Thursday, December 27, 2012

triggers triggers everywhere

this morning, i opened my email to find a donation solicitation email with the subject line "Xander stopped breathing..." sent by the March of Dimes (though the sender's name was Jennifer Howse).

before i get on my soapbox, let me start off by saying that i respect MoD as an organization and i'm thankful to them for all of the research they do and support they give to families. i have several dear friends BLMs and non-BLMs that have benefited from the amazing work that MoD has done...

BUT i think that email was tasteless and insensitive. before i even realized it was from MoD, i thought it was from a parent who had recently lost her child, found my information through my blog, and was contacting me for support. my heart skipped a beat. i was immediately taken back to *that* day. the day that MY son stopped breathing. the day that my world shattered around me.

and though i'm happy that "xander" and his family had their "happy ending" as the email goes on to say, my son's story did not. he is gone. i'm broken hearted. and thinking that there was another family that was reaching out to me because they had lost their child, got me immediately emotional. to open that email and realize that they were only requesting a donation made me livid.

i have donated to MoD in the past without any problem. as i said before, i fully support them and their mission. but using that email subject line, in my opinion, to get a certain response from their reader is unacceptable. not everyone is going to have a positive reaction reading that. there are those of us who have lost children, and reading those words are hurtful. and i would think that an organization such as MoD would understand that - not every family has a happy ending, and some of those families are on their distribution list, unfortunately.

i have contacted MoD (by email/FB message), and have explained to them why i found their email hurtful. i know there are some that don't understand why it hurts me as much as it does, and that's ok. i'm not trying to launch an attack on them at all. but it is important for me to stand up for my grief, and to bring this issue to their attention. it helps lessen the pain they've caused me today.

Monday, December 17, 2012

christmas time is here...

it's hard for me to believe that once again it's christmas time. it hasn't really felt that way. the temperature has been on the warmer side, and since we don't watch tv i've avoided all of the christmas commercials. but this year, i have found myself being able to acknowledge the holiday, which is a dramatic difference from the last 2 years. i can actually say "merry christmas" to someone in response without cringing. and i caught myself last week actually singing a christmas song.

we have put up minimal decorations at our house. our rainbow is a bit too mischievous for us to put up an actual tree, and i really didn't have it in me to do it anyway. but D and i did buy a small ornament tree, which we have put up in the living room to display all of the ornaments that we have for Julius. i also decorated his spot on our dresser with garland. and because i didn't want baby girl to miss out on all of the holiday fun, i strung some lights in our bedroom around the doorway. she loves them.

however, just when i was starting to feel that the heavy burden of grief was lifting, and just as i was starting to see the world as a happier/friendlier place, i heard about the horrific shooting on friday. i will never understand this type of senseless violence. and as a person who has lost a child, and has experienced one of the most unnatural things ever, my heart breaks even further to think of those parents who received word of what had happened to their children. their precious, innocent, magical children. i really had to take a step back from reading/listening to the news and updates because it was making me physically ill. it takes me back to those 1st few months of my early grief when the weight of it all was so incredibly suffocating. to have your child taken from you in such a horrific way. i can't comprehend it. but my heart, my thoughts, and my prayers are with those families especially during this holiday season.

Friday, November 16, 2012

paralyzing fear

i'm slowly realizing that there may not be any end in sight to my living in fear. there is just no going back to the life of blissful ignorance once you have lost a child. i keep waiting for the day when i will breathe a sigh of relief *knowing* that our rainbow is safe and here for the long haul. we just marked her 10 month birthday. it was a day of many emotions. we've never gotten to double digits before. she is so grown, the oldest our babies have ever been. we were so happy to get to that point with her. and yet there was a deep pain in my heart because i could not say the same about my son, my first born baby boy.

it's so incredibly difficult to balance both of those emotions at once. and i am so incredibly jealous of those that don't have to think in these terms. why didn't my son make it to 10 months? why was his life cut so short? why are we left to pick up the pieces of our broken hearts and to figure out how to manage our grief and our pain? i know i will never get answers to these questions.

our girl does such an amazing job of making us smile every day. i depend on her and her existence in this world more than it's probably fair to and more than she will probably ever know or realize. i wonder if all of my clinginess to her is negatively affecting her. she develops more and more each day. she claps, she kisses, she screeches, she walks, she crawls, she has teeth. each and every moment we cherish and celebrate knowing that at any moment it could all be taken away from us.

and though i'm so happy to see her develop, each new stage brings with it it's own set of worries and fears. starting solids has made me freak out every moment that she might choke. i damn near chew pieces of food for her before giving it to her alicia silverstone-style. her learning to walk has me constantly on guard that she might fall and bump her head. i just can't relax. i guess all i can do is try to take it moment by moment. but sometimes living that way is exhausting as well.

tomorrow we will be traveling to spend the thanksgiving holiday with my in-laws. thanksgiving is incredibly hard for me as it is the first major holiday that passed after Julius passed away. it is crazy to me that we are now at a point that we can acknowledge the holiday with a little one in our arms. but we still desperately miss he little one we carry with us in our heart. i am really just hoping that we make it through next week in one piece. and that is my hope for all of my BLMs as well.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

grief new year

it's november. my grief new year. all of my big milestone days are done for 2012, and now the anticipation of his 3rd birthday begins. right now i am a little relieved, though, to be out of the month of october. i absolutely detest that month. but i am glad that we have all survived another october. i've wanted to blog about what we've been doing this month, but i really had no extra energy to spare.

