Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Promise

Peanut -

On Wednesday, January 26 - the day we lost you - I made a promise.

After the horror of finding you in your crib, calling 911, performing CPR on the bedroom floor, riding in the ambulance for what seemed like forever while the EMTs tried to explain what they were doing to save you, watching the St. Luke's ER team work on you and eventually pronounce you dead after 40 minutes, then having to leave your still body alone in the ER room while the police questioned us.

After answering mountains of questions from the organ donor organization, praying with our families and holding your little body one last time, watching a total stranger take your body away knowing we would never see or hold you again, then wandering out of the hospital...alone...and getting in the car with the empty Peanut car seat not quite believing this day was really happening to our family.

After an afternoon with family and friends trying to distract us, care for us, feed us, give us some drinks to numb the pain.  To make sure we were still standing and would make to the next day.

After all of that, Dadda and I found a moment alone in our bedroom.  And he saw it before anyone else.  You were my entire world.  This loss was potentially devastating.  The end of Momma.  Dadda sat down next to me, held my hand, and made one of the few non-negotiable requests of his life, "Don't you leave me.  I can't lose you too."  Silence.  In my brain I thought, "No fair.  Just let me go.  Let me be with him."  But, my heart knew that what Dadda was asking was right.  This was about me and Dadda surviving together.  Remembering you, and finding a way to rebuild our lives while always honoring our amazing Peanut.  So, I nodded, "I promise."

Peanut, I am so glad, so thankful, Dadda asked me to make that promise.  Because it has allowed us to get to where we are today.  Still remembering you every moment of every day.  Through laughter and tears.  And now, expecting two new little babies.  Reforming, rebuilding our future.  Thanks in large part to your Peanut Touch.  And a very, very smart Dadda.

Have I told you today how much I love you?  Maybe?  Well, let me make sure I tell you loud and clear - to the MOOOOON AND BACK!

- Momma

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Blooming Peanut

Peanut -

Over the next few weeks I want to talk a bit about the "things" I cherish most now that you're physically not with us.  They range from items that belonged to you, to gifts you gave me, to the things you loved most like your favorite foods and places, to special remembrances given to me/us since January 26.  All of them carry a special connection or memory.  And, all of them make me smile and think of your sunshine personality.  Sometimes they make me cry, but only because they remind me of your beautiful smile that should have stayed with us for much, much longer than 16.5 months.

One of the first items you ever gave me was on Mother's Day in 2010.  It was something you made at school, where they schemed with you and Dadda to hide the gift until Momma's Day.  When you and Dadda brought it out, I cried because it was so special.  I never could have known just how much it would mean to me a year later.  It was a flower pot full of Hershey's Kisses, with an orange construction paper cutout of your hand blooming out of it like a flower.  Across the pot was "Happy Mother's Day!  2010.  Love, Connor."

I will treasure this forever.  I will keep this close to me for as long as I live.

Sometimes I put my hand up against your tiny little paper cutout hand, and I pretend we're holding hands again.  I so vividly remember when your hands were that little, because you were just beginning to grab Gerber Puffs.  I wonder if your school and teachers have any idea just how meaningful these little gifts are to parents?  And what an impact they have made on me as I grieve and remember?

Peanut, I am so grateful for the wonderful memories held in items like your flower pot.  The blooming pot, in particular, still seems to hold some of your Peanut Energy.  I still feel you connected to it.  Maybe it's because I can feel your hand, touch it, imagine and remember.  Whatever it is, it is amazing.  I touch your little orange hand tonight, close my eyes, and I feel your warm, soft hand.  It's slightly sticky from fruit and peanut butter and Goldfish and other treats.  And, it smells like you.  I breathe you in and send you all my love.  To the moon and back.  For eternity.

- Momma

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dreams of Peanut

Peanut -

Momma was home sick today with a touch of the flu.  So, most of the day was spent in bed either sleeping or semi-napping.  The few times I got up, I found myself wandering into your room, looking for a sign of My Peanut.  A trace of your scent.  Maybe a well-hidden Cheerio.  A toy that we hadn't yet turned off.  A shadow of you.  But, after 5 months, there isn't much left to find.  <sigh>

Maybe it was a result of the time I spent in your room.  Or the time I spent looking at your pictures and videos this afternoon.  Or, maybe...just maybe...because you've been watching Momma and you don't want me to be so sad.  I don't know.  Whatever the reason, I had a very, VERY vivid dream of you today.  It was...breathtaking.

In the dream, I was home sick, just like today. It was the end of day and I woke up when I heard the front door open.  In my dream-world, it was as if January had never happened.  I knew the front door opening meant Dadda was home with The Peanut in tow.  Sure enough, I heard Dadda walk in the house, and your little feet running down the front hall and into our bedroom.  "MOMMA!"  You had on jean shorts, a red polo shirt and your awesome little tennis shoes.  And, in your hands was piece of orange construction paper with a "Feel better, Momma" drawing on it from school.  As you ran into the room, you extended your arms and I reached over the bed, scooped you up and tumbled back into bed with you in my arms.  You were laughing so hard, and I caught your amazing scent in your hair.  I burrowed my face in your neck, giving you tons of kisses, told you I loved you soooooo much, got a kiss from you, then woke up.  With tears streaming down my face.  Were they tears of sorrow or happiness?  Or, both?  I think both.

Peanut, that dream was so real.  I felt you.  Smelled you.  Heard you.  Wherever it came from, I am thankful for it.  My heart is so full of love for you, so full of a belief that you are very much present and watching us. I know you don't want Momma to be so sad.  I'm working hard to embrace the joy.  Just know, I'm sad because I love and miss you sooooo very much.  How much, you ask?  Well, my sweet 'Nut, to the mooooooooooooooon and back!

- Momma

Monday, June 27, 2011

Never Alone

Peanut -

I struggled with a "title" for tonight's letter to you.  Partially because I am so stunned, so overwhelmed, so touched by the massive outpouring of love, support and joy we've received since last night's letter.  That's right.  Mark this day.  Momma is speechless.  Well, almost.

What has been crystal clear to me is that "we" (you, me, Dadda, and now, The Beans) have been surrounded and supported by a community much larger than we ever could have imagined.  A community of people who have grieved with us, sent us messages of support and hope, cried tears as we've struggled, and are now sharing in our joy.

A lot of people in this community know us, but many do not.  Many have gotten to know you, Peanut, via the pictures and stories shared on this blog, on Facebook, through stories told by others who knew you.  And in this way you have spread your love, your smile, your Joie de vivre (oh la la, Momma!).  Your Peanut Effect.

