Next month will be your 1st birthday. I'm already having a hard time dealing with it, so please stay extra close to me and help me get through this. Your love and your light are all I live for now.
Loving you forever,

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Day is Soon Approaching...

actually several milestone days are soon approaching. the first of them being may 1st, the start of may, the month in which my baby boy was born. the week after that {may 8th} is mother's day. and then 3 weeks after that {may 30th} will be Julius' first birthday. that day i know will be the most intense of them all. a day that should have been spent celebrating his happy life and all that he's accomplished during the year, will be spent feeling the weight of his absence.

to say that i dread the start of may is an understatement. thinking about it too long almost causes me to begin hyperventilating. i find myself struggling to breathe. and so up until now, i've been avoiding the topic all together. i've been living in denial. thinking that if i just pretend it isn't there, it won't be. i've learned that things don't exactly work that way. so at my appointment this weekend with my counselor, she brought it up and asked what my plans were, and i immediately shutdown. apparently she had not gotten the memo about my plans to just ignore the entire month.

well, in fact, no she had not gotten the memo, and even if she had gotten the memo, i'm convinced that she would have ripped it up and thrown it in the trash. unfortunately for me {at that moment}, she cared too much about me to allow me to continue to live in denial. so she gently forced me to begin to think about my plans for that day. we talked about it, and some of the things that i could do. her feelings were that if i have a plan in place for that day, it would not be as scary {and me being the planner that i am, i know she is right}. so in a desperate attempt to try and face this huge milestone day head on, i created an event on FB asking my dear friends to help me remember my precious Juju. it was hard to even type it up and post it, but i felt like i needed to. i needed to acknowledge that may 30th is coming. and i know i will need the exra prayers and support.

i do plan to do some of the typical things that i do to remember and honor him on that day: balloon release, writing him a letter, spending extra time with him reflecting on all of our time together. but i am really at a loss for things D and i could do together as a family. it's just so hard planning this day without him. and i need some help from my BLMs. if you have already experienced a milestone birthday without your little one, what are some of the things you did/do on that special day to honor/remember them?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

happy list saturday

this week, as i mentioned in my last post, was a very emotionally taxing week. i was planning on skipping this week's happy list. but today has been a bit brighter. i've had a fairly decent day, and i got quite a bit accomplished, so i felt like i had enough energy in reserve to do the happy list post. here we go...

1. giveaways.  i've done a terrible job of promoting this month's giveaway mostly because i've been dealing with the affects of grief. but i am really excited about giving away the keepsake remembrance necklace from Lilly Ellen Designs. i really hope that it brings a smile to a momma desperately in need of one {like it did for me}. if you haven't had a chance to enter the giveaway, you still have time. check out this post for details on the necklace and to enter. the giveaway will end on april 11th, and i will announce the winner on april 12th.

2. jewelry. i got such a wonderful outpouring of support after my last post. i can't thank you ladies enough for lifting me up with your comforting words, thoughts and prayers. i seriously don't know where i would be without you all. anyway, one comment in particular gave me inspiration to splurge on myself a bit {not that i need an excuse, but still}. felicia, said "...Go do one thing special for yourself, you like coffee go get one that you don't have to feel guilty like the mall....go buy a new blouse or earrings....just give yourself one good reason to smile...I'll do the same." so i decided yesterday to buy the birthstone rings that i had been eyeing from james avery {thanks to natasha}. i got a ring to represent me, D and Juju, and will wear them together - with Juju sandwiched in between his momma and daddy. more pieces to add to my Juju armor.

i also picked up a couple of things for future giveaways.

dragonfly earrings

butterfly necklace

3. mail. i received such a thoughtful gift in the mail from someone i went to grade school and high school with. she said after seeing the tattoo i got on my wrist, she knew she had to buy this mug for me. i couldn't help but smile looking at the adorable froggy and thinking of Julius. whenever i receive a card or a gift from people, i feel it's Julius' way of reaching out to me and letting me know he's ok. it's his way of sending love to me, through others. so thank you, tania, for making me smile, and sending me Juju's love.

4. gardens. i've again been inspired by my fellow BLMs to plant a garden/flower bed for Juju. after seeing some of the beautiful pics, i thought it would be a great idea to have an area dedicated to the life and love of my baby boy. so i asked my dear friend to help me with this project, since she has more of a green thumb than i do. we went out yesterday and bought the flowers, several of which were called "may night." i thought that was only appropriate considering he was born in may. we planted a few this evening {and i got eaten alive by mosquitoes}, and will finish planting the batch we got this weekend. i ordered a personalized garden memorial stone this past week too. so i will add that once we get all the flowers in, and then i'll post the pic.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


i'm still here. still fighting to make it. this week i've hit a bit of a rough patch. it seems like a pattern - the ebb and flow of grief. i may have a decent week or few days, and then i crash. and well, this week has been the "crash" week. sometimes i feel my heart trying so hard to process what has happened, to come to terms with what has happened and our new reality, my new reality. but other times {like this week}, i feel my heart, like a child throwing a temper tantrum {yet, another thing Julius will never be able to experience}, wailing and screaming and kicking. trying hard to find some glitch in the system that makes this whole thing go away, trying hard to find the secret code or magic word that will reverse what has happened, and bring my baby back to me. i keep waiting for the alarm clock to go off, the one that wakes me out of this terrible nightmare that is my life. i keep waiting...

this week not even looking at his pictures has brought me comfort like it usually does. i just stare at his little face, and see the gorgeous boy i birthed, so full of life and love. i see the little person that brought me nothing but happiness every single day of his life, that made me smile and laugh every single day of his life. he made me blissfully happy all 135 days he was here with us. and then, just like that, in the blink of an eye, he was gone. my world forever changed, my heart forever shattered. it's very hard to wrap my head around that truth normally, but it's been even more difficult this week.

so i apologize for being extra quiet over here {though i know you all understand and forgive me}. when i have these "moments" it pretty much zaps me of all energy and will to do anything besides the bear minimum needed to make it through the day. all of the energy i have left gets transferred over to do the necessary job of just functioning. and hopefully soon the intense grief cloud will lift, and i'll be able to breathe again. i keep waiting...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Saturday Happy List

here i go again, forcing myself to be happy. for those who have just joined along on my blog, every weekend i will be taking part in natasha's saturday happy lists. this week, though predictably emotional since the 30th was Juju's 10 month birthday, there were quite a few "happy" moments.