i kept myself really busy, mostly as a distraction. it helped a bit, but when it comes down to it, nothing can make me forget the fact that my precious son passed away 2 years ago. it doesn't matter how many projects i take on.

early in october, a friend/local SIDS mom helped me plan a zumbathon to raise money for CJ Foundation and First Candle. it was so much work, planning and promoting that event, but it went SOOOO well! we had a really good turn out for our 1st zumbathon. and we raised over $500 that day. in total we raised $660 and sent $330 to both of those organizations. thank you to everyone who donated to our fundraiser!
during our zumbathon. we had over 50 people
the day of his angelversary, i really didn't have anything planned. last year we went to the zoo in nashville, and then had a little balloon release. i HAD to get out of this city on that day. this year, i didn't feel that urgency. but i did still feel the need to take off of work to stay close to my family, and i'm glad i did. we ended up going to the park that we were at the day before he passed away. the museum had FINALLY received and placed his brick the day before (after a year and a half almost), so i wanted to see it. and since it had taken so long, they generously refunded our money and gave us a 1 year membership to the museum, so we took a stroll of the museum afterward. and then had lunch at the restaurant connected to the museum that Julius and i stopped and ate at the day before he passed away. it was hard to go in, especially since i have avoided it all this time, but i'm glad we did (now my meal was a huge fail, but i'm not going to get into that one).
finally placed.
can't believe it's been 2 years since i kissed this boy.
our rainbow has been keeping us incredibly busy. she is on the brink of walking, and is really all over the place. her diva nature is coming out more and more. she's hilarious. so updating when i get home is just not going to happen. she requires all of my attention and focus (and i gladly oblige). but even with her at home with us, the weight of absence is GREATLY felt. and we try constantly to keep him present in our daily lives and to make it feel like we are bringing him with us instead of leaving him behind.

everyone knows my obsession with Paul Frank's Julius the monkey. well, i found this shirt at target a few weeks ago and had to buy it. there is actually a whole line of PF sleepwear. i loved it all, but just ended up getting this shirt. which worked out well, because a few days later, my amazing coworker bought me another shirt and pants. so i wear Julius to bed every night now.

and speaking of PF, i found the PF fan page on FB, and "liked" it. really i felt like an idiot for not finding it earlier. not sure why it never crossed my mind to look for it. anyway, while looking through the page, my heart just started to swell. his name, of course, was all over the page thanks to Julius the monkey. so i took a couple of minutes to write a little something on the page to let the people at PF know how much Julius means to me. and they responded!!!! i love them even more now.

Julius remembers my Julius!

i've also been working on some DIY crafts from that i've found on pinterest - DIY sharpie mug.

my Julius mug. just write on a mug with sharpie and bake in over at 350
this month was difficult, and with the holidays approaching, i know there are still difficult days ahead of me this year. i'm torn because i desperately want to experience the holiday season with our rainbow, but i miss my son, wish he were here, and hope that he isn't forgotten by anyone. i guess i just hope that our girl's presence doesn't overshadow the existence of our boy. it's just a tough balance, and i really wish i didn't have to deal with this. i just wish so much that this wasn't my reality and that Julius was here.

pic we took during our family pics in sept.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


...does *that* day have to roll around again? why hasn't someone removed it from the calendar already? in just 2 short days, it will be Julius' angelversary. 2 years ago i survived the worst thing anyone can experience - the death of their child. i still can't wrap my mind around the fact that it's been that long. when i think back on that day, which i try my hardest not to do, i can still feel that raw, intense pain. i still remember some parts with such vividness that it makes me feel like it just happened yesterday.

and yet i look at where i am in life, and can't believe that i have made it this far. i can't believe i have survived this, or "continue to survive this" i should say. our girl is still here with us, growing, thriving, making us run circles around her. she has turned 9 months - double the age Julius lived to be. oh, she makes us happier than we have been since we lost him. but, my goodness, do we miss him still - even more actually.

this year i have no plans for that day. last year i felt the urgency to get out of town, so D and i went to the nashville zoo a few hours away. the zoo packed full of children, and me heavily pregnant and grieving. i didn't think i'd be able to do it, but we actually had a decent time. this year, while i don't feel the need to get out of town, i know that i can't go through my typical routine. so i will be taking time to do something different. just not sure what...

i've been so engrossed in planning our fundraiser zumbathon (we called it "ZumbAway SIDS") which took place last weekend, that i have not had time to make plans for *that* day. the zumbathon was amazing, better than i could have ever hoped for. we had a great turnout, and plan to do it annually. working on that was a great distraction from the reality of what was/is approaching. but now it's over. and it's back to reality...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

desperately hanging on...

going into this year, and the birth of our rainbow, though i was excited to meet her and become an earthly momma again, i was terrified of having to let go of Julius. i knew that our lives would become so wrapped up in our baby girl, and i was just worried that i wouldn't be able to "mother" Julius and his legacy the same way i did in 2011.

i have been lucky this year, in that i've been able to do several things to honor my son (including the conference we went to last month). i'm actually in the midst of planning another one. a local SIDS mom, and dear friend (and fellow Zumba instructor), and i are planning a Zumbathon "ZumbAway SIDS" that will take place on Oct 6th. 2 straight hours of zumba! and all the proceeds will be going to both First Candle and CJ Foundation for SIDS.