It is this community of support that gave Momma the sense of accountability and support she needed to pull up and out of the darkest days.  To look up and see the sun and the glimmer of hope in the distance.  It is this same sense of community and support that encourages me to continue to share our journey.  I'm not sure why I've been so stunned by the amazing response to the news of our Peanut Gift...this community loves YOU, Peanut.

Peanut, I love and miss you so very much.  I keep thinking about all your amazing faces and expressions.  So serious one second, and full of grins and raised eyebrows the next.  I look at pictures and can't help but see so much of me in you...a giant piece of my heart, of me, died with you on January 26.  But I truly believe that piece is beginning the healing process as these twins grow, day by day.  While that missing piece will never heal over completely - nor do I want it to - it will become smoother, softer.  I feel your Peanut Touch in that healing process.  Oh, I love you my precious little boy.  To the moon and back.

- Momma


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Chickpea and Lima Bean

Peanut -

In the weeks after we lost you, Dadda and I knew one thing for sure.  We wanted - no, needed - to be parents again.  Before that horrific day in January, we had sworn "one and done."  Partially because I thought we were too old to get pregnant again.  Partially because I was afraid I didn't have enough love in my heart for another baby and I wanted to give everything I had to you.  Mostly because you were perfect. You were amazing.  And we were fantastically happy.

And then January 26, 2011 happened.  Five months ago.  The unthinkable.  The unimaginable.  Five months of living every parents worst nightmare.  But, always knowing that you brought out the best in showed us our true purpose.  Being parents together made me and Dadda better as a couple and better as individuals.  Being a Momma showed me the best parts of me, while I fell in love with my little boy over and over, day after day, and fell in love with Dadda in a whole new way.

And now...a gift from Peanut.  Your hand has been in this every moment, every step of the way.  Peanut, the Guardian Angel.  Peanut, the Big Brother.  To not just one, but two babies.  That's right.  Twins.  The Beans.  Chickpea and Lima Bean.  Twins who will most likely be born before the end of 2011.  A year that started with heart-breaking tragedy, and will end with hope.

To borrow a phrase from a friend of mine who also lost her son unexpectedly and has gone on to have a new is possible for grief and joy to reside side by side.  I touch my tummy and remember the innocent, blissful joy of my pregnancy with you, Peanut.  And, I love those memories.  This pregnancy will be very, very different but I owe these babies as much joy as I can find.  I owe them the same happiness I gave to you.  And, I know you are guiding them and will always be their special angel.

Peanut, I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a Momma again.  Please, watch over these little them the ropes Peanut-style.  And know that my joy over them doesn't change my amazing, boundless love for you.  You will always and forever be Momma's Peanut.  My perfect, wonderful little boy.

Sweet Peanut, I love you - to the MOOOOOOON and back!
- Momma

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Slide. Slide. Slam!

Peanut -

Sometimes the absolute best toys weren't the ones full of lights, sounds and batteries.  They weren't bought by Momma, Dadda or anyone else.  And, they weren't really even toys.  But, they were interactive, made their own cool noises and generally were pretty Peanut accessible.

Case in point: doors
More specifically: sliding doors
In particular: the sliding closet doors in your bedroom

You also really, really loved the door to your bedroom.  Once you figured out how to close that door, Dadda and I were often locked out with a definitive "Slam!" of the door followed by peals of giggles.  Followed, moments later, by you banging your hands on the door wanting us to open it back up, but then blocking us from doing anything more than opening the door a crack.  You loved giving us just enough room to squeeze an eye in, but no more!  Often, you let us sneak a peek, utter your delighted little "HI!" then you would SLAM the door again.  Hi-lar-i-ous!

The sliding closet doors were a completely different story.  Those doors created another world for you - your own little Peanut Clubhouse.  You would sit in your closet, surrounded by your froggies and other, select favorite toys, sliding the doors back and forth and back and forth and back and forth endlessly.  The game never got old.  Sometimes you would invite Momma to come in and visit.  More often, you would let me sit outside, laugh and watch.  But, you always ventured out when it was time for some hugs and nuzzles.

Every time I hear those closet doors, I see you.  I hear your musical laugh.  I picture your toothy, beaming smile.  Peanut, it took so little to bring you joy.  I love that the boring, everyday sound of a sliding door now evokes images of my amazing, beautiful little boy.  What a gift.  Peanut, I love you bunches and oodles and bunches of noodles.  To the moooooooooon and back!

- Momma

Friday, June 24, 2011

Summertime Celebrations

Peanut -

After running a bunch of errands this evening, Dadda and I headed home for dinner which took us right through our local town square.  We looked over to the big special event area and noticed it was set-up for one of their many summertime outdoor entertainment activities.

That is one of the neat things about our town - throughout the summer and fall they host regular, family-oriented events in the town square.  Everything from concerts and movies to the Saturday Farmer's Market to giant chili cook-offs.  Tonight was clearly a family movie night, with the giant projection screen, food stands and hundreds of families camped out with their lawn chairs, blankets and picnic baskets.  I have no clue what the movie was...probably something like Toy Story 2 or 3, or Up.  Something you would have loved.

Dadda and I always looked forward to the prospect of our little family enjoying these outdoor summertime celebrations together.  Last summer you were still a little young to truly enjoy the events.  We took you to one concert, but didn't last very long, and to the chili cook-off, but it was raining.  But tonight...the weather was glorious.  High 70s with a beautiful sunset.  Perfect for the movie, or for playing in the park.

But tonight, instead of being one of those families with our lawn chairs, picnic dinner, and little boy in tow, Dadda and I simply drove on.  We got home to our quiet house, had some dinner, played with Henry and are now off to bed.  This is the fabric of our weekend routine.  For now, at least.  It is so quiet, so empty without you.

Oh Peanut...I ache for you.  <sigh>  Missing you so very much...and loving you with every fiber of my being.  To the moon and back, sweet Peanut.

- Momma

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Snow Cones

Peanut -

I bet you would have loved snow cones.  The cold shaved ice and the yummy, brightly colored syrup.  Tasty AND pretty!  It makes me wonder...what flavors would have been your favorite?  Something like Dadda's favorite sugar-free Granny Smith Apple?  Or Momma's blanket "anything red and sugary"?  Or, maybe the rainbow mix?  All I know is you would have loved every morsel, and probably would have created a giant, sticky, sugary mess.  What I wouldn't give to clean up that syrupy Peanut disaster.

I know I need to stop thinking about everything you will never get to do...I need to stop focusing on all the missed milestones, adventures and treats.  Instead, I need to focus on all the amazing things you DID get to do.  But still...there are times when my heart-driven emotions beat out my rational brain.  At those times, I start thinking about...well...snow cones.

