Sunday, July 29, 2012


Peanut -

One of the hardest things Dadda and I had to face after your death was the loss of our sense of self, of family.  We found ourselves in a big, empty, quiet house surrounded by your lonely, still toys.  We had so much - too much - time on our hands.  Unwanted time.  My heart and mind craved our old, crazy, busy, heavily scheduled life.  The life that revolved around you.

Peanut, having you changed everything about Momma and Dadda.  We happily gave our weekends, evenings, every spare moment to be with you.  Going out to dinner was replaced by family meals at the kitchen table with you pulled between us in your high chair.  Weekend sleep-in sessions gave way to 6:00 am breakfast and The Backyardigans.  It was different.  It was fun.  It was family.  It was perfect.

Little by little, that sense of family and routine has reentered our lives thanks to The Pickle.  Each month new "old" elements creep back in...pre-bed story time, Mondays with grandma and grandpa, funny photo sessions in the high chair.  It's all so familiar.  And while it is tremendously healing, it is bittersweet.  All these moments with The Pickle remind Momma of just how much we had built with you.  And just how much we lost.

Peanut, I am so thankful for the 500 days we got to have with you on this earth.  And, I am so thankful that I still feel your love every single day.  Your presence is so strong, so very real.  We continue to see your signs...the tiny froggies who linger outside the kitchen window, the monarch butterfly who spent all Saturday by the pool with Momma and Dadda, the special rainbow cloud that hovered over the house for 15 minutes in an otherwise clear, blue sky.  "Hi Peanut!"

I'm sending you special Momma kisses tonight  - MMMMMWAHHH!  I love you.  How much?  To the moon - and back.

- Momma

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Art of Remembering

Peanut -

Lately Momma has begun to worry...what if I forget you?  What if I find myself forgetting how tightly you would hug me, right around my neck, while you bounced up and down and up and down?  What if I forget the feel of your warm, sweet breath on my cheeks while you played with my eyelashes, full of awe and wonder?  What if, what if, what if...

Then, today, the SUDC Facebook page posted the following little article and it spoke to me.  So much that I needed to share it tonight, to reinforce and remind me...this is why I created this blog.  This is why I write you these letters.  This is why I still feel you every moment of every day.  This is why I will continue to write to you as long as I'm on this earth, and able to write, to speak, to remember.

Sending you all my love...right up to the moon - and back!
- Momma

How to Move Through Grief and Never Forget Your Child...EVER

The grief of losing a child of any age is the worst grief there is. No parent should have to bury their own child. If you are reading this then the chances are you have lost a child or know someone who has.

I lost my daughter, Holly, when she was 5 months of age to SIDS. 

We all need help dealing with grief. Coping with the loss of a baby or a child of any age is the toughest thing we have to get through. 

The biggest fear I had as I started my journey through grief was that she would be forgotten. By me, my family and my friends. 

I now know that forgetting your child is the biggest fear parents have. 

Would you like to know how to start moving through your grief knowing you will never forget your child, ever? If you follow, learn and use the techniques that I am about to show you, youʼll avoid ever forgetting your child. And so will your family and friends. 

By learning and using these ideas I am about to show you, you will start to move through your grief and pain to a place of inspiration, where you will be healthy, inspired and at peace. 

Does that sound like a great thing to learn? 

How would it feel to wake up every morning feeling inspired and know that your child is looking after you all the time and holding your hand through your journey? How would it feel knowing what you are doing in your life is helping others and inspiring them. How would it feel to be healthy, inspired and at peace with the world and have a real purpose in life? 

I used to wake up feeling so sad, depressed, lonely, in pain and desperately fearful that I would one day forget Holly. 

By learning how to start moving through my pain and grief and making sure Holly was beside me all the way I now lead a very inspiring and blessed life.

This may sound impossible to you right now but please understand that it is not impossible at all. I was where you are and I got myself through it by taking some action and creating a plan to get me through to the other side. 

I recently surveyed over 100 people and the number one fear they had about their grief was they, their family and their friends would forget their child. 

90% of the respondents said ʻforgettingʼ was their number one fear. With this information I decided to use what I had learned to help you. 

My interest in meditation and the power of the mind helped me discover the ideas and techniques you are about to learn. 

I have always had an interest in meditation and being a spiritual person. I have learnt that by taking action to change our thoughts and changing our habits we can change our life. 

This can take as little as 30 days. 

Taking action is such an important part of moving yourself from where you are to where you want to be. We can sit back and listen and know what to do but until we take the action nothing will change.

Grief can paralyze us and make us lethargic, depressed and leave us with no motivation. 