so if you are in the local area, please join us!! if you are not, you can still donate. just go to our site and click the donate link on the right hand side. no amount is too small, seriously!

o, and did you know that Julius has made his way to mcdonald's? my dear coworker brought me the happy meal box. i don't usually frequent there, but i just might now (well, until they stop giving away Julius toys)...

i may be a momma desperate to hold on, but i like to think that Julius is sending me a sign that he's near me - near us - always. i'd like to think that he's letting me know that i don't have to worry about ever letting him go, because he won't be letting go of me either. :')

Monday, September 10, 2012

we keep pressing on...

last week was hard, emotionally.

our little one got sick for the 1st time. she had a tummy bug. i got the call from D at work that she had thrown up and wasn't feeling well. and the panic started. despite his urging me to stay at work, i packed up my things to head home. but i was paralyzed by fear. i didn't want to leave. the last time i got a phone call at work (on the same day of the week, no less) that there was something wrong with my baby, i ended up going home from the hospital empty-handed, broken-hearted, and devastated.

but i gathered up all the courage i had and headed home, crying all the way there. when i got there, and saw my baby looking so tired and pitiful, i lost it. i was so sure that this was the day that i had been dreading since i found out i was pregnant with her - the day she would be leaving us too. and after i freaked out, i calmed down enough to scoop her in my arms. i begged her to eat something. i kissed her over and over, and ran my fingers through her hair.

she continued refusing to eat, and throwing up. and i prepared myself for the thought of having to take her to a hospital. but eventually we forced her to take some pedialyte. and then little by little she came around and eventually nursed. by evening she was looking much better and acting more normal. by the next morning, she was pretty much back to normal. but my heart and head felt as though they were on the brink of exploding.

i took the next day off of work to recuperate.

a few days later, she turned 8 months old - another milestone day i never made it to with Julius. but i was on my high of thankfulness that we had made it that far. and in the midst of the happiness, i found the pad of paper that D began writing his eulogy for Julius' service. and the spiral began again.

needless to say that by the end of the week, i was completely exhausted. i am thankful that little girl only had a tummy bug, and that we have made it to 8 months with her. i know there will be other instances in which she will get sick or hurt, and i dread each one. but i hope that eventually i will be able to react to the situation without having my PTSD take over and get the best of me. until then, with the help of D and Julius, i will keep pressing on.

Monday, August 27, 2012

the conference

last week was the conference.
it was hard, but not as bad as i thought it would be.
a few people did say things that made me cringe, including 1 "everything happens for a reason" (ugh!)
but for the most part, i got to share my amazing boy with those in attendance, so it was worth it.
thank you to everyone that posted, sent me a message, or thought about us.
i felt the love surrounding me, which, no doubt, got me through the day.

our setup

manning the table
the 4 of us

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

i need you, my love

Dear Juji Muji,

I miss you. Tomorrow we will be attending the SIDS conference on behalf of our non-profit, and I'm so nervous. We've been so busy getting ready for it that it hasn't really registered what we will be doing. I'm not really sure what to expect. But I know that it will be a day of thinking of you, and what happened on the absolute worst day of our lives. It will be a day of reliving the day my heart literally broke in half. I'm hoping that I won't be asked about that day too much. But that I will get to do a lot of bragging about my firstborn baby boy, and his very meaningful life.

our display board for the conference

You aren't here with us physically, but you are deeply missed. You are constantly thought about. You are forever loved and cherished. Though your life was so incredibly short, you had such a profound, lasting impact on us and the world.

I wish I could kiss your sweet face again.
I wish I could brush your curly hair again.
I wish I could cuddle all 19lbs of your delicious chubbiness again.
I wish I could stick my nose in your neck rolls and breathe in your wonderful baby smells again.

But until then, I will keep working on things that bring me close to you. Until then, I will brag and talk about you to anyone who will listen. Until then, I will tell your little sister all about you...

the 3 of us

Help me get through tomorrow, please. Stay extra close to me and surround me with your love.

I miss you and love you so much,

Friday, August 10, 2012

Giving back with Stella & Dot: Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope

as i mentioned in my last post, i recently became a Stella & Dot stylist. i was trying to figure out how i could incorporate my baby boy, and use this new journey for good, and then it hit me. fundraising! so i got in contact with the lovely kristin, founder of Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope, and asked if she would allow me to throw her an online "trunk show" to raise money for FOLFOH.

i know for me personally, kristin and FOLFOH have done so much for us. i'm so thankful to her for starting that amazing organization, and giving all of us BLMs a way to connect, and talk about our precious children. so i am truly honored to be able to do this for FOLFOH. plus, kristin is just an amazing person, period. and i'm glad that i have had the privilege of meeting her in person.

so please check out kristin's online trunk show benefiting Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope at this link ( i will be donating 50% of the proceeds FOLFOH {please make sure to purchase through the link posted for it to count}.

and if you are wondering if there is anything you could get from S&D to honor your little one/loved one, the answer is YES. S&D's new charms collection is such a great way to tell your story, as they can be personalized. i got charms to represent both of my babies, and love it.