So, next time I see a snow cone stand, Momma might just have to order two.  One for me and one for Peanut.  And, maybe we'll spend the summer experimenting until we find your perfect, favorite flavor.  Banana, maybe?!

Sweet, lovely little Peanut.  Momma loves the moon and back.

- Momma

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sharing Memories and Froggies

Peanut -

I received the most wonderful gift imaginable today.  It was the gift of stories and memories of you from some of your teachers.  Your "other" mommies.  An amazing group of women who spent three days a week with you from the time you were 4 months old until the day before we lost you.

These are the caretakers who encouraged us to push your development, month by month.  Thanks to them, you transitioned so smoothly, so easily to a cot, to a sippy cup, to table food, to walking.  Thanks to them, you loved art and music (while having a healthy fear and/or suspicion of the gym teacher!).  Thanks to them, Momma has a giant binder of Peanut Art and daily report cards to love and cherish for a lifetime.  And now, thanks to them, I have more stories about you.

I have stories about how much you loved to dance to the song, "Chicken Fried"!  I have stories about how much your big blue eyes and infectious smile brightened their days and hearts, every day.  I have stories about you dragging your Froggy EVERYWHERE in your mouth!  I have stories about your gentle, funny personality.  And, I have stories that show just how much you touched lives and changed the world in 500 short days.

Peanut, in honor of your memory your class made a very, very special Froggy garden statue JUST FOR YOU.  It now sits in their butterfly garden with your name on perfect is that?  Even more special?  They created a photo album for me and Dadda that documents the creation of the statue, with all your classmates painting him, adding their fingerprints and names, and finally getting it fired/glazed and then added to the garden.  At the end of the album are personal notes from all your teachers.  How amazing.  How special.  We will treasure this forever.

What a wonderful celebration of your time with us, your legacy, your memory.  Peanut, I hope we continue to hear memories and stories from everyone who knew you...because Momma LOVES to hear them.  And, I love to share them.  I keep you alive in my heart and mind by sharing.  And, let's face it, you were so darn funny the stories are just priceless!  So, in celebration of you, I send you a Momma kiss and lots of Froggy love.   I love you sweet boy.  To the moon and back.

- Momma

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Peanut -

Momma had an awkward moment today.  I ran into someone at work who I haven't seen or spoken to in over a year.  The last she knew, I was a relatively new Momma.  So, when I ran into her in the hallway, her first questions were, "How is motherhood?  Are you just loving it?  How old is your little one now?!"

And I just stood there.

Cue the crickets.  <chirp chirp>

I looked down at the floor.  Then at the beautiful ring I wear with your initials.  Back at the floor.  <deep breath>  "Actually, my little boy passed away unexpectedly in January."

Cue the crickets on steroids.  <CHIRP CHIRP>

"Oh god. so sorry.  I had no idea.  What you must have been through...oh god..."

Peanut, I tried to reassure her it was OK, there was no reason she should have known, I'm sorry I had to tell her this way.  But, I didn't have much additional strength to comfort her.  The impact of that interaction was crippling for me.  I've been so sheltered for the last 5 months - everyone I've interacted with has known about your loss.  I was unprepared for that encounter today.

I'm sure there was a better way for me to handle that situation.  What that might have looked like, I honestly don't know.  But, it's something I'm going to consider for the future.  How can I make those conversations kinder and gentler for everyone involved?  While still honoring you and your beautiful, joyful memory?

Sweet boy, I miss you so much.  It's Tuesday night...a reminder of the last time I got to hold and hug you, and get some Peanut love in return.  I can't believe it will be the 26th again in just a few days...5 months.  It feels like yesterday, it feels like forever.  But, no matter what I love you.  More and more with each passing day.  And, to the moon and back!

- Momma


Monday, June 20, 2011


Peanut -

Tonight I choose to be thankful.  I choose to look at the amazing connections and events that have touched our lives over the last several years and the last 5 months.  In your conception, birth and short life, you brought our family so much joy and brought us closer together.  You brought Momma patience, a new sense of priorities and inner peace.  In your loss you have brought a community together.  You have brought many people a new sense of appreciation for their families, blessings and life itself.  For me, a step back to truly evaluate what kind of life I want - I need - to live to honor you.

One of the most amazing blessings to emerge over the last 5 months is a reconnection with so many wonderful friends who have been impacted by your story.  They have surrounded our family as a constant, loving, supportive presence.  Peanut, I don't know how to thank them.  Not only have they provided me and our family with kindness and grace, they have taught me how to be a better friend.

I have struggled with feelings of guilt over looking for the good - the blessings - that have touched us since your loss.  But, I'm beginning to realize it is my need, my ability, to find the blessings that is saving me from being bitter, twisted and angry.  I feel your gentle little Peanut hand guiding my heart in this direction.  The Peanut Effect, in full effect.

Speaking of thankful, Peanut, I am forever, overwhelmingly thankful for you.  For all the gifts you bestowed upon me in your too short time on earth...and for your visits and your continued presence these last several months.  You will always be here with us, with me, helping me be a better Momma.  And I will always read to you before bed and say good-night with a hug, kiss and a big "I love you - to the moon and back!"

- Momma

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Best. Dadda. Ever.

Peanut -

Today was a day to celebrate all the wonderful Dads out there as a part of Father's Day.  Our family specifically celebrated your inspirational, selfless, loving Dadda.  Your Dadda who loves you so much it breaks my heart.  I gave him a special card this morning, just for him from you.  While I knew it would bring some sadness, it also allowed us to celebrate and remember you and all the special, wonderful gifts you've brought to our family.

One of the best, most unexpected gifts I personally received from your precious life - watching Dadda transform from husband to Super Dad.  Your dad was a natural from the second you were born.  He knew exactly how to hold you, feed you, change you, care for your little umbilical cord, give you your first bath. He allowed me to watch and learn.  To grow more comfortable day-by-day.  He taught me how to get you packed up and actually get out of the house, Peanut in tow, beginning that first week we had you home.  Basically, he taught me how to be a mom.  Peanut's Momma.

I love you both so very much for being patient with me, and teaching me.  For giving me time and grace to grow into Mommahood.  You and Dadda always had an extra-special bond...I think it grew from your shared understanding, "Just give her time - she'll learn.  And, she'll be pretty darn good at it, too."  And, nothing beat those special Sunday afternoons you and Dadda spent together...your reserved "boy time."  I know he desperately misses those afternoons with you.

