Monday, January 31, 2011

so much good happening...

well, i might as well mention what my special project is now. it's already been promoted by my lovely friends and a couple of other worthy site. yay!

a few weeks ago, i received the email that put all of this in motion. a lovely woman, stephanie, and the founder of the organization Tiny Handprints contacted me. she started TH after she lost her precious 10 mo old baby boy, Jacob, in 2007; and i found her site shortly after i lost Juju. we communicated on several occasions via email, and since she was located not too far from where i live, i offered her my help any time she needed it. i was so inspired by her and her work, that i was even considering maybe persuing something similar in my area in the future {she even sent me, free of charge, 5 kits to help me get started}. well, when i received her email, i got chills thinking that Juju might have had a hand in it. she told me that she had been following my blog, and had been thinking of me {i was immediately humbled and honored}. she also went on to say that unfortunately she was going to have to close TH, and wanted to know if i wanted to, essentially, carry on the work that they started.

to say that i was even more humbled and honored would be an understatement. it left me speechless that she thought highly enough of me to ask me if i wanted to do this and carry on the legacy that Jacob started. i was also completely overwhelmed thinking of all the things that i would need to do in order to pull this off, but decided that i would do it anyway. i figured that if it had been placed in my path, it must be because Julius wants me to do it. my heart is wide open because of my son, and it's for him that i live the life that i have left on this earth. and so, In His Name was created {because well, i'm doing everything these days in Julius' name}...

we will continue to send out the "SIDS Survival Kits" that stephanie and the TH team developed to families in our immediate area (alabama and tennesse) that have been affected by SIDS. and will also be providing information, assistance, and comfort to any family that should contact us. we know first-hand how deep this pain runs, and want to be there for those who are unfortunate enough to find themselves on this dark road as well. if you would like to help, please go to In His Name and donate. all donations will be used to purchase the books that will be sent in the kits.

i also want to take some time to promote the great work and new project that franchesca from Small Bird Studios is doing. o, and did i mention that she is the sponsor of my monthly giveaway for febuary? so stop back by tomorrow to see what the giveaway is. anyway, as i mentioned before, she is a fellow BLM and lost her precious Jenna Belle in 2009. since then she has also been doing all she can to help bereaved parents, and make the world a better place in her baby girl's name. she has started the "Jenna Journal Drive" to provide new journals to NICU parents so that they have a way to record/document their memories with their precious babies while in the NICU and beyond.

journaling has always been an outlet for me, but it means even more now as it is my way to continue to stay connected with my baby boy. so when i saw her post, i knew that i also wanted to help with this. i will be collecting journals locally for this drive. if you are local to me {or even if you are not} and would like to donate a journal for the drive, please let me know. my goal is to collect at least 20 journals for franchesca and Jenna. all the journals that we send to franchesca will have a sticker inside saying that the journal was provided in memory of Julius. ♥ if you would like to send a journal or donate on your own, no problem, just click the button above and it will direct you to the post with the information.

thank you all for your support and your help. you all are amazing, and i don't know where i would be without you...♥

**updated to add that i will be sending the journals off to franchesca at the end of feb/beginning of march. so if you want to send a journal through us, let me know**

Thursday, January 27, 2011

do not judge the bereaved mother

i just wanted to post this poem today. i have seen it many times since i lost Julius, but this week it seems especially relevant. i continue to be surrounded by exceptionally loving people, and i thank you all. but a few of my friends and fellow BLMs have been met this week with judgement and criticism, and my heart hurts for them. i know i have said it before, but life after losing a child is so complicated. we have literally lost a part of ourselves, and are trying so desperately to continue to exist in a world without our babies. this is a pain that i do not wish on anyone. and unfortunately, sometimes those that we considered "friends" or even "family" before our loss show us their true colors. to all my BLMs that have experienced any sort of judgement/criticism, etc this week {or at all}....i'm so so sorry. ((hugs)) ♥


The Bereaved Mother

To those of you who look away when I grow teary eyed in the baby department, look a little deeper. Surely you have some compassion in your heart.

To those of you who change the subject when I speak my child's name, change your way of thinking. It may just change your whole life.

To those of you who roll your eyes and say we barely had them at all, how could we miss them so much, in our hearts we have seen them live a thousand times. We have seen their first steps, first day of school, their weddings, and their children. We have had them forever in our minds.

To those who say we can have another, even if we had twenty more they would never be the child we lost, and we will always miss them.