the angel wing is called "watch over you" and represents Julius. the shoe is called "pitter patter" and represents baby girl.
a big "thank you" to kristin and FOLFOH for all they do for grieving families. and even bigger "thank you" in advance to everyone for your support!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

my space for my son..............and other updates

i don't know what it is, but in the last couple of weeks i have had several emails from people/organizations trying to get me to promote them or their products. so i thought i would start this post off, with a little message:

please please please leave me alone! this space is for my son. this space started off being about my life with him, and is now about coping with life without him. it's about remembering how he brightened my world all 135 days of his very short life. it's about mothering him and his memory from afar. so while i'm glad you found my blog, and you enjoy my style of writing (???), i'm not at all interested in promoting your website, or product. i'm not interested in doing a review for halloween costumes (seriously?), or puzzles, or anything else you are trying to sell. please respect my space, and my son!

whew, ok, i'm glad i got that off of my chest....

it's been a while since i've posted last. life has hit us hard. at times it's been very hard for me to keep up with everything. work is still stressful. little girl is still as hyper as always, and is becoming increasingly mobile (read, pulling herself up and trying to walk!!!). and on top of that i've been working on a couple of projects.

the first one fell in my lap last week. and i've been scrambling to prepare for it. i just found out that there is going to be a SIDS conference in Montgomery at the end of the month, and was invited to participate on behalf of our newly incorporated organization In His Name - The JLT Foundation. i had to think about this long and hard since 1) it means the whole family schlepping down to Montgomery for a day or two and me taking off of work, and 2) i KNOW it's going to be a very intense day for me since i will be doing a lot of talking about my son (not the hard part) and that day (the hard part). but in the end, i felt like i have to go. besides the obvious of just being able to tell my son's story, it will be a way for In His Name to begin forging relationships with people in the medical community across the state so that we can help other families that have experienced what we have (and those families yet to come).

the second project has been a breath of fresh air for me. this has been the 1st time since Julius passed away that i have taken time to do something for me. i recently became a Stella & Dot stylist. it also happened rather quickly - too quickly for me to really realize what i was doing. but it has done my spirit some good. i'm also working on putting together a couple of charity events so that i can give back to those organizations that have done so much for me during the darkest time of my life (one happening very soon, but i'm not going to spill the beans just yet), so i'm excited to see where this new journey takes me. but i know that even this will be done with my baby boy in mind. he is my motivation for everything, and i will even sell jewelry with him in mind. :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

life these days

it's hard to believe that it's been over a month since i last posted here. life has been so incredibly busy these days. i don't know where the month of june went.

our baby girl has hit the six month mark, and has been keeping us on our toes. she amazes us more and more every day. Julius sent us such a perfect gift in her. she is hitting developmental milestones that we never got to with Julius, so it's also been very bittersweet. i tear up constantly when i think about how thankful i am for her presence in my life. she is helping me navigate through life without my son - not replacing, just assisting my heart through this painful journey. i am having more moments where i feel as though i'm living instead of just surviving. where i feel as though i have energy to care about things i once could not.

i don't think i'm any less terrified of losing her now that we've passed the 4.5 month mark. but the fear is not as suffocating as it once was. my heart is more hopeful these days of a future with her. and i continue to take things one step/day/breath at a time. i try to make my moments count with her. i try to relay to her just how much we all love her. and i feel like she is trying to express to us how much she loves us too. she, like her brother, loves to be held and kissed, and we do it often.

her baptism was 2 weekends ago. it was a very different experience than what we had with Julius. our church has baptisms every sunday, so you can potentially have your child's baptism with multiple families. we were lucky with Julius as he was the only child being baptized the day he was baptized. and he had not only the parish pastor baptize him, but the associate pastor was there observing (he was new at the time). it was very intimate, and looking back it was perfect. our baby girl's baptism was much less intimate because there was another family. it was still a very special occasion, of course, just different.

my parents came up for the week, which was nice. and we got a lot of things done around the house (they like to be put to work). we got most of the inside of the house painted. and i finally got to put up the wall decal i had customized for him. i also got a lot of work done in his garden which had gone neglected for some time because of my being pregnant, winter, taking care of baby girl, and intense heat.

i carry your heart in my heart...

the other thing that i've been extrememly busy working on is trying to get our non-profit (In His Name) up and running. i'm so proud to announce that we have finished the state portion, and are an official corporation here in AL. Our official name is "In His Name - The Julius Luciano Torres Foundation." the next step is filling out the paperwork to become a tax exempt non-profit with the federal government. The paperwork is much more tedious, but i'm hopeful that we can get it done in the next few months. it's been very meaningful and rewarding for me to be able to work on this. it brings me closer to him, and makes me feel as though i'm mothering him in my own way.

Monday, June 4, 2012

his day in pictures

thank you all so much for all of your thoughts and prayers, and most importantly for remembering our son with us! i could not have gotten through that day without you all. even though the weeks leading up to his birthday were so emotional, his day was peaceful {the anticipation of the day is always far worse for me than the actual day}. and i'm always determined to make his birthday a day of celebrating his life and the impact he has had on me, our family, and the world.

we spent the day in the park - "his park" - the park that he and i were at the day before he passed away. i have not been to that park since we were there last. i wasn't sure i was going to be able to do it. the plan was to go there and to find the brick that we had engraved for him through our local museum of art. in the end, we weren't able to find the brick because turns out someone dropped the ball on that and it *still* has not been placed after a year {boo!!}. but we are working with them to have that corrected asap. and we did not let it ruin his day. we actually got free admission into the museum that day while we waited for someone to research what had happened {thanks to D for deciding to make them aware of it that day like the protective daddy that he is}. and we got a little sign from him while in the museum!

when we came home, we had dinner {KFC for me}! i made his cake with fondant {though i bought the pre-rolled fondant at the craft store}.  and we spent the end of the day like we had spent the rest of the day - together as a family!

his memorial ad in the paper on his birthday
me and little sis in the park

Julius making his presence known to us at the museum

dinner! what i had after giving birth to my boy

the cake i made for him

inside the cake

his special candle lit for him
a million "thank you's" to everyone who sent pics with Julius' name!!!! i will be starting a photo album dedicated to all of the keepsake pictures i have been sent. if you would like to help me fill his album, i would be forever grateful. just send the pics to me and i will add them in!

thank you mary!

thank you mary!

thank you melissa and Charlotte!

thank you chantel!

thank you lauren!

thank you rona!

thank you brooke!

thank you rebecca!

thank you beth!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Happy 2nd Birthday!