Peanut, send Dadda loads of love, hugs and kisses tonight.  And know that I'm reading you your favorite bedtime story, with a giant hug, a giant kiss and a giant, "I love you, to the moon and back!"

- Momma

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Play Ball!

Peanut -

We went to the Cards/Royals game tonight with another couple and their wonderful, sweet little 9-month old son.  He was actually born almost exactly one year after you, and we had imagined raising the two of you side-by-side.  The thought had always been that we would go to a Cards game like tonight with the two of you in tow.  Or, we would hang out at the pool while you both learned to swim.  And we would celebrate holidays together while you two kept each other entertained.  All our well-laid plans...

While I know you were at the game with us, the physical presence of just their little boy, and the lack of my Peanut, drove home how much I am missing you.  It also made me appreciate and love this couple for sharing their son with us...with me.  For not treating me like I'm contagious.  For allowing me to hold him, love on him, and to exercise my Momma muscle for an evening.  Experiencing him and all his 9-month gooey, awesome goodness was like living last summer all over again.  What an amazing, awe-inspiring age...9-months is pure magic.  To watch him discovering different foods, his various smiles and emotions, the wonder of his fingers and hands.  Joy!

It was also heart-warming to sit back and observe his parents.  To see how well they work together, as a team, brings a smile to my face.  And, to watch how their love of this little son of theirs has transformed them both, individually and as a couple, is amazing.  Already wonderful people, they are now truly in their element...selfless and glowing with love.  I'm not sure they see it...I'm not sure if most of us see it when we're in the "parenting trenches" but I pledge to remind them and others.  We need to step back and turn the mirror on ourselves every once in a while.  Truly see what this thing called parenthood has meant to our lives, how it has transformed us as individuals, how priorities have changed, and how it makes everything in life just seem...better.  More meaningful.

Peanut, I don't have you here to touch, hug and hold, but I have you here in my heart.  My mind.  My memories.  I am still "Peanut's Momma" and will be forever.  And you truly do make everything better.  More meaningful.  I love you so much, Nutbrown Hare.  To the moon and back.
- Momma

Friday, June 17, 2011

Poems for Peanut

Peanut -

I've been thinking a lot this week about the "circle of life." In particular, the huge hole you have left in my heart, and in our family.  How we might possibly begin to heal that hole, while always remembering and cherishing you...making your legacy part of the fabric, the canvas, of our future family.  What will my reunion with you be like when we meet in heaven?  Who will be there?  What will you know?  Will you have lived every day with us as if you were here?  It's interesting.  Since your loss, my view of the future and the afterlife is so altered.  The fear is gone. There is now an element of anticipation.  Odd?  I'm not sure.

I'm sharing two very similar poems that have found their way to me several times over the last 5 months. I have found both very meaningful, helpful.  We actually received a lovely frame with the second poem, The Broken Chain, and one of our favorite pics of you as a gift at your Memorial Service.  It now sits in the kitchen as a constant reminder of your love, grins and memories.

I Only Wanted You
Author: Anonymous

They say memories are golden, well, maybe that is true.
I never wanted memories, I only wanted you,
A million times I've cried.
If love alone could have saved you, you never would have died.
In life I loved you dearly, in death I love you still.
In my heart you hold a place no one else could fill.
If tears could build a stairway and heartache make a lane.
I'd walk the path to Heaven and bring you back again.
Our family chain is broken, and nothing seems the same.
But as God calls us back one by one, the chain will link again. 

The Broken Chain
Author: Ron Tranmer

We little knew that day,
God was going to call your name.
In life we loved you dearly,
In death, we do the same.

It broke our hearts to lose you.
You did not go alone.
For part of us went with you,
The day God called you home.

You left us beautiful memories,
Your love is still our guide.
And although we cannot see you,
You are always at our side.

Our family chain is broken,
And nothing seems the same,
But as God calls us one by one,
The chain will link again.

Peanut, I hope you understand the peace I find in these poems.  And, I hope they bring comfort to someone else who might be looking for a little support in words.  Knowing I will see you again, and will continue to feel and experience you via signs and nature, eases my heart and soul.  

I now say farewell to this day, and send a huge kiss to heaven for you - MMMMWWWWWAAAAAAAHH!  I love you sooooo much, Peanut.  How much?  Guess.  Yep, that's right.  To the mooooon and back!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dance Machine!

Oh Peanut -

How I wish you'd grown to be old enough to watch and love the show "Glee."  The show actually debuted right after you were born, and I watched it every week, picturing how much fun we would have watching it together...dancing and singing.  Tonight is the first time since January that I've been brave enough to watch it, and I'm shocked...the show is bringing me a tremendous amount of happiness.  The absence of you is hanging over my head like a little cloud, but more than that, I am reminded of how much you adored music and the light it brought to your face.  With every song, I see you dancing your little bob-up-and-down dance, giant smile on your face, giggles filling the room.  And, one of the best parts of a Peanut dance-break?  The constant check-in for Momma or Dadda approval.  Funny, and heartbreakingly sweet.  The check-in captures everything about the Essence of Peanut - your primary goal was to make sure everyone else was laughing.

Peanut, Momma's fragile, ragged heart is feeling extra-broken tonight.  I am trying especially hard to hang on to the joy, peace and love you brought to my soul.  To allow the wonderful memories of you to wash over me and bring smiles instead of anger.  And, more than anything, to remind me to give grace.  (Breathe Momma...just breathe...)

Included with tonight's post is a video I simply adore.  Welcome to Peanut The Dance Machine.  This video is...100% happiness.  Sweet, precious baby boy, I miss you tremendously and love the moon and back!

- Momma

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Straws are AMAZING!

Peanut -

Beginning around 9 months - so, about 1-year ago - taking you out to dinner got to be fun, fun, fun!  While you were still on some formula and jars of food, you were rapidly exploring more taste-tastic treats like bits of fruit, cheese, rice and cereal.  But, more exciting than any of that was the discovery of The Straw.  Combined with a glass of icy cold water...oh, Peanut.  The joy.  The bliss.  The sheer delight and amazement.  Dadda would bring out that glass of water plus straw, and your feet would start to pump, you'd bounce up and down, and start your little, "Oh! Oh! Oh!" grunt.  Hilarious.

At first we had to drip water into your mouth from the straw, but quickly you figured out how the straw worked.  My little Einstein.  That was soon followed by your realization that there were ice cubes in that water glass!  Oh boy!  Before we knew it, your entire arm would be immersed in a glass of water, fishing for ice.  It wasn't uncommon for us to lose several straws and a glass or two of water by the end of a meal.

