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
and an awareness pin
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


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 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} 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."



'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.