Dear Julius,

Happy Birthday! Words fail me. Everything I want to say, I feel I have said a million times. We miss you. We love you. We wish you were here. Today we celebrate your life, the time we had with you, and the way you changed the world. I hope wherever you are, you are safe and happy and know just how much you are loved and adored. I'm incredibly proud to call you my son.

Love always,

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Right Where I Am: 1 year, 7 months, 3 weeks, 2 days

i don't understand how it's been almost a year since i made this post. in fact, i was so shocked when i saw that some of my blogger friends were making new posts, convinced that surely a whole year had not passed. i was wrong, it has.

so where am i on my grief journey currently? well, today is the day before my son's 2nd birthday. i'm still broken shattered. the past few days my heart has been heavier than normal, and i've been weepier (is that even a word?) than normal. i just miss him so intensely, and i wish more than anything that he was here with us.

this last year we have gone through so many transitions. we had just celebrated Julius' 1st birthday without him, and discovered that i was pregnant for the 2nd time weeks before i wrote the last post. since then we marked his angelversary, i gave birth to his baby sister, and she  has now officially outlived him.

my grief has taken so many shapes in that year. during my pregnancy i became very withdrawn. pregnancy itself leaves a person with very little energy. but pregnancy, on top of grief left me feeling so incredibly run down. i only had enough energy to do the bear minimum. i kept myself so busy, maybe too busy, that if/when i did have "free time" it was spent laid up on the couch watching tv and trying to recouperate. i avoided people as much as i could because i just couldn't deal with the well-wishes, or questions about my pregnancy, since i was sure that those questions would lead to me telling Julius' story.

after she was born, despite being excited that she was now with us, i was full of dread. again, it's hard enough to deal with the recovery process of labor/birth and everything that goes along with breastfeeding, but to do all of that while grieving left me feeling overwhelmed. and again, we spent most of the time in the house, withdrawn from the outside world. in my mind, the countdown had begun, and i still wasn't emotionally ready to deal with the well-wishes, and superficial conversation about babies.

it has only been recently that i've been feeling that i'm finally finding my footing {though typing those words causes a surge of anxiety within me as though i'm going to jinx something}. our baby girl has been keeping us busy, and making us laugh. she has brought healing to our hearts, and joy to our home. but every single moment of happiness and shear bliss, is followed by a twinge of pain because Julius is not with us. we are missing out on so much without him. she has exponentially increased the love in our hearts, but she does not erase the pain of his loss {nor would i want her to}.

i still feel that ebb and flow of grief. some days are easier to deal with than others. because of his birthday tomorrow the days have been harder to get through. but what hasn't changed since the last time i posted is that, despite once thinking that i would never make it if anything ever happened to my child, i continue to survive this, taking things one day at a time. all the while thankful for the chance to love him, even for a short while, in person, and eternally in my heart.

Monday, May 21, 2012

planning a birthday party

dammit, this is not the way it should be. i go back and forth between sadness and anger, oh, and denial.
i just still can't believe that i have to celebrate my son's life without him...again.

we have survived several milestones already. today baby girl has already outlived her brother. but i continue to step cautiously through the rest of this month, because, well, i know that we are not spared any further suffering or heartache, so i'm still on guard.

i have just now started to get things together for his special day (mostly because i noticed that the days continued to pass by even though i didn't want them to). i haven't done TOO much planning, but i have nailed down the theme:

did you know that that paul frank monkey is named Julius???? i found out shortly after my boy passed away. and now i'm obsessed. seriously. and thanks to target for feeding my obsession as Julius is

so we will have a Julius cake (and i'm deciding whether i want to attempt making fondant). i'm planning on getting us some Julius gear to wear (i found a really cute shirt for me and onesie for the girl). we will light his candle. there will be a balloon release. definitely some KFC for dinner (i had that after i gave birth to him). lots of snuggles with our girl. lots of talking about our boy. i will be taking the day off of work, and staying close to my little family. and i have already ordered his memorial ad with our paper, which will run the day before. so my plans are coming together. but i have a favor to ask...

i would love if you all will help me celebrate my son's life as well. i finally started to print out all of the name gallery pics that we have had done for him, and that other people have sent us. like

and will be placing them all in a photo album just for him which i will fill up throughout the years, considering i won't get to fill an album with recent pics of him. anway, if you would like to help me with this project i would be forever grateful. all you have to do is write my son's name in some creative way (really any way will do), take a pic, and send it to me. it would mean so so much!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

To the boy who made me a mom

Dear Julius,
I miss you so much. Thank you for making me a mom. Thank you for giving me purpose. Thank you for making my world better. Even though our time here was cut so short, my love for you is eternal, and it grows exponentially each day. You are my child forever, and I'm your mom. Stay extra close to me as I get through this day without you.

