Thursday, March 31, 2011


Peanut -

Today is the Cardinals' home opener.  As we've done every year since we started dating, Dadda and I are heading to the game.  But this year's celebration is bittersweet because we don't have you.

Two years ago, I was pregnant and battling morning sickness at the game.  It was freezing cold, snowing/raining and the only thing I could stomach?  Chocolate chip cookies.  But I was so excited about YOU.  So joyful because we were just past the first trimester, and you were a healthy baby...I didn't even know we were having a boy at that point.

Last year you spent the day with grandma and grandpa while Dadda and I enjoyed a day out in the gorgeous weather.  We were so excited about our wonderful new life, with this amazing little boy.  While at the game we bought you a cool "Future STL Cardinals MVP" baseball cap, in anticipation of taking you to the Kid's Home Opener that weekend...and what we thought would be years of games to come.  But, that's not the hand we were dealt.

Today is a sad day for me.  I'm trying hard to find joy in the memories, but the start of baseball season makes your loss even more real, more sharp.  I looked back at the the pictures we took before your very first baseball game, and have shared a few below.  Please, come to the game with us today.

Love and miss you terribly -


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Granny Smith Apples

Peanut -

Dadda and I had a night out tonight, as we prep for opening day of baseball season.  More about that to come tomorrow.  But tonight, knowing we aren't working tomorrow, we allowed ourselves the space to 1) enjoy our favorite Mexican restaurant (Vallarta) mid-week, 2) spend a lot of time remembering you and 3) try a new drink.

Vallarta holds a special place in our hearts.  They took care of us when we were dating, pregnant, after we had a crazy, rice-throwing toddler, and now in our sorrow.  They also hosted your first birthday party!  What a wonderful, caring group of people.  Very much family to us.

Dadda and I shared stories about you all evening.  You were so easy, happy, joyful and special.  You taught us so many lessons about giving everyone love and hugs.  I can't imagine anyone finding more joy in life than you...and you showed me I have more love in my heart than I ever imagined.  Thanks to you for the door you opened in my heart.  We WILL try to have more children.  To honor you.

Finally, we bought some Granny Smith Apple Cider as a funny, bittersweet reminder of our little boy who loved - LOVED - to eat.  And, loved Granny Smith apples with peanut butter.  How appropriate, my Peanut!  It reminds me of the fun meal times we had.  You brought laughter to every moment.  How amazing and rare.

My heart aches for you...burns for you.  But I am still so thankful for the time we had.  I love you.  To the moon and back.
- Momma

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesdays, Tears and Songs

Peanut -

Well, another Tuesday night.  Which marks another week - another month - without you.  Surprisingly, Tuesdays have lost some of their sting.  Maybe that is part of the healing power of time.  I don't have the same feeling of dread.  Instead, I remember that last Tuesday night with love, and am so thankful for the memory.

However, I woke up today with such a sense of sorrow and loss, it was almost impossible to get out of bed.  I started to question if I'd gone back to work too soon, if I'd allowed myself enough time and space to grieve.  Then, I realized it was my sense of routine and responsibility to work that has been getting me motivated each day.  Huh.

Thankfully, Dadda and I had time scheduled today with the doctor who has been helping us navigate your loss these last few months.  She has been such a healing force in our lives, and has helped me find hope through the tears.  In that safe space I have been allowed the grace to cry freely, share stories of you, and reveal the depth of our loss.  And, today I discovered I can laugh through the tears.  Dadda and I were marveling over all the adventures we'd had with you in 16.5 short months, including a visit to the pumpkin patch when you were only 4 weeks old.  You poor thing...I put you in a pumpkin hat, and we sat you in the midst of a bunch of pumpkins on a hay bale.  You cried and screamed.  No wonder!  I would have too!  I've included a picture from that day - it shows how much force of personality you had even at 4 weeks.

I also caught myself singing in the car today.  I haven't done that since before we lost you.  Music has been one of my primary loves since...well, since I can remember.  And, I've always been a singer.  Music was also a love of yours.  It lit you from within.  But, recently I've lost my power of song.  And I really wasn't sure if it would ever come back.  But today it snuck up on me.  I felt you in it, and actually turned around in the car to see if you were in the back seat grinning back at me.  In a way, I think you were.

Peanut, thank you for being here, helping me heal.  I feel you, even if I can't touch you.  To the moon and back my special, special boy.
- Momma

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Power of Three

Peanut -

In my professional life I often talk to people about "the power of three."  When trying to make a business case, or get someone to remember something important, there is a magic in three.  Today, I experienced the power of three in a totally unexpected, unwelcome way - The Grief Triumvirate.  The grief over the loss of my wonderful little boy, grief over the loss of my mommyhood and grief over the loss of your promising, exciting future.