To those who say get on with my life, I have. It is a different life, the life of a grieving mother. One with a tremendous amount to be thankful for, but also one with a lot to mourn the loss of.

Do not judge a bereaved mother. She comes in many forms. She is breathing, but she is dying. She may look young, but inside she has become ancient. She smiles, but her heart throbs.

She walks, she talks, she cooks, she cleans, she works, she IS, but she is NOT, all at once. She is here, but part of her is elsewhere for eternity.

Do not dismiss us: we have shaped more than just the future generation. We have released all the tiny angels who are watching over you.

Open your eyes to us, and you just might see them.

~ Author Unknown

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"no, no kids yet"

*sigh* i have read the books, and heard the people say that there will come a time in my grief journey where i will come to a cross roads in determining what to answer when people ask me the question "do you have kids?". i kept that in the back of my head, all the while thinking that i most likely wouldn't be one of those people. as painful as that question has been, i have always found myself answering truthfully. as much as i stammer through the answer, i do answer correctly. until today...

in my last post i mentioned that i had gotten a flat tire {effin' tire!!!!!! sorry, i'm still a bit mad at the world}. well, i drove the car over to the dealer to get a new tire. but they are short-staffed, so because i didn't want to sit there and wait {because if i sat there and waited, i would have to be reminded of the last time i took my car in WITH JULIUS and how we sat in the waiting room and watched tv, and i bounced him to sleep, and later feed and changed him.  and how we had so much fun together even though we were *just* waiting for my car to be serviced.} i told them that i would leave my car there as long as they needed it, as long as i could get a ride to work. so they paged their driver, and a few minutes later, i was on my way to work.

a minute or two into the drive, and i can tell this is not going to go my way. he was a talker, and was asking questions. i managed to deal with the chit chat. i even thought that i was about to dodge the bullet that i knew was going to pierce right through my heart. and then came the following series of questions, and i knew i didn't stand a chance:

Him: "do you have any family here?"
Me: "no, just me and my husband" {here is where i think i've evaded THE question}
Him: "o, so you're married? how long have you been married?"
Me: "umm, 6.5 yrs."
Him: "you like married life?"
Me: "umm, yea"
Me: "no, no kids yet"

we actually pulled up to my building as i was answering the last question, so i quickly jumped out of the car and ran fast toward the front door. i feel so so terrible. not because i denied that i have a child to a complete stranger. i feel terrible because the fact that i had to deny that i have a child today to this complete stranger speaks volumes to me about how i'm doing today. the fact that i didn't even have the strength to utter the words "yes, i have a child, but he has passed away" tells me that i really am not doing well today. i knew this morning, after one of my "grief bursts," that it was going to be a tough day. but i thought i was feeling a bit better. i thought i had pulled myself together enough to be able to handle the rest of the day. i guess i was wrong. sometimes i really feel like i'm damned if i do, and damned if i don't.

if you are out there reading, would you mind sending up an extra prayer for me today. i'm thinking i might need them to get through the rest of the day, especially since this guy is going to have to pick me up to take me back to the dealer...

**update: thank you guys so much for your prayers. a dear friend, and coworker offered to drive me to the dealer to get my car this afternoon so i wouldn't have to deal with, as another friend put it, "chatty charles."**

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

weeding my garden

i'm still here. the last couple of days have been so hectic. in between grieving, working on my new projects, and dealing with my car getting a flat tire i haven't had a spare moment to post like i want to. arrgh! i'm still dealing with the drastic ebb and flow of grief. i had an appt with my counselor on sun, and i think i cried more that day (more than 3 months out) then i have ever cried with her. so many feelings, and emotions can hit you without any warning, and that is exactly what happened on sun. but i continue to take it 1 step/breath/moment at a time.

a dear friend of mine posted a quote on her facebook page that got me thinking. it was: "friendship isn't about who you've known the longest ... it's about who came and never left your side." for some reason that quote kind of left me momentarily speechless. i have been doing so much thinking about this very topic since Juju passed away. a few months ago i even posted about the fact that i had begun the hard process of analyzing the relationships in my life.