Your antics were always accompanied by your giant laugh, sunbeam smile, and pure joy.  It was soooo hard to get frustrated or irritated because you were so darn happy.  Did I over-indulge?  Maybe.  Would I do the same things all over again?  Absolutely.  Because I know you had 500 days of joy, love, and happiness.  What an amazing legacy.

Peanut, tonight I'm sharing a picture of a baby bird from our pool deck.  I snapped this photo last June because this little birdie reminded me so much of YOU!  This same bird family is back again this year.  I have found myself thinking, "I wonder if they're looking for Peanut?"  Then again, your wonderful butterflies are probably playing in the yard with them.  That's what I hope, at least.

To my baby bird, I miss you bunches of noodles.  And, I love you to the mooooooon and back!
- Momma

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Turn the Corner - and Sing

Hellooooooo Peanut!

Wow.  After an incredibly rough several days, Momma finally turned a corner today.  Last night I was almost comatose in bed, truly unable to get up, eat, smile or even talk to Dadda.  I woke up today with no desire to shower or go to work, but I still forced myself up and out.  Most of the day at work was an exercise in patience...I found myself wanting to scream in the middle of meetings, "Who cares?!  Don't you understand my little boy is GONE?  Forever and ever - never to come back?!  Don't you see what self created bullshit this all is?"  Of course, I didn't but it echoed through my head and heart all day.

As I was driving home this evening, I started hearing one song after another that reminded me of happier times.  Most of them with you.  Little by little, I started to sing along.  And, finally, it happened.  Cee Lo Green's, "Forget You."  Peanut, that song came on the radio every single morning when I drove you to school the two weeks before you died.  I would always crank it up, and at the stoplights I would turn around and sing it to you with my handy air-mic.  You would laugh and clap, then watch me sing the whole song with your eyes round as saucers.  I love, love, love remembering those mornings and what a huge light you brought to my day...all before 7:00 am!

Just like that, the million pound weight on my heart lifted, and I felt joy.  I felt pure love.  I felt you.  And, instead of the gut-wrenching loss I've been so focused on lately, I was bathed in warm, beautiful, happy memories.  Laughter.  Light and hope.  And I remembered, "Breathe...just breathe..." and continue to live each moment, each hour, each day.

Peanut, you are my lighthouse in this fog.  Thank you for bringing me laughter today.  Yet another amazing piece of your magic.  I love you so much it makes me wonder if my heart still has room in my chest.  To the moon, and heaven, and the stars and back, sweet Peanut.  That is how much I love you.

- Momma

Monday, June 13, 2011

If My Heart Had Wings

Peanut -

You were everywhere today.  I think you knew Momma was struggling and decided to stage a Peanut Intervention in the form of one single-minded, determined, bright orange butterfly.  Every time I stepped outside our house this morning and afternoon, there he was waiting for me.  Within seconds, I knew it was you.  "Hi Peanut!"  You landed on my arm, my shoulder, flew around me and Henry The Puppy, and spent several minutes hitch-hiking on my hand.  Even when I sat down in the middle of the yard to cry, you stuck by me.  You landed right next to me, and waited me out...then you moved to a lock of my hair and flapped your wings, as if to dry my tears.  And I smiled.  Sorrow and joy, side by side.

My belief that these visits are you, and are my way of staying connected to you, provides my heart with a much needed lift.  A glimmer of hope.  Something positive to hang on to in the moments of intense sorrow.  In my mind I picture my heart growing its own set of wings, gaining strength every day with support and hope from you.  These wings are bright orange, like my Peanut Butterfly.  While these wings won't "fix" the hole in my heart, I think they are helping to smooth the rough edges.

Darling Peanut, I am missing you with an intensity I haven't felt in a few weeks?  Months?  The ebb and flow of grief is something I was warned to expect, but it doesn't make it any easier when the dark times come knocking.  I am trying my hardest to hang on to your joy, light, and happiness.  The wonderful memories.  All the good you brought to me and this world.  But, I still want to hold you, hug you, kiss you, hear your laugh and watch your little penguin walk.  I pray for those moments to visit me in my dreams tonight.

I love you so very much, Peanuckle.  To the moon and back!
- Momma

Sunday, June 12, 2011

21 Months Old

Peanut -

You should have turned 21 months old today.  According to all the milestone charts, you should be using a fork and spoon on your own.  You should be kicking a ball.  Climbing and balancing on curbs, furniture.  Playing on playground equipment.  Going up and down stairs on your own.  Trying to climb out of your crib (well, you were already trying to do that!).  Washing your hands on your own.  Helping to dress yourself.  You should be learning up to 10 new words a day, and actually using between 50-70 of those words.  I'll bet you would be waaaaay beyond that number at this point since you were already stringing words together at 16-months.

Instead of celebrating another month of life, I am mourning the loss of these milestones.  Instead of having my amazing little boy climbing on my lap, playing with my hair and giving me sweet hugs, I have an urn full of ashes on a bookshelf surrounded by his beloved froggies and toys.  Instead of the unspeakable joy of motherhood on a daily basis, I have an unspeakably large, jagged hole in my heart.

Peanut, weekends are hard.  At least I have work to keep me occupied during the week.  But weekends loom large, and are full of far too much empty space.  What's worse, is I find it hard to spend time around too many other people right now.  Even when I do make plans to see friends, I can only do it in short bursts.  My isolation is my comfort and my curse.  Once upon a time, I was an avid reader and shunned TV.  Now I find TV to be a wonderful escape - a place and time to shut off my brain.  The more mindless the shows, the better.  Yuck.

As hard as this pain is, I wouldn't trade one moment of our time - my time - with you to escape it.  You have taught me so very much about the capacity of my love, to grieve, to care, to nurture, to suffer, to survive.  You have taught me that to open my heart to the joy of unconditional Momma love is to also place my heart at great risk.  But, what I think would be almost as tragic as our loss of you, is to never allow myself to take that love-risk again.  Because the reward is what you have given me, our family, friends and many of the people who read this blog.  The Peanut Effect.  I am a better person, wife, and Momma because of 500 amazing days of Peanut.  Thank you, Super Peanut.

Sending you giant hugs and heaven kisses.  I love you to the moon and back, Peanut.
- Momma

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Story Time

Peanut -

I went to the bookstore today and found myself in the Children's area picking up books I thought you might enjoy.  Creating and adding to your book collection was one of my favorite pastimes, from even before you were born.   Peanut, I started collecting books for you back when I was in my 20s, when I knew I wanted children more than anything, and I just knew my kids would love books the way I love books.  And I was right.  You absolutely loved your books and nightly story time.