Loving you always,

Friday, May 11, 2012

let me give your heart a break

yesterday while listening to the radio, a line in one of the songs i was listening to caught my attention: "let me give your heart a break."

as yet another mother's day descends upon us, that is what i wish i could do for all of my fellow bereaved mothers. i wish i could give your hearts a break. i wish i could take away some of the pain that we all feel on a daily basis grieving our children. i wish that we all got a lifetime pass from ever having to deal with any kind of suffering or loss again after losing our children.

but unfortunately that is not the case. i don't know why but in the last couple of weeks it feels as though i have heard quite a few stories of loss, some families that have experienced this intense pain for the first time, and some families that, heartbreakingly, have had to go through the pain of loss again.

to all of you out there that are hurting:

i'm sorry.

i hope this mother's day is gentle.

i wish i could give your heart a break.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

broken hearted

i intended to post something very different today, but then i found out that one of my dear blogger friends and BLM has lost her rainbow baby. the one she was expecting to hold in her arms very soon. the one that we have been rooting for her to be able to bring home and love on, and tell all about her amazing brother.

i didn't know it was possible for my already broken heart to break some more. i feel like running out into the parking lot and screaming. how can this happen again to someone so good, so loving, so deserving of happiness? it makes me sick sometimes to think about how unfair life can be. if you have a minute, please send up some thoughts and prayers for my friend and her family who are starting their grief journey for their second child while they continue to mourn their son.

thinking of my dear friend and her amazing angels Liam and Evelynn...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

mother's day

first i want to say thank you to everyone that weighed in on my picture frame issue. i still haven't finalized what i'm going to do, but i think i'm going to do something for both of them in that corner (DIY photo canvases perhaps, thank you pinterest). and pack his picture frame away (but i think i will fill it with his birth - 4 month pictures first. i need to).

well in a few more days, may will be upon us. i almost had a panic attack in the car thinking of all the milestone days in that one month: bereaved mother's day, mother's day, baby girl turning 4 months, baby girl turning 4.5 months, Julius' birthday, and his 19 month angelversary. my goodness, if i wasn't nursing i would be tempted to stock the fridge full of wine to help me deal with this next month.

but in the midst of all the anxiety and worry, i am oddly excited for mother's day this year. this will be the 1st year that i don't feel like a fraud (and of course i'm assuming that we are all still here by then and that no major devastation has made it's way into our lives again). now before anyone has the urge to go all "polyanna" on me, please understand that i know i am and always will be a mother. even after Julius passed away i still considered myself a mother. but i felt like a phoney. i had no one to mother on this side. and so i mothered (and still do) his memory/legacy. but i desperately wanted him, and wanted so bad to do all of those things that go along with being a mother.

in 2010 i was weeks away from birthing my baby boy. in 2011 i was a bereaved mom who had JUST found out i was pregnant again for the 2nd time (my mother's day gift from my son). so i was a mother to 2 children, but neither of them were physically present. and this year i may actually get to experience my first mother's day as an earthly mom.

i've got big plans for that day, which begins with D serving me a big breakfast in bed (though i haven't mentioned that part to him). then, the lighting of Julius' candle. after that will be the presentation of gifts (i'm thinking a piece of personalized jewelry that has both of my children's names on it. again i haven't run that by D). and finally, the part that will take up the rest of the day, snuggling in bed with my little girl - that never gets old. now all i have to do is make it to that day. which sometimes seems like the hardest part.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

forever 4 months old

some of my most vivid memories of Julius were the days that we hit his monthly birthday. i would get him all dolled up in his onesie, and proudly affix the month sticker on him. then i'd position him in the glider and take picture after picture of him from every angle possible. i'd spend a majority of the time begging him to smile for me. but when that camera was in his face, he was mesmerized, focusing on nothing else.

one of the gifts we got during one of his baby showers was a first year picture frame with 12 openings to insert his monthly pictures. i hung it right away. and every day since he left us, it has tortured me. though i took 4 monthly pictures, i never got around to filling the frame. and then when he was gone, i became painfully away that i would never get to complete the frame with him. but the thought of taking the frame down hurt my heart even more. so i left it on the wall.

our little girl is here now, and i struggle with thoughts of what to do with that frame. do i fill it with her pictures? do i leave it untouched? do i put a side-by-side picture of both of them up until the 4 month mark where his monthly pictures end? of course all the while, praying and begging the universe that i will get to have more than 4 pictures with her. it's so terribly hard to make decisions like this without feeling torn. and i now realize that it may be a LONG time before i'm able to make any decision for her without feeling guilt that i'm not doing the same for him. hopefully one day i'll get there.

i downloaded an app for my phone that allows me to make little photo collages. i started doing a comparison from month to month of our babies. and then decided to do one of Julius from month 1 - 4. it was hard to do, and i still have moments where it's hard to look at. but i can't help but smile. my little boy was so very handsome. and god do i miss him.

Friday, April 6, 2012

almost 2 years old

these days the sounds of baby cries and coos reverberate off of the walls of our home. these days we have sleepless nights, we "ooo" and "ahhhh" over someone's every movement. we rejoice joyfully over milestones. yet our heart still breaks. he is still missing. and to be honest, watching her grow and develop her own personality, which is that of a diva no doubt, makes it SO much harder for my heart to understand how he could be here one moment and gone the next.