my sweet friend, angie, shared this article with me after my original post. the article, entitled "weeding your garden" is a personal account by the author, which compares this process of scrutinizing the relationships in our lives after the death of our children to, well, weeding a garden. it is a fantastic article, and pretty much summed up everything that i had been feeling or going through. but i found the following paragraph particularly true:
It was the death of my child that was different. I had changed overnight but they had not. I was not that same person any longer and they wanted the “old” me back. They wanted everything to go back to “normal”. But this was the new me and my life had taken a different path and this was a journey they did not want to take with me. My grief had suddenly shifted from grief for my son to anger towards them and I was going down a very dangerous road. I had veered off my path of grief and was headed down the winding road of hate and rage. My world was spinning out of control and I needed to reclaim it. I realized that my focus needed to be on my son if I was going to move through this grief process in a healthy way. It would have been very easy to shut out everyone. But what I needed to do was to remove any outside forces that were preventing me from my journey.
i have learned that real friendship *isn't* at all about the people i have known the longest, or even the people i have met in person. it's about the people that stand by you at your very worst moments. it's about those that are there while you are red-faced from crying, sitting on the floor, with snot running down your face, and don't turn away. it's about those people that drive over to your house to cut your hair because you feel as though it's suffocating you and keeping you from grieving. it's about those that rise above their fears of losing a child themselves, or potentially upsetting you, or {insert numerous other reasons people give for staying away}, and reach out anyway. it's about those that acknowledge your child, and the impact that they had {and continue to have} in your life even though they are not physically on this earth with us. that is what real, true friendship is about. yes, i have been disappointed in some people. yes, i have felt abandoned by some that i considered close friends. but, luckily, for every 1 person that has abandoned or disappointed me, it feels like 2 more have taken up their post. i may have lost some friends through this, but i have not felt as though my "love bubble" has gotten smaller - in fact, i think it's grown.

i never thought that i would be doing so much re-arranging of my life. i never thought grief would have such an impact on every.single.aspect of my life {seriously, there is even certain foods that i cannot eat anymore, and places i still can not go because they so painfully remind me of that horrid day}. this is the collateral damage of grief. unfortunately, i'm on this different path. and because i'm here, i *have* to make the painful choice to let go of friendships/relationships that i have held onto for various reasons. i need to, as the author of the article so eloquently put it, remove any outside forces that prevent me from my journey through grief. but i wish i didn't even have to make these decisions at all...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Blog Award

i'm always very humbled when someone tells me that they read {and enjoy} my blog. i know i've said it before, but it really just started out as a way for me to document my pregnancy/motherhood journey. and when Juju passed away, i seriously contemplated shutting my blog down, especially after i received some nasty comments. but i decided not to. i decided to keep his memory alive. i decided to document my life without him and my grief journey. after all, it is because of him that my heart was {is} wide open, and i had to share it with whoever was bored enough to listen {or read}.

and i am definitely beside myself whenever anyone recognizes me. so i have to say "thank you" not only mary from Blessed Not Crazy, but to trena from Free to Fly for doing just that and giving me this blog award.

**edited to add: sweetly enough i was given this award by 2 more amazing women, MrsH and Jessica. thank you, ladies, for the award. i appreciate it more than words can say**

Here are the rules that come with receiving this award....

1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers.
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award!


So onto the 7 things about myself:
  • i'm an engineer, and a pretty typical engineer at that {introverted, and boring}. though in recent years i have broken out of my shell somewhat, i'm still an engineer to the core.
  • one of the ways that i broke myself out of my engineer shell is by signing up to get certified to teach Zumba fitness back in 2007. on a whim {which is very unlike me} i registered for a workshop, and drove out to NC one weekend with D in tow to attend. i have been teaching ever since Nov 2007, and i love it. i taught all throughout my pregnancy with Juju, and took a short break after i had him, and after he passed away, but i have continued to teach through my grief. there is no way that i could stop teaching, i have become so close to the members at the gym, and they have been such a strong support system for me during this incredibly painful time. they say that they need me, but i really need them.
  • i have a tattoo that i got in college of a dragon on my back {think of the little dragon, mushu, from mulan}, and i'm thinking of getting another one in honor of Juju. i'm thinking that after i see the painting natasha wescoat is doing for me, i may have someone sketch a smaller version of it so that i can get that as a tattoo, but it all depends on how complicated the painting is.
  • i have never seen the entire video of michael jackson's thriller. the video and the song freak me out completely. when i was younger and it would come on tv, i would run into my parent's room and lock the door until it was over. and i would probably do the same if it came on now. D actually hums the song and does some of the dance moves on occasion to scare me. he's mean, i know.
  • i had never broken a bone until april of 2009 when i went on vacation with D to visit his family in puerto rico. on day 2 of our vacation {and btw, we were there for his cousin's wedding} i decided it would be a good idea to try and ride a horse. the horse reared up on its hind legs, i got scared and tried to get off of it quickly, stepped down on the cement too quickly {and the wrong way}, and that was that. i broke my ankle and a bone in my leg, and had to have surgery while in puerto rico. got out of the hospital in time to miss his cousin's wedding and fly out the next day. that was a lot of fun. and an injury that i am still recovering from.
  • the only pets i have ever owned were guinea pigs. and i was so looking forward to buying Juju his first piggy.
  • i was mildly obsessed with college. weird, i know. and i'm not sure why i'm posting this because i'm pretty sure everyone is now sitting behind their computers laughing out loud at me, but there it is. i actually have a bag of pokemon toys that i collected when burger king {or mcdonald's} was giving them away in their kid's meal. and was hoping that Juju would play with them when he got to that age.
now, i know it says to give the award to 15 bloggers, but the thing is, i can't. 15 is just not enough. and if i included all of the bloggers that i follow, i would be here for a few days. so i'm going to award it to everyone on my blog list {on the side}. and if you happen to be on my blog list, consider yourself awarded! :) if you are not on my blog list, and would like to share your blog with me {i truly love read blogs...i draw my "strength" from the women who's blogs i read} please post a comment with your blog, and i will add you to my list.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Paying it forward status...