A wonderful artist named Felix Doolittle creates special, personalized stationary, tags and bookplates, including a collection for children (  Right after you were born I ordered you your very own "Connor Patrick" bookplates, and carefully inserted them in every special book I added to your book collection (see picture below).  I only have a few left, and I'm not sure what to do with them.  The rest of the bookplates live inside some of your most favorite books, like "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and also in books you never grew old enough to read..."The Velveteen Rabbit" and "Where the Wild Things Are" to name a few.  I hope to share those books - and their truly meaningful bookplates - with future children.  While some of your most used and favorite books will need to be replaced, so many others have stood alone, waiting for the love of a child.

So, back to today's trip to the bookstore.  I ran into a "Guess How Much I Love You" display that very well could have reduced me to a melted butterball of tears.  But, it didn't.  All I wanted to do was pick up the book and read it, and be very, very thankful, for our nightly story time ritual.  I continue the ritual here every night as I sign off, and imagine I just might do this every night for eternity.  Or, until I get to hold you again.  You know why?  Because I love you soooooooooooo much.  To the moon and back!

- Momma

Friday, June 10, 2011

Dear Charlie - Can I Call You Charlie?

Peanut -

Wow.  The outpouring of support for our Peanut Letter Writing Campaign has been...well, overwhelming. Momma must admit, she's navigating these waters as she goes, so huge apologies if this feels klunky.  What I do know is we have an amazing, tremendous support network of people who have been touched by your life, your death, your story and your magic.  And, together we are going to work hard to make sure to effect change.  For now, in St. Louis County.  In the future, across the nation.  And from there, who knows?

I have included a link to my original letter, including the distribution list,  at the end of this posting.  It is in PDF format, which will hopefully work for most who want to print and send.  What I recommend is printing the letter, and, if you want, attaching your own personal note or cover.  You can send it just to Charlie Dooley, or you can also copy the full distribution list.  I believe the power of this campaign will be the impact of Dooley seeing this letter, these pictures, reading this same story, over and over and over and over.   You can print the letter in color.  Black and white.  Photocopy it.  Share with friends.  I want him to know this is more than one terribly sad, angry, bereaved parent.  This is a community rallying around the memory of one very special little Peanut, who deserved better.

Peanut, as I've worked on this letter this week, it has brought up so many memories of the morning we lost you.  Painful, awful memories I thought my mind had blurred and faded.  I was wrong.  But, I was also able to recall the wonderful kindness of the strangers we encountered that day who were true angels.  The Metro West EMTs.  The St. Luke's ER staff.  And, the friends and family who we already knew were wonderful people, but showed us a whole new level of love and support in our absolute worst hours.  These individuals changed me forever, and taught me a whole list of lessons about compassion.  I am thankful for those memories.

Finally, I saw another bright orange butterfly this afternoon in the side yard.  He landed on The Perfect Branch, on the chain that used to hold your swing.  And, at that very moment a breeze started to blow.  The chain swung back and forth as the butterfly hung on for the ride.  Then he took flight, landed on my shoulder, flapped his wings a few times, and flew into the sky.   Hello, Peanut.  Looks like you got my letter from earlier this week to the right people in heaven.  My smart boy.  I love you soooooo much.  You know how much?  To the moon and back!

- Momma

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Neck Nuzzles

Peanut -

One of my very favorite ways to shower love on you was to pepper your soft, sweet little neck with hundreds of Momma Kisses.  You would see me moving in, and immediately giggle.  Then I'd start to give you all sorts of kisses - MWAH! MWAH! MWAH! - and you would break into peals of laughter.  And your laugh...oh, it was infectious.  By the time I was done, you would have your head thrown back in non-stop giggles, I would be doubled-over laughing, and anyone else in the room would be glowing.

The same thing used to happen when Dadda would tickle you under your chin, on your feet, or across your little tummy.  Or, when he would swing you upside down.  I could be anywhere in the house, and I'd hear that musical, magical laughter.  I truly understand the power behind the phrase, "The day the music died" now.  Our house is so very lonely and quiet without your laugh.

I was looking back at some of our older pictures this evening, and saw a whole series from when you truly discovered your adorable laugh.  It was so amazing, so beautiful, that Dadda and I took a few HUNDRED pictures.  Seriously.  I'm sharing two tonight that are so "Peanut."  They're from February of 2010, when you were 5 months old.  And, already I can see your funny, happy personality shining through.

Peanut, I've missed you a lot this week.  And, I've talked about you a ton.  It feels good to talk about you.  It seems to keep you alive.  I also finished a Very Important Letter today, with the help of SUDC.  It's the letter I'm going to send to St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley regarding the awful treatment we received from Dr. Mary Case and her Medical Examiner's Office.  It's been a hard letter to write, but it feels good - really good - to know it will be sent and will hopefully create some action.  I'm debating posting a template of the letter to this blog, in case anyone wants to join my letter-writing campaign.  Readers, if that would interest you please either drop me a line, hit the +1 button below (I can't figure out any other use for it!) or post a comment.

Peanut, I'm working hard to make you proud.  And to show you that we will live and love in honor of you and your beautiful presence in our lives.  My sweet, amazing boy.  I love the moon and back!

- Momma

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

To Whom It May Concern...

Peanut -

Today was a hard, hard day.  I cried for you off and on all day, beginning in the shower, through my morning commute, at my desk, in my office, in the bathroom, on the drive home...sounds a little bit like a very sad Dr. Seuss book.  Dadda asked if anything in particular triggered it today, and I realized, no.  Just the passing of time.  The hard driving reality of life without you.  Your little life and personality frozen at 16.5 months.  All the heart-breakingly beautiful memories we created and all the experiences we will never get to have with you.  So, I have decided to give you a letter to pass along to the "right people" in heaven.  Here goes.