It was all triggered by a group of moms, huddled against the early-spring cold at a school bus stop this morning.  They were chatting and laughing over coffee while keeping a protective eye over their happy, innocent 6-7 year-olds.  It hit me at that moment.  I will never get to do this with Peanut.  You will never get to wear the bright red Elmo backpack you got on your 1st birthday.  Dadda and I will never get to fill that backpack with a book or crayons or a snack.

The grief and sadness settled in like a 300-pound weight on my chest all day.  It was hard to breathe.  To think, focus, talk, walk.  On the drive home tonight I made a decision.  Beat it.  Combat it.  With my own power of three - faith, hope and joy.  Faith that you were sent here to make the world a better place, hope that I will honor your legacy and the sun will shine on my soul again, and joy in all the love and memories you brought us in 500 days.

I love you to the moon and back, my amazing little Peanut.
- Momma


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday BathFest

Oh Peanut -

You sure did love bath-time.  I think back to your very first "real" bath, in our kitchen sink, when you were 11 days old.  Your umbilical cord had finally fallen off, and you were healed and ready to get bathed!  You were soooo tiny.  At just over 5 pounds, you almost completely fit into one of Dadda's hands.  We took such care to make sure the water was the perfect temperature, had all the washcloths, baby shampoo, and your awesome cow towel.  The second you hit the water you gave us a look of confusion, then wonder.  From that moment on, bath-time was a treat.

Fast forward one year, not too long after your first birthday.  You received a ton of cool bath toys for your birthday, and we had upgraded you to our giant whirpool tub.  Of course, we had to outfit it with special froggy anti-skid mats after a  Turns out, without the froggy mats the tub was more like a slip-n-slide!  I got rid of all the candles, bubble baths, and other grown-up stuff and converted the area to Con-man's Tub.  Every Sunday morning we would devote at least an hour to bath-time, right before your nap.  One-by-one you'd pull down every single toy, splash around and giggle that amazing, infectious giggle of yours.  We always felt so bad when it was time to pull your pruned up little self out of the tub.  But, then I got to hold, snuggle and smell you.  Pure bliss.

I still haven't had the heart to remove the froggy mats from our tub.  They make me smile every time I walk in the bathroom, and I love the memories of bath-time.  Your loss has loomed large over me's been a struggle to put one foot in front of the other all day and I'm just looking forward to going to bed.  Then I can dream of you.

Peanut, I hold you in my heart and cherish the tears and the memories.  To the moon and back.
- Momma      

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Spring Snow

Peanut -

Holy cow.  We had 7+ inches of snow today.  The 26th of March.  The 26th of any month will always remind me of losing you.  But this particular date and snowstorm reminds me that we never got to take you sledding.  You would have gotten such a huge belly laugh out of the experience - I regret that we didn't take advantage of the snows earlier this winter.

However, you DID get to play in the snow just the week before you passed.  I usually worked from home on Fridays, but went in for a 1/2 day that Friday since we'd had bad weather earlier in the week.  I took you to Grandma and Grandpa's house, armed with only your winter coat.  No boots, no snow gear.  Grandpa took you out for an exploratory walk on the driveway that morning and you were delighted by the snow and ice.  While you marched down their driveway with your penguin-march, you hit the ice and danced around for a minute trying to find your balance.  Finally, you hit the ground, bounced up and laughed.  Then, you headed straight for a snow bank on the side of their driveway and jumped head first into the snow!  Bliss!

We only have a few pictures of you walking, and they are from that day.  The quality of these pictures isn't great, but I really wanted to share them with today's posting.  While not perfect, they are perfectly Peanut.  My Peanut.  My little boy.  Oh, how I miss you.

To the moon and back, my sweet boy.  Love, love, love -

Friday, March 25, 2011

Uh oh! U-PUH!

Peanut -

You were 16.5 months old when we lost you.  Old enough to be walking and talking.  Old enough for us to see the wonderful little boy you were growing see your personality and promise.  The loss of that future, the loss of the possibilities is part of what makes this grief so sharp.  Did you know you were supposed to go to Stanford?  And be a lawyer, doctor and professional hockey player???

Two of your first - and most favorite - words were "Uh Oh!" and "Up!"  Of course, they were accompanied by the related actions from both you and, me and Dadda.  Generally, you would throw your sippy cup, give me a befuddled look and say, "Uh oh!"  And, that look always came with my signature one-eyebrow raise.  You mimicked me perfectly which was totally, utterly disarming.