Julius' 2nd birthday is coming up next month. once again i find myself dreading the month of may. this should be the month in which i celebrate all that my baby boy has accomplished in 2 years of life, and wonder what he will be like during the "terrible twos". he will forever be 4.5 months old to us. our "future" with him, cut so very short. i'm not sure what we will do to honor him during that month or on his special day, and i'm a bit stressed just thinking about it.

last week we were out shopping for clothes for me as my wardrobe had shrunk considerably due to my post pregnancy/birthing body. D was wearing our girl in the baby carrier, and is usually the case when we are out, people were stopping us to check her out and ask questions. in one store we went in, one of the employees asked her age. when we told her she said, "awww, i miss that age. i have a 2 year old now." we smiled politely and nodded, and then i had to duck into one of the sections and catch my breath. i would have an almost 2 year old. and i miss what could have been.

Monday, March 19, 2012

i miss you

Dear Julius,

Baby boy, we miss and love you so deeply. Your little sister has been keeping us so busy, as I'm sure you know. You definitely sent us the perfect little girl. She is hilarious and constantly keeps us laughing. I know that you knew we needed someone exactly like her.

Last week Daddy's family came to visit your sister. It was nice that they came, but it was definitely a bittersweet feeling for us. The last time they came to visit was for your memorial service, and the time before that it was to meet you for the 1st (and only) time. Watching them play with and admire your sister brought us much joy and much sadness because we felt your absence so deeply. But of course, you were not forgotten. We get so much joy out of talking about you, and how different you and your sister are. I just know that if you were here you would be staring at her like "why is this chick so weird?"

We are so blessed that you and your sister decided to make us earthly parents again. We are cherishing every moment with her. I find myself kissing her like crazy (I'm surprised I haven't rubbed her skin raw with all the kisses, but I have to make sure I get in my kisses for me and you), and shoving my nose into her neck and inhaling the wonderful baby smell that I have missed so much. Most of the time I get a whiff of that sour milk smell that sometimes gets trapped in the neck rolls, but it makes me laugh and think of you (you taught Daddy and I that you have to definitely clean out those neck rolls).

The next couple of months will be emotionally difficult for us. We are headed towards your 2nd birthday, and your sister will also be the same age you were when you passed away that month. My anxiety levels are through the roof, and I know as the days draw closer, it will  only get worse. Please help me get through this, and please stay extra close to me during this time. I miss you more than words can say, we all do.

Loving you eternally,

Thursday, February 23, 2012

my beautiful dream

the past couple of days have been incredibly emotional/tough. yesterday i sat baby girl on my lap and we watched a couple of Julius' videos. i haven't had the courage to watch any of his videos since shortly after he passed away. and though i wasn't feeling completely up to it, i just wanted to remember. i wanted to see him moving and cooing. i wanted to hear his voice. i feel like his presence here was a dream, a beautiful dream. and i had to remind myself that he was real.

it was so hard to watch him in all of those familiar places (most to which she's already been) and acting like a tiny baby. by the time i was done looking at the videos, tears were streaming down my face as she sat there oblivious. i just want him back. i want him here with me, with us.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

profound words

i haven't been able to update as much as i would like to. but life has been hectic (in a great way of course). we have pretty much been cooped up in the house enjoying our time together. of course this also means that our days are blurring into each other. a typical day consists of waking up, feeding our girl, fighting with D over who gets to love on her when she isn't nursing, and sleeping. i'm sure there is some other stuff i'm leaving out, but it really isn't that important.

she has been keeping us incredibly busy. and has brought some much needed joy and laughter into our lives. it's hilarious to see her little personality develop. i see so much of Julius in her, but at the same time she makes it abundantly clear to us that she is her own person, not to be confused with her brother. she is definitely much sassier than he. and there is no doubt that, like her brother, she already has us wrapped around her finger.  

anyway, over the passed few weeks i have come across some words/passages i wanted to share. so i thought i would take a minute to do that before i forgot all together.

i know this made it's way on several blogs, but i also wanted to post it. i know many people know franchesca from small bird studios (and the mother of Jenna). a few weeks ago, she wrote the post when you lose a baby. if you haven't read it yet, please do.


i read this next blog post {called "on the complications of living} here.

"Sometimes I think the greatest crime perpetrated against people in pain is the idea that they need to be healed of their suffering, that their suffering is somehow an affront to non-suffering people. She’s playing the victim again, we say scornfully. Oh my god, it’s been ten years since that happened! Why doesn’t she get over it! Time, we are certain, will lead to healing, and people are just being stubborn if it doesn’t...

It means that we don’t ever heal, because we can’t. Because no matter how much you badger us, we know that it is never going to be okay, what happened. What we are going to do is learn to live with it, although sometimes we don’t even manage that very well."

a  few weeks ago, i finished the book "knocked up, knocked down" by monica lemoine.

it's a really honest, heart-wrenching memoir of her experience dealing with several pregnancy losses and the stillbirth of their son. although we lost Julius in a different way than she lost her children, some of the things she said really resonated with me. especially this one excerpt:

"getting a grim prognosis is so bewildering compared to how i always imagined it would be, so anti-climactic...sure, you've got doctors dishing out facts and numbers - but nobody offers up any simple formulas for consuming those facts, digesting them.the bad news just gets dropped on top of your head like a big, confusing shit sundae: BOO-YA. and guess who gets to deal with the mess? not your mom, not your friends, not God, not your teacher, not your maid, not your dog. nope; it's all you. you, you, you."