i know yesterday's post was pretty heavy. and i thank everyone that responded, especially those who have/are experienced/experiencing similar feelings. your comments helped me to feel "normal" during a time that is nowhere near normal, or natural. it is so exhausting to live breath by breath as i have been doing since october 12th, but i don't have many options these days.

but i did want to take some time to talk about some of the things that have been happening, especially things that have developed this past weekend. i know i've mentioned here and here and here, about the fact that i am re-focusing my life and my priorities. it's hard to go through a major event like the loss of a child, and not be permanently changed. i've been trying to do only things that i consider meaningful in honor of my son. i want to give him a reason to be proud of his momma, and of course, i want to hold on to him for as long as i can. i'm currently working on a few projects that i hope to get underway shortly...

the 1st thing i'm working on is creating a Face2Face group in my area. kristin, angie, and the Faces of Loss staff have been working so very hard to bring BLMs together. and they have thought up the idea of having local social groups so that we can get together and have a safe place to talk about our little ones, and be around others that have experienced the pain of losing a child. it's not a support group, per se {though everyone will be there to give their support}. it's more about, as the FoL site puts it, a "simple gatherings of friends who share a deep common bond." in the past week, i have met a few local BLMs who have been so gracious and have offered to help me with this endeavor, so i'm hoping that soon we can get something up and running.

i've also been working on starting a local support group, again with the help of some determined BLMs. we are still in the process of discussing details and working on logistics so i'm not going to "spill the beans." but i'm really hopeful that we can get this kicked off soon too. and i'm so blessed to have met the women that i have in the past week. i hate the circumstances with which we have met, but these women are amazing. and just as determined as i am on making sure that BLMs in our area are fully supported.

the last project that i'm working on...well, this is the big secret. i'm definitely not going to mention anything about this until the details are worked out. but i'm just so excited about getting the opportunity to work on this project. and i'm pretty sure Juju put this project in my path on purpose. don't you just love suspense?!

and last but certainly not least, i again want to say "thank you" to everyone that has donated to Juju's memorial funds. we are so close to being halfway to our $5k goal. i am truly amazed at the generosity of people. and it makes me so proud to see how many people Juju has touched even though his life on this earth was so brief. i always knew that he was destined for greatness. i was just hoping that he would be doing those great things during his very long and happy life, not in his death. it doesn't make me any less proud of him, but i just wish i didn't have to be so heartbroken.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Life After

life after losing Julius is turning out to be a very intricate, complicated dance. time has given me the ability to "fake it" better, but it hasn't lessened the pain at all. it hasn't made certain situations any easier to bear. i feel like everything i do needs to have the warning sticker "proceed with caution" on it.

many of you know that saturday was my 30th birthday. my heart was heavy, but i was upright and functioning. i had an appointment with my counselor, and it was emotional {as it usually is}, but i was still upright and functioning. i went to the gym to teach my Zumba class, and my "zumba sweeties" showered me with so much love. they threw me a little party after class with my fav treat {gigi's cupcakes}, gifts and hugs.