1. journals. i packaged up the last box of journals for Jenna Journal Drive. because of all of my wonderfully generous friends we were able to collect 72 journals to send to franchesca!! i was hoping to send at least 20, but this far exceeded my expectations. a big thank you to everyone that sent/gave me journals. i am eternally grateful!

1 of the 2 boxes sent full of journals

2. mail. it seems like my dear friends knew i was going to need a bit more love this week. i received a few pieces of mail that lifted my spirits. one piece of mail was a wonderful card my dear IRL friend, rebecca, sent. it was just the sweetest card telling me that she was thinking of me. and it meant so much. i received another sweet card from trena, and she also sent me this adorable Juju bracelet. it has become another piece of armor. it actually moved me to tears that she sent it {it's actually not so hard to move me to tears these days}. it touches my heart so deeply to see that people are thinking of me and my baby boy. and of course, i love to see his name.

Juju bracelet
i also received a gift from a close friend whom i've known since kindergarten {thank you, smelly! i love you}. she sent me a wooden secret box and enclosed a very meaningful poem. again, moved to tears! we now keep Juju's secret box on his dresser, right next to him. i'm just so blessed to know so many thoughtful, selfless people.
my love next to his secret box

3. fundraising total. earlier in march in addition to the giveaway for the adorable stationery set from Thirty-One that was hosted by my dear friend, nikki, i also had a Thirty-One fundraising party at my house and online. anyone was able to order from the catalog {in person or online directly through nikki's site}, and nikki agreed to send 20% of the total sales to Juju's memorial fund at CJ Foundation for SIDS. well the party closed, and nikki sent me the final numbers a few days ago. there was over $1k in total sales made. and she will be sending $230.58 to his fund!!! thank you, thank you, thank you to all that purchased something through this event. my hope is that one day no other family will have to suffer the devastating loss of a child to SIDS/SUID/SUDC. so thank you for helping us work toward that goal. it means the world.

4. Juju's painting. i am so thrilled to announce that the custom painting we had done for our baby boy is finally done!! you might remember this post where i mentioned that my absolute favorite artist in the world, natasha wescoat, agreed to do a custom piece for us in honor of Julius. well this week she sent me a picture of it. when i saw it, it took my breath away. it's amazing! and the best part, well every part is the best part, but she did this thinking of him. she attached the pic via email and wrote the sweetest message:

"Hi Tiffany! I've completed the painting! Now, I've attached a photo. It was difficult as I wanted to make sure I put in as much details about his adorable face and his shining spirit in the piece. I hope that it looks like him. I made it bright and happy colors and in an impressionistic abstract style. Let me know if you would like anything changed or added?"

OMG, natasha wescoat said my baby boy's face is "adorable" {well, i know it is, but i'm his momma}!!! and she took her time with it and wanted to make it perfect, for us, for him. would you be surprised to know that i started crying when i saw it and read her email? probably not, huh? i think she perfectly captured his essence - happiness. i cannot wait to receive it so i can proudly display it in our home.

amazing, isn't it?

yes, though this week has been hard {well, they are all hard really}, i've received many comfort, and have quite a few things to feel "happy" about. it is these little moments of happiness that are sustaining me these days. it is these moments that are giving me the strength to try and make it to the next moment.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Doing Good In Juju's Name Giveaway #4

a few months ago, brooke {see i mentioned you again, brooke!} blogged about the fact that she doesn't do the daunting task of leaving her house without dressing herself in her armor of jewelry. many of the pieces of her armor are things that remind her of her baby girl, Eliza. i loved the fact that she called her jewelry her "armor." these days i feel like i'm headed for battle. i suppose in a way i am...navigating my way through grief is a constant battle. i always feel better when i put on the pieces of jewelry that remind me of my Juju - my "Juju armor." in january, my first giveaway, i gave away a bracelet similar to my Juju butterfly bracelet. today, i will giveaway another piece similar to one of my pieces of armor - my necklace. check out this post to read how it came about.

the giveaway:
this giveaway {for BLMs} is for a keepsake remembrance necklace from Lilly Ellen Designs. Here's the description...


"This solid sterling silver bar comes hand stamped with the names, dates, or words or your choosing. I can fit about 7 or 8 letters on each side. This bar necklace also includes a 3/4" sterling silver disc stamped as you wish and a freshwater pearl. A Sterling Silver Ball or rolo chain is included!"

So whoever wins has a lot of decisions to make! you get to customize the disc, the 4 sides of the bar, and decide what kind of chain you would like.

how to enter:
to enter just leave me a comment telling me what pieces of jewelry are in your armor. and for a chance to enter the giveaway twice, become a follower of my blog/site In His Name, which provides support to families that have experienced a SIDS/SUID loss. and then leave a comment telling me that you are a follower. i will keep the giveaway open until midnight on Apr 11th. and announce the winner on Apr 12th, Juju's 6 month angelversary. good luck!