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'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.

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!