the other day i was catching up on some of the blogs that i follow, and i was so happy to see this post made by Cora's mom, Kristine. she has taken the time to write up an ebook entitled, "when a friend's baby dies (helping your friend after babyloss)" based on her experience losing Cora. i know i wish i had had this ebook to read before we lost Julius and after my dear friend rebecca lost her precious baby girl. and so many of my friends have admitted while reaching out to us, that they didn't really know what to do or say. so i think it's amazing that this resource now exists. you can download the ebook for free from her blog (the link above should take you there), or you can go to amazon and download to your kindle (i think it costs $.99 to do it that way though).

edited to add: i knew i was going to forget about something i wanted to share. i also wanted to share brooke's post, "on choosing love again". i found myself nodding in agreement the whole time, feeling as though i could have written that post myself. of course she is much more eloquent than i. this passage especially resonated with me.

"I think now, though, that opening yourself up to the possibility of having another baby, or resigning yourself to the understanding that you won't try to have another baby, both of those are profound choices and huge acts of love.  Either way, your life has gone down a path you never wanted to travel, a path you would have resisted with every fiber of your being, kicking and screaming if you'd been given the option.  Either way, you have to find a way to look forward, to sort through the pain until you find a reason to go on.  And in order to go forward, you have to let go of something.  Not your loved one, but maybe your fear of leaving them behind.

I wanted another baby, and I know that I'm lucky to have that possibility.  Luckier than many who are equally or more deserving.  I wanted another baby because Eliza had made me a mom and that experience had changed me forever.  It was like my heart knew, even though it never really occurred to my brain, that while one child cannot replace another, the only thing that helps this kind of hurt is to experience more love.  Another love won't leave Eliza behind.  How could it, when she's wedged in that tender, broken, beautiful spot in the center of my heart?  The one that's stitched up with silver thread?"
i especially love the line in bold. that one line summarizes everything for me. i never knew why, when i was so unsure about everything else in my life, i was SO sure about having another child after Julius. thank you, brooke, for putting into words what i could not.
 and finally i leave you with this pin that i found and that says exactly how i am feeling at this moment.

Monday, January 23, 2012

grief video

my dear friend, mary, posted this video on her blog this morning, and it was so good i thought i would share. this short animated video illustrates some of the awkward conversations grieving mothers have had.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

my heart still aches

right now, i'm sitting in bed with my laptop set up on my breakfast tray table writing this post with a little girl asleep in my lap. i'm listening to one of the sweetest sounds in the world - her breathing. i'm thankful for her and all of the joy and laughter that she has brought into our lives in the short time she has been here. and often i glance across the room at the huge blowup canvas photo of her brother, trying to see the similarities in their features, and wondering what he would be doing/saying if he were here.

i miss him so much. i knew i would. i know that one child does not replace another. but that doesn't stop the hurting, or the longing for him. i think there are some people that think that just because you have gone on to have another child {after you've lost} that you are "moving on" with your life, or that you are suddenly healed of the pain. some people, once uncomfortable around you because of your sadness, now think that it is "safe" to come around again. surely i am in a "better/happier" place now that our little girl has been born.

o, there is no doubt at all that i am happier. this tiny person has made us the happiest we have been since october 12, 2010. i feel my heart expanding daily with such intense love and devotion for her. the feeling is incredible. and i beg and plead with whoever is running the show to give us the opportunity to watch this tiny person grow into a big person. but that does not now or ever negate the feeling of intense sadness i feel that my son never got the chance to grow into a big person. her presence does not "fix" our broken hearts or cancel out our love for him.

yes, she makes us happy. but he does as well. i won't stop talking about him because she is here. i'm not going to take down his pictures to put up hers {of course i will put her's up in addition to his}. yes, i will have happier days {i hope} because of her. but i will have sad days too because of his absence. so, while on the outside it may appearance like the "coast is clear," i can assure you that the grief is far from over.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


today is my 31st birthday. i read over the post i made last year about turning 30. this year the feelings going into today were drastically different from last year. last year i was just 3 months into my grief journey, and not at all interested in acknowledging or celebrating the day. now 15 months in, i'm still not much for "celebrating" but didn't mind too much having others acknowledge my birthday.  i spent the day at home, hanging out with D, with a candle lit for our boy, and snuggling with our little girl, the newest member of our family - Juju's little sister. fully aware of the fact that someone special is missing, but feeling completely surrounded by love nonetheless. and so very thankful that these 3 special people make up my little family.

yes you read that correctly, and no you didn't miss the announcement. D and i recently welcomed our 2nd child into the world. and she has been such a light in our lives in the midst of the darkness. i have several reasons why i decided to be private about this pregnancy. but mostly it's just been too hard for me to deal with the continued grief, and all of the emotions that went along with being pregnant after losing a child.

so what will happen to Julius' blog? well, grief is an ongoing process, so i will definitely keep this blog dedicated to grieving my son. baby girl's journey will be kept separate in a private blog that i started for her shortly after i found out i was pregnant with her. she may make an appearance or two in this blog, but only in regard to our family grieving Julius {she is part of our grief journey too now}.

we are incredibly excited to be earthly parents again and to now be a family of 4 {though we desperately wish all of our family was here}. but to be honest, we are also terrified. once you lose a child, i think you always fear the possibility of having to face that pain again. so please keep us in your thoughts and prayers...