30 and fabulous ;)
i was overwhelmed. my good friend also paid for the massage i had set up weeks in advance because i knew it was going to be a rough day. after all of that i was even more upright, and was functioning better than i had been all day. i was, dare i say, "happy." i got in my car, and was preparing to head off and run some errands when i saw i had received a text from a friend. and attached to the text was a pic that she had taken of Juju and i one day that she was over at my house visiting. i had never seen this pic, and though i was so thankful to her for sending it {and still am}, at that moment i crumbled.

Juju and mommy
this weekend D and i also went to the mall. we were having a decent day. we went into a store so that i could buy a new phone. and as we waited, we were goofing around and acting silly {something that was typical of us...before we lost our son}. again, i was upright and functioning. i happened to turn and look at the door as a woman walked in carrying her child in one of the exact baby carriers i bought for Juju, and carried him in often. it didn't matter how much i was laughing before, when i saw her it felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. i couldn't breathe.

how can it be that i can be laughing, acting silly, and joking with people, and then without warning i'm paralyzed with grief and sadness? how do people live through this pain? sometimes i just really don't understand what my motiviation is to live like this, or through this. it seems at times almost masochistic for me to get out of bed and experience all of the constant sucker punches life throws my way - the babies everywhere i turn, people announcing their pregnancies left and right {in my perspective}, etc. how can the heart stand so much hurt day after day?

i guess this is where faith, and hope come in. i guess i have to believe that there will be brighter days ahead for me. i guess i have to believe that God wants me to be happy, that He knows the pain that i am in, and that He is sorry. i want to believe that He knows how badly i want to be a mother again, and that He wants the same thing for me. and i try so very hard to hang onto that, but sometimes hope is not enough. i feel like i'm running on fumes, like i'm hanging on by a thread. and i wonder how much longer it will be before i feel like my load is lightening and i can breathe again. if only i had a crystal ball...

**edited to add the pic that my sweet friend, megan, created. it illustrates exactly what i'm feeling - broken hearted. check out her blog to read all about her precious Savannah.**

i am not, and will never be, the same

Friday, January 14, 2011

my birthday

tomorrow is my birthday. i will be turning the big 3-0. oddly enough, i used to dread this birthday. i used to think that turning 30 is when you had to start thinking about your own mortality. well, i've been there, done that already, so i guess that's out of the way. and i think i've aged so much mentally and physically over the last 3 months, that turning 30 makes me feel like i'm getting younger. obviously, with all that has happened, i don't feel like celebrating anything, especially not a milestone birthday like 30. i was actually hoping to ignore my birthday all together. but i won't. mostly because it seems like the universe doesn't want me to {more on that later}. so i will acknowledge the day, through the eyes of a mother.

tomorrow 30 years ago, i was born {the first born} into the world. birthed naturally by my mom. 30 years ago i changed the lives of my parents. i {hopefully} taught them a love they never knew, like Julius taught me. i {hopefully} brought love and happiness into their lives, like Julius did to ours. to think of my life meaning to someone what Julius means to me gives me a whole new appreciation for my parents. funny how that happens, eh?

a very good friend of mine, whom i have known since kindergarten, and who traveled many many miles {with her loving family that i have also known that long} for Juju's memorial service sent me a card yesterday, and she said something that made me think {thank you, smelly}. she said "I know you're not in a place for celebrating much these days, but I do hope you take a moment to recognize all of your accomplishments over the past 30 years." wow, she's right. i do need to take a moment to think about all i have accomplished so far. i have a wonderful husband that fills my life with love and laughter {though usually at him} daily. i graduated from the school of my dreams {go canes!}. i have a great job. i went on to get a master's degree. i've paid off debt. i own a house. i've accomplished more than i could have ever hoped for. i am truly blessed. and though i only got to hold him in my arms for a short time, my greatest accomplishment came to me on may 30, 2010, when i became a mother for the 1st time to my son, Julius Luciano. ♥ when i put things in perspective, i'm not sure why i ever dreaded turning 30.

my gift to me:
so back to the universe not wanting me to forget this day...on Juju's 3 month angel-versary i also ended up with my very special birthday present. i am mildly obsessed with the artist natasha wescoat. i have a tapestry of one of her paintings and several of her prints in our house. i find her work so whimsical, and colorful. looking at her work always makes me smile. so when i saw that she opened up a few slots for custom paintings, i *knew* that i had to attempt to get a spot, and have something done in honor/memory of Julius. so i emailed her, and prayed. and then SHE emailed me back, and told me that she would "love" to do something to help us remember our baby boy. SHE, the natasha wescoat, is going to do a custom painting for me in honor of my Julius. i really don't even have the words to adequately express how truly happy this makes me. i'm just so excited, and can't wait to see it {she said she would send me a pic before she sends it} and share it with all of you.