Later, as you were pulling up and walking around furniture you quickly learned that "u-PUH" (said with particular emphasis on the P) would get you a seat on the couch.  You would stand at the edge of the couch, hand us all your books, toys, Cheerios, etc. and demand "u-PUH!" until we (gladly) complied.  Once you were there, you always wanted back down just to repeat the whole process.  I loved every minute of it.

I smelled you today.  It was amazing and devastating all at once.  Not sure why, but I smelled your tennis shoes.  Everything else has lost your scent, but not these.  Thank goodness.  As I brace for another weekend without you, I remember all the wonderful moments you granted me.  I never would have known Momma-joy without you.  Thank you so much, 'Nut.

I love you - to the moon and back.
- Momma

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Very Hungry Caterpillar...who loved cherry pie!

Peanut -

Today's posting is an early one, because I have so much on my mind.  We had so many reminders of you yesterday - a little boy who bore a striking resemblance to you celebrating his second birthday party.  He was even wearing your same little Stride Rite shoes.  Another little guy who was just getting his walking legs bopping around.  He had your same funny, purposeful penguin march.  So unsteady yet confident.

I also got to watch a little boy reading a book with his grandmother.  It was such a sweet reminder of the Mondays you spent with my parents.  You read lots of book with grandma,  explored the yard with grandpa (and watched fishing shows!), and was the king of their world on those Mondays.

You were a fan of books from Day One since we constantly read to you.  As you got older, you started choosing your books for me to read, then you tried to read them all on your own.  So independent.  During the day it was always either The Very Hungry Caterpillar or One Fish, Two Fish.  However, you had limited interest in the WHOLE book.  Just certain parts.  In particular, the two page spread in The Very Hungry Caterpillar where his Saturday bingefest is outlined in detail (one slice of swiss cheese, one sausage, etc.).  You would point to each picture and look at me to repeat what it was.  Over and over and over.  Cherry pie.  Cherry pie.  Cherry pie.  Cupcake.  Cherry pie.  Then you would laugh and laugh with your little head thrown back.  It was in those moments I might have loved you most because I saw so very much of me in you.

Now that we're past the 2-month mark people are telling me it's time to move on, time will heal, it's just mind over matter.  If only it were that easy.  Mind over matter...I could ace that.  I have all the information and facts.  But this is my heart and soul.  They have their own very specific, difficult healing process and I'm nowhere near the "upswing."  It ebbs and flows.  Some days are better than others.  But I still have this gaping hole in my heart with ragged edges.  The most I hope for at this point is for those edges to begin to smooth.  But, this scar will remain forever a part of me, just like you.

Peanut, I long to hold and breathe you in again.  In your absence, I hang on to the memories.  And, they are all wonderful.  Thank you for being such a joyful, happy presence.

I love you, Peanuckle.
- Momma

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rock On, Peanut

'Nutter Butter -

It's been 8 weeks as of today.  Writing to you via this blog has been tremendously therapeutic for me, and has touched a lot of lives.  I started a hand-written journal right after we lost you, but it was SO personal that it allowed my grief and sorrow to wallow rather than heal.  This forum, and my commitment to balance sadness with joyful memories has been the "right" answer for me.  Thank you to everyone who has responded with love and support.

The pictures I'm including today are near and dear to my heart.  I took these while on maternity leave, in November of 2009.  Peanut was NOT a good napper during his first few months.  We struggled since he was so interested in the world around him.  Nothing went unnoticed with that little boy.  One afternoon I had him in our bedroom while folding laundry, and I had just introduced him to his Taggie Blanket (thanks to Sena's recommendation).  In an effort to soothe him, I decided to sing, but couldn't come up with a song.  My fallback was the first song in my head - "Wanted, Dead Or Alive" by Bon Jovi.  For those who know me, I love hair metal.  Seriously.  And, to my delight, so did Peanut!  By the time I finished the song he was napping peacefully.  That's when I snapped these pics.

For those who are asking, I will post more details about "what happened" when I am able.  It's just too raw right now.  Just know, it was sudden, unexplained and a wrinkle in the fabric of all that should be fair in this world.

Peanut, I am holding you in my heart and mind.  To the moooooooooon and back.
- Momma

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Welcome Home

Peanut -

We got to welcome Froggy, Elmo, Moo Moo and all your bedding home today with a big, "Hi! We've missed you!"  It is so hard to see those items without you attached to them.  But, it also feels so right to have them back here.  Home.  The worst realization was that these items no longer smelled like you.  For some reason, I thought they would.  Even the onesie you had on the morning you left us smelled like the cardboard box mixed with a pizza parlor.  Heartbreaking.