Think of a flower that is dead and a flower that is alive. What is the difference between the two? A flower that is alive is growing, moving and blooming...a flower that is dead is not growing or moving at all. We need to keep growing all the time. If we donʼt we will slowly die, just like the dead flower. 

This exercise can take as little as 5 minutes per day but the impact on your life will be enormous. From little things, big things grow. 

This is where you draw a line in the sand and decide it is time to take action. 

Here are your action steps for the next 30 days to start moving you through your grief, pain and fear of forgetting your child to a place of inspiration, peace and purpose with a child you will never forget. 

  1. Set a time everyday, preferably first thing in the morning to do this exercise. 
  2. Close your eyes and visualize in your mind a wonderful and happy memory you have of 
  3. your child. 
  4. Write down exactly what you see to the best of your ability. Be very specific. 
  5. With your eyes closed again, bring your memory into focus. 
  6. See your child looking at you with that big beautiful smile, holding your hand, pulling you close and giving you a cuddle and then a kiss on the cheek. Then you hear your child say “I love you and I will be here to help you through your life always. All you have to do is close your eyes or just think of me and I will be there for you. I love you.” 
  7. Spend about 5 minutes in that space and talk to your child and renew your relationship. 

Do this exercise EVERY morning or night (preferably both!) for the next 30 days and it will be set for the long term. 

This simple exercise is what I started doing 22 years ago and I still do it now. It changed my life and will change yours. It will help you avoid the pain of grief and sorrow and will start you on a peaceful and inspiring journey towards your new inspiring life with your child beside you everyday guiding you and always being a part of you. 

This can be a painful thing to do at first. It was for me. Donʼt let that stop you. Just know the love coming from both sides is as big as the ocean. The only quality you need to do this exercise is perseverance. Keep doing it and the love between you, the universe and your child will get you through. 

RIGHT NOW: Itʼs time to ACT so you get this in your life you start doing what it takes to get you started moving through your grief and finding your place of inspiration, good health, peace and love with your child holding your hand. 

DO THIS NOW: Write down the new habit you are creating in specific detail. The memory, where it was, how old your child was, what your child was wearing, what you were feeling, what was the weather like? If you are going to do this in the morning, write down what time you will get up, how you are going to get ready, what you are going to wear and where your going to do it. 

Mentally visualize yourself doing your new habit 3 times. Imagine it in your mind clearly until you can see the entire thing. This will help you see what you have to put in place to get yourself to do it. Then put it in your calendar, and finally put a note on your fridge, your computer and your phone. UNPLUG your computer and phone and turn them off so you see it in the morning - and it reminds you to REMEMBER YOUR CHILD EVERYDAY! 

Copyright 2011 Kevin McNamara. All rights reserved. 
Please feel free to share this article with all your friends.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Peanut -

Ever since your memorial service Momma has had an overwhelming aversion to large gatherings.  (And to small, confined spaces...and airplanes...)  In particular, I avoid big meetings at work that involve more than 50 people.  I look around in those crowded rooms and it's like I'm experiencing your memorial service all over again.  The same faces, the same groupings, all wearing dark suits and serious expressions.

And now, next week, Momma has to look her fear straight in the eye and conquer it.  Why?  Because I not only have to attend a 2-day meeting with over 200 peers, but I have to get up and speak.  I have to stand up in front of all those faces and give a 30 minute presentation.  Once upon a time this would have been exciting - a great opportunity.  Now, it is torture.

I suspect the bulk of my anxiety is self imposed.  A product of my imagination and the running dialogue in my own head.  Momma is still convinced people look at her and is she still alive and functioning?  Didn't the loss of her son completely ruin and cripple her?  Why does she seem "fine"?  And, how did he die, anyway?  Was't he too old for SIDS?

Of course, I'm sure 99.9% of the individuals who come into contact with me don't even remember what happened.  Or, it feels very distant since it's been over 18 months.  By the time Momma has to present to the group, the meeting will be well into day #2 and everyone is going to bored, antsy, ready to get back to their offices.  I'll be just one more speaker to get through.

Still.  I wonder...will I always feel this way?  Will I always wish I could just hole up in a home-based office?  Not have to come into contact with anyone but Pickle and Dadda?  Operate solely via telephone, e-mail and conference calls?  Will I have to put on this mask of professionalism, happiness, extroversion every day for the rest of my life?

Perhaps.  Peanut, the loss of you changed everything about Momma right down to her very core.  There is a new stillness.  A quiet, calm peace.  A desire for harmony.  And no tolerance for drama.  Or this crazy anxiety.

Peanut, Momma is going to tap into the serenity I feel when I gaze at your piercing blue eyes, funny little expressions, sunshine smile.  You are my calm, my peace.  You are my love and my heart.  I miss you so very much.  I love you - right up to the mooooooon and back!