my gift from you:
now i'd like to ask you all for a favor - my birthday present from you {bold statement, i know, but bear with me}. i share my birthday with a very special little girl. her name is Ellie. unfortunately, like Juju, she left her parents way too soon. please, visit my dear friend, tiffany's, blog and flood her with the love and support you all have shown me. read all about her little Ellie. that little girl's smile could light up a room. i know that Ellie and Juju are probably celebrating together. but for those of us left behind, these milestone days {it would have been her 1st birthday} are exceptionally difficult. tiffany, i'm always thinking about Ellie, but i will be holding you both extra close to my heart tomorrow. ♥

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

i carry your heart in my heart

Dear Juju,

Baby boy, today is your three month angel-versary. I miss you more than words could ever say. I've had a really rough time lately, baby. A few people have told me that they experienced low points at around the 3 month mark. When I heard that, I didn't believe it. It didn't make sense to me, time should make things easier to deal with rather than harder. If only grief were that easy. But here I am, Juju. I've spent 3 months, 3 long, hard, dark months grieving you, and I find myself in the same despair I was in when I had to leave the hospital without you. It's so surreal to find myself in a position where time seems to have stopped and sped up simultaneously. My heart is stuck in October 12, 2010, but my body continues onward - going to work, going to the gym, going through the motions...

Julius, a few weeks after you passed away, I decided to buy a necklace to remember you by. I bought a similar one for Tia Rebecca when she lost her baby girl, Lily, and so I had to get one for you. The quote that is engraved on it is "I carry your heart in my heart." I'm not sure where I initially heard that quote, baby, but I fell in love with it. And then when you passed away, it took on an even more powerful meaning as we had you put in a heart-shaped urn. This weekend, I discovered the EE Cummings poem that that quote came from. It is beautiful, and I want to share it with you.

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

You are everything to me - my heart, my moon, my sun, my son. I'll love you and miss you forever. I carry your heart in my heart.


To purchase a similar necklace check out Lilly Ellen Designs

Monday, January 10, 2011

acceptance part 1

i've been thinking a lot lately about acceptance. i'm not talking about accepting what has happened to my child or to us as a family {because i don't see that happening any time soon, plus that needs a post of its own}. i'm talking about accepting the fact that no matter how hard i try, i do not have control. i am a major control freak. i have pretty much planned out my entire life, and was on my way to following my plan when death stepped in and took my son from me. it may seem like an obvious statement to say that i am not in control of my own life, but for a type-A control freak like me, coming to this realization this weekend has left me absolutely devastated.

i've tried hard to keep myself going since october 12. when i got to a place where i could function for a bit, i mustered up all the strength i could, and formulated a new plan for us - find healthy ways to grieve, take care of myself {eat well, get rest, take vitamins}, get pregnant with my rainbow baby {not at all trying to replace Juju, but because i know that having another little one will be part of my healing}, start my motherhood journey again while continuing to grieve my son. and off i go.'s not that easy.

i exclusively breastfed Julius for the 4.5 months he was with us. and dealing with the effects that breastfeeding had on my body immediately after he passed away was like adding insult to injury. my body didn't understand what was happening. it continued to produce food for the little boy that it thought needed it. except he wasn't going to be able to enjoy it anymore. and there i was in pain all over. my heart hurt, my brain hurt, my chest hurt. everything was grieving my son. and 3 months later my body still has not accepted the fact that he is gone. my body is still out of whack - it is still grieving. and i am frustrated and growing impatient.

now if you are suddenly tempted to pull up the comment box and type anything along the lines of "just relax, don't stress out," "it is in God's hands," "it will happen eventually," etc please don't. those trite lines do NOT bring me comfort, and they are the last thing i want to hear right now. i don't want to relax. i don't want to wait for His time line. i want to be a mom.NOW. i did the "right" thing. i took the time to get to a good place personally, professionally, financially. i was ready to devote everything to a child. i was devoting everything to a child. and then he was ripped away from me. and now i'm alone. i have all of this love, and all of this mothering that is displaced, that i want to give to someone. i have to give to someone. and i can't. so no, i can't relax. i can't stop stressing.

but even though my heart and my mind are trying so very hard to fight this, i am slowly coming to terms with the fact that i have to relinquish control. i have to take a step back. i have to give my body time to catch up with my plan. i'm crushed. i'm hurt. i'm emotionally drained. i, again, have no choices in this matter. i'm hanging on by a thread, and i just pray that somehow, some way i learn to be ok with this...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

hang on, just don't ever let go...

well, the rough week that i was having turned into a *really* rough weekend.  i've, once again, been forced to take a step back and reflect on aspects of my life, which i'm sure i will post about more in detail later. i just can't right now because i'm so exhausted from the non-stop sobfests i've had all.weekend.long. but i did want to post a song/lyrics that seem to be getting me through this moment - "hang on" by plumb {the dance remix version - because everything just sounds better that way}.