To Whom It May Concern -
I'm sure you've already realized what a very special, amazing addition heaven received when Peanut joined you on January 26 of this year.  I also suspect you've realized by now that you made a giant mistake.  It wasn't his time, because he had so many wonderful things left to do here on earth.  He was so happy, healthy, funny, and loving - the world truly doesn't have enough pure souls like his making this a better place.  I swear I will never understand why you had to take him now.  If I could negotiate with you or plead my case, I would.  I want my little boy back.  Plain and simple.  But, since that's impossible, I'd like to ask that you make sure he gets to experience the following things this summer, because these are the things he should be doing with me.  And, I know he would love every moment of each activity -
Chase and kick a ball
Swing from a perfect tree branch
Run after lightning bugs
Pet a dog
Eat with a spoon
Try ice cream
Say, "I love you Momma"
Come visit me a few times...butterflies, froggies, rainbows, etc.
Sleep in a big boy bed with a pillow
Jump into the deep end of the pool
Sing Itsy-Bitsy Spider all on his own
Dance to ANYTHING with a decent groove
And, can you make sure he he gets to watch The Backyardigans every once in a while?  At least the theme song?  Thank you.  With love and appreciation.  - Peanut's Momma

Peanut, I might add to this list from time to time.  It doesn't feel like too much to ask, does it?  Let me know if there is anything special you want me to request.  I'll continue to take care of reading to you at night, since "Guess How Much I Love You" is still our special book.  You know why?  Yep, that's right my little Nutbrown Hare.  Because I love you - to the mooooooooon and back.

- Momma

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Family Photos

Peanut -

I have one really, really big regret.  Something we didn't do before we lost you...a mistake I will never, ever make again.  We never took a true family photo.  While we have thousands of pictures of you, which I will treasure for the rest of my life, we don't have any full "family" pictures with you, me, Dadda and your four half-siblings.  For his birthday in October, I gave Dadda a photo shoot with our favorite photographer, Heidi Drexler (, but we kept finding reasons to postpone.  There is always a reason.  Someone wants to lose weight.  Or, the weather isn't perfect.  Or, let's wait until Peanut is just a little older.  Unfortunately, you will never get older.  And, we will never get that photo.

Readers, if it's been over a year since you took a family photo, or if you've never had one taken, make plans tomorrow!  Don't let another day, another week, slip by.  Capture the happy moments you have, and keep them close to your heart.  There is no guarantee you will have them tomorrow, next month or next year.  But, I can guarantee you will ALWAYS want to remember them.  It's the photos that keep our memories alive when everything else begins to fade.

Peanut, I'm including one of the few photos we have of you, me and Dadda.  It was taken by Heidi at your 3-month photo shoot.  I am eternally grateful to her for suggesting and taking this picture since it never occurred to us to actually be in any of the photos!  I love looking at how happy we are in this picture...our complete, content little family.  I look at this picture and remember what "perfect" felt like.

My heart feels awfully ragged tonight, Peanut.  I am missing you terribly.  I'm sending you love, hugs and kisses - to the moon and back!

- Momma

Monday, June 6, 2011

Watch and Share...For A Reason

Peanut -

Tonight I am sharing an amazing new You Tube video produced by SUDC (  It does a wonderful job explaining what families like ours have been through, how special each of our children are, and what the public can do to help raise awareness.  For those who attended Peanut's Memorial Service, you will recognize the song playing at the is a song that will forever bring smiles and sobs to Momma.  It is my Peanut Anthem.

I know producing this video was a huge effort for a small but powerful organization.  I ask those who read this blog to please spend 10 minutes watching this, and then share.  Share with friends and family.  Help us get the word out.  It is lack of knowledge about SUDC that caused my family to be treated so poorly by the St. Louis County Medical Examiner's Office.  They still don't acknowledge SUDC which in turn skews the number of cases reported to the CDC.  In particular, from a jurisdiction as large as St. Louis County.  Shameful.

Peanut, part of my commitment to honoring you and your life is advocacy on behalf of SUDC.  It begins now.  And, for those who know me, you know Peanut's Momma is like a dog with a bone.  Or, a large steak.  Single-minded in purpose.  Especially when the cause is my baby.  Look out world.

Sweet Peanut, you give me strength and inspiration.  You have helped me choose to LIVE, not just survive.  With steel in my spine, I stand tall and strong in the fight to make this least, as right as it can be.  Because you deserve that.  I love you soooooo very much.  To the moon and back.

- Momma

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Froggy Friend

Peanut -

I spent a large portion of today missing you, and feeling terribly blue.  My mind was occupied with thoughts of everything we should be much fun you would be having in the pool, running around the yard, swinging, watching Disney movies, and just turning into a little boy, in general.  My little boy, to be specific.

The unfairness of all of this came rushing in today like a flood - a flood I've been unable to slow down or control.  I know there are no answers, but I can't stop looking for something to blame.  A totally unproductive emotion and activity, but it's where my mind keeps treading.  I want answers I will never least, not anytime soon.  And, it scares the hell out of me.  How can I optimistically plan for the future, when I have no confidence in what tomorrow will bring?  It's just so...hard.

Just as I was feeling my lowest today, Dadda brought me a visitor who snuck into the house.  A tiny, bright green Froggy Friend - just like your magical School and Home Froggies.  He hopped up on the bed, jumped over to me, then sprang across the bed once! twice! three times!  Dadda and I had to leap over to stop him from flying across the room.  A fearless little Froggy...just like our Peanut.  As far as we can recall, the one and only thing that ever scared you was the vacuum cleaner.  The mere sight and sound of that machine was enough to drive you into Momma's arms in an instant with panic eyes!  (Trust me, I get it - big, red, noisy monster!)

That bright green Froggy Friend made me laugh.  Just hearing the sound of my own laughter gave me some hope.  And, hope is what we need to hang on to for now, for the future.  And, to honor you, sweet Peanut.  I love you sooooooo very much.  To the moon and back!

- Momma

Saturday, June 4, 2011



You made Momma and Dadda's day today.  Henry's too.  Despite the oppressive St. Louis heat, we found a very pleasant spot in the shade this afternoon to hang out, catch the minimal breeze and play fetch with Henry...all while looking out over your Very Special Tree.  Wait, wait.  Let's back up a few hours.

So, this morning was overwhelmingly sad for Momma.  We went to IHOP for breakfast, and I couldn't shake my memories of visiting IHOP with you last fall and winter.  You loved their pancakes with syrup - and everyone who worked there just adored you.  It felt so wrong having breakfast there without you.  Then again, there really aren't any places that feel "right" anymore.  So, there we sat, in the middle of IHOP with Momma crying into her orange juice.  <sigh>

Back to this afternoon.  There we were - playing fetch, lounging in the grass, talking about you (and complaining a bit about the 13-year cicadas).  When suddenly, out of nowhere we see this large, bright orange butterfly.  It came sweeping in from above, and flew directly into Henry's snout, hovering for a moment then initiating a spirited game of tag.  Henry leapt and bound around the yard, giving chase while Dadda and I called out "PEANUT!"  With that, the butterfly flitted our way to say "Hi! hi! hi! hi!" then winged off back over Henry's head, across the front yard, over to your bedroom window, then off to the side of the house.  It was you.  Dadda and I felt it with such power, it brought us both to tears.  Amazing.  Powerful.  Direct Peanut Contact.