- Momma

Thursday, July 19, 2012

SuperPeanutMomma Ring - The Sequel

Peanut -

Almost one year ago Momma posted a letter about a very, very special ring.  Her SuperPeanutMomma ring.  This is a ring that bears your initials and was a treasured gift from Aunt Dru.  Momma wears it every single day, without fail.  This ring holds amazing powers.  Powers of serenity.  Calm.  Love.  Hope.  Sorrow and grief.  Remembrance.

Earlier this week that ring was put to the test.  As I have said many times in recent months, Year Two is hard.  Harder than I imagined.  Different than Year One in so many ways.  Year Two is about dealing with the future.  While Year One is all about not knowing how you are going to survive, how you are going to face another day, Year Two is focused on the fact that you WILL survive and face another day and another and another - all without your child.  All without my Peanut.  It is about making sense of a fact and a future that make no sense.

Year Two is also about learning to create a future surrounded by people don't know or remember your history.  Our history.  People who don't know your Momma as Peanut's Momma.  People who don't know the journey we've been on since January of 2011.

Momma faced the perfect Year Two storm this week, at the tail end of a work meeting.  As Momma has gradually transitioned to her official married name these last few months, there have been a few hiccups.  An occasional botched introduction.  And, that was the case at the beginning of this particular meeting.  As the meeting wrapped, one of the gentleman spotted my SuperPeanutMomma ring, with its giant "M" in the middle.  He laughed as he asked, "Is that to remind you about your married name?  Or, should it actually be turned upside down to represent a W for Wonder Woman?"

Oh Peanut...I was at a loss.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Just keep breathing, breathing, breathing.  Just keep breathing.

Assume good intentions.


Walk away.

So Momma held the ring, twisted it quickly and walked away, head held high.  Once I had a moment alone, I kissed the SuperPeanutMomma ring and released a few, small tears.

This is Year Two.  This is The Future.  Without you...

I miss you so much, Peanut, it makes my heart heavy and it almost pains me to breathe.  You are in my mind, my heart, my soul every second of every day.  I love you - to the moooooooon and back!

- Momma

THE Ring: "Connor Patrick Mulholland"

The Pickle and the SuperPeanutMomma Ring.  My boys...close together.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Farewell...Not Goodbye

Peanut -

There is one more angel in heaven...this time she's a Momma Angel.  Sarah.  Sweet Sarah, who always strove to bring a smile to others, who put herself last, who loved her children more than anything else in this world.  Her daughter and sons are still here on earth struggling to make sense of life without their mom, so I have to believe heaven needed more mommas.  Hopefully you have already found her.  Hopefully you have given her a giant Peanut-style hug, a booming belly laugh, and maybe even a verse of two of "Itsy Bitsy Spider."

Many of us bid Sarah "farewell" this evening.  Momma has learned to not say "goodbye" when a loved one leaves this world...simply "farewell."  Because, I know we will see each other again.

Momma can't stop thinking about the thank you card we sent out to the hundreds of family members and friends who supported and surrounded us in the weeks after you passed away.  It was simply too much to think about writing a note to over 400 people.  So Momma borrowed a tool from one of the first grief support books (first of many) she read in those early months.  We wrote one heartfelt message and had it printed in a very special photo card.  Tonight Momma is sharing that note with the just feels like the right time:

Dear Friends and Family,

We so appreciate every card, plant, hug, call, and every other gesture of love and sympathy extended during our tragic loss of Connor.  While our hearts are torn to pieces and our family is now incomplete, having the care of friends and relatives has been more support than we can possibly convey.

It is currently too painful to write each person individually, but please know we have read, re-read, cried and taken comfort from every expression of love and support.

Friends like you are the blessing that is sent to help pull us through this time of grief and sorrow.  Thank you for all you have done to help us say, "Farewell for now, we will see you again soon" to our lovely little Peanut.

In Peanut's loving memory,
Shaun and Lynn

Peanut, we also inscribed on the other side of the card the following very personal note to you:

We love you right up to the moon - and back.  For eternity.
Connor Patrick "Peanut" Mulholland
9/12/2009 - 1/26/2011
Love and kisses,
Momma and Dadda

I share these words in the hopes that someone else can find support, help, love, hope in the thoughts we expressed in those most painful, horrific days.  I share them tonight in my own Momma tribute to Sarah.  Sweet Sarah.  Momma Angel Sarah.  You left us far, far too soon.

Peanut, give her a hug.  Read her your favorite book.  And remember - always remember - I love you.  Right up to the moon...and back!