I'm so stubborn
That's how I got here
So alone
Feels like forever
I wanna swim away
And breathe the open air
But I feel so afraid
Then I hear you say

Hang on
When the water is rising
Hang on
When the waves are crashing
Hang on
Just don't ever let go

I'm so hungry
How can I stay here?
For what I hold so dear
Like a hurricane
It takes everything
From me
Wake me from this dream

Hang on
When the water is rising
Hang on
When the waves are crashing
Hang on
Just don't ever let go
Hang on
When you're barely breathing
Hang on
While your heart's still beating
Hang on
Just don't ever let go

Three days
Or thirty years
So hopeless
It doesn't matter
Don't say it's too late
If you blink your eyes
The sun is rising
The sun is rising

Saturday, January 8, 2011

And the winner is....

ok, first let me set up how the name was picked {it was a very technical process}...

i wrote down the names of everyone that entered on little slips of paper and folded them equally...

then we got out Juju's memorial candle {he had to help pick too}...

and put the names in there...

then, my lovely assistant {who refused to be on camera} drew a name...

and the winner is.......... Heidi, momma to Holden

heidi, pls send me an email {} and i will connect you with jessica.

and for anyone that is interested in having one of these bracelets made for your angels you can check out jessica's shop at etsy, or send her an email at

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Giveaway #1...

...ends tomorrow. it is for a customized butterfly bracelet similar to the one i have, made by my sweet friend, jessica, at trev trev designs.

if you haven't entered yet, please check out this post for details on how to enter. good luck!


ps - thank you to everyone that has left me comments, sent messages, emails, etc after my last post. i truly and deeply appreciate them all. i'm still in kind of a funk, but i feel it lifting just a bit. and hopefully bringing a smile to someone's face via this giveaway will help pull me out of the darkness a little more. ♥

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

i'm struggling...

for the past week i have really been struggling. the past couple of days, especially, i have felt like i'm back in the "early" days of grief {or should i say "earlier" days}.

it all started with new years. it's funny because even though i wrote up my feelings about facing the new year without Juju, even though i had time to prepare myself for all of the emotions the new year was about to bring my way, i was STILL not prepared for it. i thought i would be so happy to see 2010 come to a close. but on the evening of december 31, 2010, as i sit in our office at home hanging out with D, a wave of realization hit me....i am being forced further away from Juju by time. every day that passes, every year that closes, takes me further away from my little boy. i think i might have always generally known that, but it really sunk in that day. and then that realization started to suffocate me.

on new years day, D and i pretty much continued to loaf about the house. it was another pretty relaxing day. i spent most of the day cleaning up the house. i have always been somewhat of a neat freak, and enjoy cleaning the house. but i appreciate it even moreso these days because it gives me something to do, and something to distract me from the fact that the house is so empty and so lonely, it distracts me from thinking about the fact that i should be "mothering" someone at that moment, but i'm not. that evening a few friends whom we have not seen in a while, stopped by for a visit. we went out to dinner, and then came back to our house and chatted about everything that had happened since we last saw each other. they had missed seeing me pregnant, and as a mother, so we spent some time talking about that. i always enjoy talking about Juju and my experience as a mother. i found myself smiling and beaming as i spoke - so proud of myself and my baby. and then they left.....and then the realization that he is gone hit me again....and then i cried myself to sleep.

on sunday, D and i again continued to sloth about the house. thanks to netflix i was able to stream a marathon of the british car show top gear {btw, i'm not a car enthusist by any means, but this show is fantastic. the 3 guys that host it are hilarious. and it is definitely a safe, trigger-free show}. and then we decided to watch the movie that came in {the kids are alright}. it was going well, until.....2 of the characters started talking about burial vs cremation. all it took was 1 insensitive comment about cremation to send me into hysterics. and then the realization of what happened to my son, and the decision that i had to make regarding his resting place {!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!} hit me. i should have never.never.ever.ever had to make that decision. i should not have to think of ways to memorialize him. this can not be my life. but it is.