I titled today's post "Welcome Home" for another reason.  And, I leave to the reader to choose what you think/believe.  The depth of my grief has been very deep over the last few days...hopeless at times.  And, over the last two months, I have had moments of intense guilt.  Guilt over not being able to protect my little boy from an unknown killer.  Guilt for still living.  Guilt for knowing I have to think about life without Peanut.  It has been paralyzing recently.

At 4:47 am this morning I was tossing and turning in bed with my mind racing, and felt a giant hug around my neck.  I thought it must be my husband trying to comfort me, so I tried to shake myself awake.  In the dim grogginess, I realized Shaun wasn't in the room.  I saw a young man dressed in white standing next to the bed, praying over me while I still felt what was truly a Connor-Hug.  As soon as I blinked my eyes, it was all over.  But peace, serenity and the feeling that, "It's going to be OK" fully consumed me.  And love.  So much love.  And the belief that Connor visited me along with his own guardian angel.  He's not alone. <relief>

Make of it what you want.  I am not searching for a solution.  Just embracing that hug, love and peace.  Peanut, thank you for visiting me and helping me get through this difficult day.  I love you - BEYOND to the moon and back.

- Momma


Monday, March 21, 2011

Healthy Baby Bird

Peanut -

First, we have received so much love and support - and beautiful messages - about the memories being posted on this site.  It gives me comfort and joy to know you are having such a profound impact beyond your time on earth.

I was thinking today about all the worries I had from the day I learned we were pregnant with you.  Everything from my diet during pregnancy, to what we used to wash your clothes, to making your food to ensure it was natural and safe.  We had the monitor, the baby gates, the best car seats.  And, still, we lost you in the most unexpected and unexplained way.  Yes, it makes me angry and confused.  But, it also brings back a wonderful set of memories.

You loved to eat.  Not just liked.  LOVED.  You loved veggies.  And fruit.  And my homemade turkey meatballs.  And Cheerios.  And Goldfish.  The list goes on.  What's so funny is you ate more than most kids your age, yet you were still a little dude.  I think it's because you burned up so much energy making everyone laugh.

Last spring I took some pictures of a family of baby birds who nested on our pool deck.  Then I compared them to pictures of you eating.  SO similar!  It still makes me smile.

To the moon and back, my precious boy.
- Momma


Sunday, March 20, 2011

What's the story, Morning Glory?

Peanut -

Every weekend you and Dadda would let me sleep in a little, while the two of you hung out on the couch and watched saved episodes of Handy Manny, The Backyardigans or (god forbid) Dr. Phil.  Around 7am I would come into the kitchen and grab a glass of ice water.  The second you heard the ice maker you would pop your head up over the back of the couch and look for YOUR Momma.  As soon as you found me, you would bounce up and down excitedly until I made it over your way for a giant hug.  You would bury your face in my hair, and that's how I remember us starting every weekend morning.

That memory brings so much love and warmth to my heart, but also makes me ache for you.  The house, our hearts and arms are so empty; we are struggling to fill the void.

I've included two of my favorite pictures of you, taken last February, right after we bought our new Cannon.  You were the subject of all my "learning experiences" with that camera.  As a result, we have almost 3,000 pictures of The Peanut.  For that, I am eternally grateful.

We are supposed to get all your bedding and other items from the police on Tuesday.  While I know seeing those items will rip the band-aid off my heart, I can't wait to see Elmo again.

Love and miss you more than I can express.
- Momma

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Weekends might be the hardest.

Peanut -

I think I miss you most on the weekends.  You were "the schedule."  Everything we did revolved around you.  And it was AWESOME.  Peanut-time was all good.  We are struggling with what to do with all this time, space and and emptiness.  Henry The Puppy has helped, but it's just not the same.

Today has been especially hard since we finished the final round of thank you cards, and packed up some of your room today.  I got to look back at your "First Year" book, all the cards from your baby showers, birth and first birthday, and all your toys and books.  You loved your books.  And all those toys that made a ton of noise!

One of the memories that makes me laugh and cry the most revolves around the Friday I was home with you and put you in those fantastic jean diapers and your superhero t-shirt.  We had just given you your own TV remote (disabled, of course) since you were so enamored with the real remote.  And, you had just gotten a whole bunch of new teeth!  (Yes, check out the giant binky!)  It was all coming together and you were so full of yourself.  It warmed my heart and made me realize you were my little superhero.  You saved me from me.

Thank you for teaching me to love and to open my heart.
- Momma

Friday, March 18, 2011

Pizza, Bath Time and Acts of Kindness

Peanut -

Today - this week, actually - has been a day filled with memories, tears, love and the kindness of people we never would have met without you.   I worked from home today, which is what I always did on Fridays with you.  I miss our special Fridays together.  I miss Yo Gabba Gabba.  I miss eating lunch together.  I miss everything.