Peanut, I truly believe we receive the signs we are open to hearing, seeing, feeling.  Since January I have made the deliberate decision to be an open vessel.  To believe.  To have faith.  A hard thing for a skeptic like Momma.  But the rewards have been amazing.  I feel you by my side, in my heart, holding my hand every single day.  In this way, you continue to be part of my day-to-day conversations, decisions, thoughts.  You lift my spirit in the dark, sad moments.  You send me memories when I'm afraid I'm forgetting.  You visit with a hug, froggy or butterfly when I need to know you're still present.  And you very much are, every moment of every day.

Peanut, I love you more than words can ever describe.  Actually, I don't think there is a word for the love I feel for you...a definite flaw of the English language.  But, as I told you every night when you were on earth, and I will tell you every night for eternity - I love you to the moon and back!

- Momma

Friday, June 3, 2011


Peanut -

I loved, loved, loved your "big boy" car seat.  It was so nice to transition from the khaki and orange Chicco pumpkin seat to your grown-up, front-facing real seat.  Dadda and I went in decidedly different directions when it came to choosing what you would transition into for a car seat.  He chose a nice, calm steel gray seat that blended with the colors of his car.  But Momma?  Oh, no way.  I ran out and found the Britax Cowmooflage seat that totally stood out against my beige interior.  And, every time I put you in my car I give you a giant, "Mooooooooooooo!"

It's interesting.  Your car seat is one of the things I still look for every day.  I find myself opening the back door to get you, and I constantly check the rearview mirror since you and I used to make faces for each other in the mirror every morning.  Sometimes I think I catch a shadow of you.  I have a hard time putting anything else in the back seat now.  Especially in Your Spot.  It's like I'm holding or reserving it for you.  Odd?  Maybe.

I miss dropping you off at school in the mornings.  It always started my day off with a smile and laugh.  We would get to your school, park the car, and I'd come around to your door.  You knew the program.  As soon as the door opened, you would start to pump your little legs, and you'd give me your monkey noises, "Oh! Oh! Ohohohoh!"  We would get you untethered from the seat, zip up your coat, and off we went...sometimes I would carry you but in those last few weeks I would hold your hand and we'd WALK into school like a big boy and his very proud Momma.  Your teachers and friends would always greet you with hugs and food (even though you'd already had breakfast)!  Leaving was the hardest part.  Those last few weeks were filled with tears and you trying to follow me out the door...but I always knew I'd get to hug and hold you again in just a few hours.  I also knew how much you adored school and your amazing teachers.

It's so hard to believe I'll never see your toothy grin or raised eyebrow stare in my rearview mirror again.  My little Peanut who was so full of life, character, personality.  I am beyond thankful for the days we had and the memories I have to share, but we march towards the 6-month milestone your loss is becoming all too real.  

Peanut, I think about that cowmooflage car seat and I realize, it was just perfect.  The perfect amount of funny, goofiness for you.  For me.  I look at that seat and I smile.  I see your funny faces and I hear, "Mooooooooooo!"  And it creates joy and laughter.  And, that's what it's about.

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

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lightning Bug Tag

Peanut -

I had a visit from you and some of your buddies last night.  It was that wonderful moment in time, between dusk and dark, when the cicadas are out in full voice.  I was in the side yard with Henry the Puppy, checking on your Special Peanut Tree and I saw you.  In the form of lightning bugs.  The first ones I've seen this season.  There was a small group of you, playing around Your Tree, obviously having a wonderful time.  There were no other lightning bugs anywhere else in the yard...just your little playgroup zooming around showing off your tail-lights.  And all I could think was "Lightning Tag!"  And I smiled.

This has been a trying, exhausting week for Momma.  I've been getting fully re-engaged at the office which means encountering a LOT of people every single day.  People who haven't seen me since January.  Every day has been filled with questions, concern, some fear and trepidation, but overall an overwhelming amount of love and care.  Still, I'm relieved to be working remotely tomorrow.  I need some space to breathe.  Because even when I'm fully connected to work, busy in the middle of the day, surrounded by co-workers, you sneak up on me in the form of powerful images, memories and tears.

Peanut, I've sure been missing you a lot this week.  I miss your hands in my hair, touching my face, playing with my eyelashes.  I miss watching you study my face while I gaze at you in were my little boy.  You represented the best parts of me.  You still do.  I love you so very, very much.  To the moooooon and back!

- Momma

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Warrior Hugs

Peanut -

Last week I was forwarded another momma's blog ( who is in the midst of an awful tragedy.  One of her 6-month old triplets was found unresponsive in his crib, and while they were able to get his heartbeat back, they eventually had to make the heart-wrenching decision to end life support.  Through the amazing Children's Miracle Network, they were able to pass life along to numerous, waiting organ donation candidates, helping to ensure their little warrior - Owen - lives on.  Did you know that the name Owen means "warrior"?  How fitting.  His funeral was today, and everyone was asked to wear orange in celebration since that was his triplet color-code.  In honor of that request, tonight's picture is from your first birthday, when I mysteriously decided to dress you in orange, despite your bright-red themed Elmo birthday party...!

A comment on Owen's momma's blog included the following poem, which really spoke to me this evening.  I feel like so many friends are walking their own grief journeys right now, so I hope they find comfort in this...I know I did.

Something Beautiful Remains
The tide recedes but leaves behind bright seashells on the sand,
the sun goes down but gentle warmth still lingers on the land.
The music stops and yet it echoes on in sweet refrain…for every joy that
passes, something beautiful remains.

Peanut, keep an eye out for Owen.  He is still so young; I know he will need some guidance, playmates and friends in heaven.  I can't think of anyone better than you.  And, to everyone who reads this, please keep the Bissing family in your prayers.  His momma is hurting mightily right now, but also seems to be staying as strong as possible.  This will be a long, hard road for them. 

My sweet, loving Peanut who adored his friends, teachers, family - everyone.  I can only imagine the impact you're having in heaven.  And, I know you're watching and delighting in the giant impact you're still having on earth.  The Peanut Effect is in full force, day after day.  My hope is a part of your legacy includes our family helping to support families like the Bissings.  This journey is too hard to walk alone. And, sometimes, you just need someone who understands what it means to lose a child.  A child who is your heart.  Your present and future.  A giant piece of you.
I love you so much, sweet little Nutbrown Hare.  Sending you a big air kiss <MMMMWAH!> and a Momma Hug.  And, I know you'll share a Peanut Warrior Hug with little Owen.  I'm sure he needs it.
- Momma