yesterday, well, D sent me that amazing letter he wrote to our son. if you are fortunate enough to know my hubby, you know that he's a very quiet, reserved guy {i think that a lot of times is a typical male trait}. he doesn't wear his heart on his sleeve the way that i do. but even though he doesn't, i *know* that he is in so much pain. and when i read his letter {i was at work, and he sent it by email} the weight of his loss and the weight of mine {even though they are the same person, it felt like double the loss yesterday} started to close in on me. i was able to get it together for a bit. but then i started looking around my desk at all the pics i have of him, and then i cracked...and, as i had done in my earlier grief days, i ran to my car, sat in the backseat next to his car seat, and cried, and cried and cried. and then i went to my appointment with my counselor, and cried and cried and cried.

today i'm feeling ok, maybe i'm on the upswing of this dark period. i know that grief is nowhere near linear, and i know that i am going to have another one of these dark moments. but hopefully for now, i'm on my way out of this one...

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Message from Daddy

Like scenes of a movie.
I look around at my life and I can see the moments I had with him. I walk by the changing table and see him looking up at me. I can see him on the bed looking like he is about to crawl. I can see him laughing as I make noises on his stomach. I can see that scared face he made when I gently threw him up in the air, and the ecstatic face he made when I caught him.

Like scenes of a movie.
I walk around the empty house and my empty life and can see short snippets of our life together. I see the short images like little movie trailers of a life that was taken away from me. I also see images I never experienced, his first walk, his first word, our first joke on mommy. I know they are not real, the uncreated sequel, but yet I see them. They last just long enough to make me want to see that movie, to miss that life, but then disappear.

Like scenes of a movie.
You can still see and feel the special moments as I walk through the empty set after the cast was sent home. There is nothing left, just the memory of what took place. You can pick up a blanket and see the scenes where it existed. I can see when my son held it, when he had it in his mouth, when it covered him as he slept.

Like scenes of a movie.
The visions are not as clear as before. The world moves on, everyone else is on to the newest movie. I know that I myself have to move on, my movie is not done. However, I will never forget the short movie that Julius made with me; it is and forever will be my greatest experience, my favorite.

I love and miss you, Julius.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Doing Good in Juju's Name Giveaway #1

well i'm really quite excited to be kicking off this new year doing meaningful things to honor my son, and hopefully bringing a smile to the face of another grieving mother. this is the start of what i hope to be monthly giveaways for this purpose. this month's giveaway is brought to you by my dear friend, Jessica, at Trev Trev Designs.

here's the backstory of how this giveaway came about:
a few weeks ago in the mail there was a small package. in that package was one of the most thoughtful presents i have received - this butterfly bracelet...

my friends tasha and jessica, wanting to give me a way to stay connected to Julius, thought of the concept for this bracelet, and jessica made it herself. not only did it come at just the right time {it came on the day that i had a breakdown because i received parenting magazine in the mail}, but it's also very meaningful to me since butterflies now hold a special place in my heart {thanks to rachel at Triplet Butterfly Wings}. she even customized the bracelet for Julius since the beads are the color of his birthstone - emerald. i wear it almost every day.

so when i first started thinking about doing a giveaway, i immediately thought about this bracelet and jessica. i have several pieces of jewelry that i wear that make me feel close to Juju and bring me comfort. and i wanted to give someone else that same feeling. especially since i know that butterflies have a special meaning to many BLMs. so i contacted jessica and asked her about her feelings on being included in one of my giveaways, and she graciously accepted. i truly am blessed with such great friends.

the giveaway:
this giveaway {for BLMs only, sorry} is for a customized butterfly bracelet, like the one i received. the winner will get to choose the bead color {check out the birthstone chart below for all of the cool options}, and Jessica will work directly with you to get the sizing of the bracelet correct.

how to enter:
all you have to do to enter is post the name(s) of your little one(s), and the dates that they were with you. if you have multiple angels, it's ok, add them all in the same comment. i hope each month to ask a different question about the little ones so that by the end of the year, i can learn all about your angels - Juju's friends. i will end the giveaway on friday jan 7th, and will post the winner's name that weekend. good luck!

**disclaimer: since this is my 1st ever giveaway, there may be pieces of info i accidentally forgot to mention. if you have any questions at all, no worries, send me an email and i will try to clear it up. i’m still learning.**