Dadda was home with me today, along with Henry...the super special puppy that has brought laughter back to our home.  We visited the most wonderful people/place today - The Seeds of Happiness Factory (  Mark Borella, the artist and founder of SOH, is one of the kindest people I've ever met.  He and his team made some special seeds in memory of you - and they really took care of our family.  They have a green glaze called Just Froggy that I swear was made just for you, my sweet 'Nut.

After we visited Mark, we had lunch at J.J. Twiggs.  The last time Dadda and I ate there, we had you with us.  And you had the most amazing, crazy diaper blowout from out of the blue.  We were laughing as we remembered trying to get you cleaned up in their little family restroom.  Seems like pizza places always had that impact on you...we had the same thing happen at Fortels just a few weeks before we lost you.

In honor of that memory, I have included one of my favorite pics of blowout!  You funny, animated little boy.  To loosely quote one of my new friends who has experienced this same loss recently, "Joy can reside next to sorrow in your heart."  I am trying to learn to laugh through my tears.

Love you to the moon and back.
- Momma

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Little Irishman

Peanut -

On this day last year Dadda and I were going to New York for a long weekend and it was the first time I picked you up from school.  I'll never forget they ID'd me  and I was sooooo appreciative even as they were mortified and so apologetic.  It really brought home home for me what a wonderful school you attended.  You spent the weekend with grandma and grandpa Abernathy...I am thankful for the time they got to spend with you.

Right before St. Patty's Day last year we had your 6-month photo shoot with Heidi Drexler.  I wanted to share some of the photos.  You were new to sitting up on your own, and it happened to be a warm, beautiful day...much like today.  I think you brought us this 75- degree day as a way to say "I love you guys...don't be sad."

To the moon and back, my sweet boy.
- Momma

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Doctor visits and active feet.

Peanut -

I saw the doctor who saw us through your pregnancy today.  She and her office love you so much.  Your loss has been devastating and scary for them, and it brought up so many heart-wrenching but happy reminders for me.  Over the last two years, all my visits to their office involved YOU.  I was either pregnant or had you with me.  And the visit helped me remember being pregnant with you.

You were one active little boy from my crazy morning sickness from day one to your kicking and pushing that began at about 6 months.  I would look at my tummy and see a toe or a foot begging to be released.  It became a little bit of a game.  I would touch a part of my belly and you would respond.  No wonder I miss you so much.  We were communicating and laughing MONTHS before you came out and said "Hello, World!"  

And you were sooooo tiny.  Only 5 pounds 1 ounce when you were born.  But so full of fight, life and vigor.  From before you were born to even now.  I feel your essence all around me.

Today has been a tough day, but it helps to share stories and memories of you.  I'm sharing this blog with our friends and family today, and asking they share right back.  I hope it doesn't make them too sad, but instead brings the joy of the good memories it has brought me.  

I love you, miss you and hope to dream about you tonight, my darling, special little boy.

- Momma

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday night. Again. Sigh...


Seven weeks ago, on Tuesday night, January 25, I said goodnight to you for the last time. I got my last hug from you while you rested your head on my shoulder and whispered, "Momma." Oh, how I miss you. The reality of your loss has become all too real to me and Tuesdays are just painful. I know the grief will never go away completely, but I hope it begins to subside.

I have promised to honor you through memories, stories and joy. As I sit here with Zeke (our cat) sitting on my lap I remember your joy in seeing this furry creature and realizing he was YOURS! One of your first phrases, said with utter delight was, "Hi Kittah Kah!" Zeke always steered himself into you, never away, regardless of what kind of whack you had given him previously. I think he knew better than we could have guessed just how much you adored him.

Tomorrow is Wednesday. With the coming of 6am comes a flood of awful, horrific memories. Not how I want to remember you. Please, visit me tonight with your hugs and laughter.

I love you - to the moon and back.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Almost 7 weeks since I got my last Connor-Hug...

Stupidly, I thought the razor-edge of this sadness and grief would begin to soften by now.  Instead, time simply serves as a reminder of how much I miss you, all the things you will never get to experience, and the fact that you are forever frozen at 16.5 months.

Seven weeks and still, no real answers.  How does a healthy, strong little boy go to sleep one night and never wake up?

How do I honor the light, love, and magic you turned on inside me, our families, friends, and everyone who ever met you?  Maybe it starts here.  At least through sharing your smile and laughter.

Peanut, I love you - to the moon and back.