- Momma

Photo collage similar to the cover of Peanuts' photo card.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Treasure Chest

Peanut -

Momma came home Tuesday evening to a wonderful surprise.  Your Dadda - in true, super-sneaky Dadda fashion - had ordered, created and assembled a beautiful, perfect place for all your most favorite toys, clothes, and mementos.  Most people would look at it and think "oh, a cedar chest" but Momma looks at it and instantly sees a Treasure Chest.

You see, as we packed your room last summer, Dadda and I quickly assembled a grouping of items that were so special, so YOU, that we knew they would never be re-used, forgotten, or packed away permanently.  Items that still carry a giant piece of you and evoke our most powerful memories.  Your Elmo.  The green hoodie from your six month photos.  The gentle Sleep Sheep from your crib.

It has broken our hearts to know they've been languishing in large, plastic storage bins this last year.  They deserve a place of beauty and honor.  A spot in the house where we can visit, touch, smell them on a daily basis, if needed.  Or less.  But to always know they are safe.  Protected.  Honored.

And now that place exists.  While I know tears will flow as we re-open those storage bins and rediscover these pieces of you, my heart is lifted.  This is where your little tennis shoes, navy puffer coat and giraffe rattle belong.

Actually, I can't wait to visit them again.  And again.  And again.

With bunches of noodles of Momma love.  To the moon - and back!

- Momma

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sunday Morning Foodfest

Peanut -

So many of my favorite moments and memories with you involve food.  Family meals.  Gathering in the kitchen to create a multi-course celebration while dancing, singing, laughing.  From the time you were big enough to sit in a high chair you would chill at the table with us, joining into the conversation with giant bursts of laughter, your high-pitched "ya ya ya ya ya ya ya!" and little monkey grunts.  You always knew exactly the right time to giggle, or look around the table with your eyebrows raised.  It was as if you knew exactly what we were saying - like you were always in on the joke.

Sunday mornings were particularly special.  No matter how busy the rest of the weekend might've been, we always set aside time for Sunday brunch.  Dadda would pull out the eggs and bacon, Momma would caramelize some brown sugar waffle sticks, and you would split your attention between us, your food and The Backyardigans.  Always a VERY motivated eater, you would try a little bit of everything.  Eggs - just OK.  Bacon?  Yummy.  Brown sugar waffles...oh...deeeeeeeeeeelicious!  Of course, by the end of brunch the syrup would be all over your face, stuck in your blonde curls and between your little fingers.  And you loved it.  Truthfully, so did I.  You smelled so delightful.  So warm and sugary.  So perfectly Peanut.

That tradition stopped abruptly, without discussion, in January of 2011.  Actually, all cooking in our house ceased after January 26, 2011.  Dadda and I couldn't bear the quiet.  The looming absence at our table.  It was just easier to go out, or simply skip meals.  Our family had been shattered, so how could we even consider another "family" meal?

Quietly, without fanfare, we have returned to the kitchen.  To the table.  At first it was simply to eat take out food.  Then we found ourselves planning and preparing a diner here, a breakfast there, with no real plan or consistency.

Suddenly, we found ourselves in the kitchen a lot.  Mainly to feed The Pickle, now that he's in the high chair stage and moving into pureed fruits, veggies, and cereal.  His schedule lends itself to eating with us, pulled up to the table between Momma and Dadda.  He watches our conversations, mimicking the movements of our mouths, constantly babbling away, demanding to be a part of the conversation.

On Sunday morning, Dadda pulled out the eggs.  And bacon - maple bacon, to be specific.  Momma rolled around on the floor with your brother while Dadda made crispy bacon, scrambled eggs and toast.  When everything was ready, Momma mashed up a banana for The Pickle, scooted him up to the table and we sat down to eat.  As a family.  And we toasted, "To Peanut..."

The house still smells like maple syrup from the bacon.  I walked in this evening, caught the scent, and felt you.  Oh, baby boy, I miss you.  I love you.  To the mooooooon and back!

- Momma

Covered in peanut butter and syrup.  Deeeeeeeelightful!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Sleepytime Lotion

Peanut -

I miss your scent.  I miss burying my nose in your hair and inhaling the intoxicating smell  I miss that distinct mix of maple syrup, goldfish crackers, Dreft laundry detergent and lavender sleepytime bath wash and lotion.  Add to that a hefty dash of Peanut, and there it was...the essence of you.  L'Eau de Peanut.

After you passed, I searched for your scent throughout the house.  I vowed to capture it, remember it, never lose it.  But, as the months passed, the recognition that I could not preserve your scent was another heartbreaking reality.  Scent is a powerful, tricky thing, however.  The nose and the brain - they remember and remind in a way that truly turns back the hands of time.

Today we gave your brother his first bath in The Big Bathtub.  Momma brought out the GIANT, barely opened, bottles of sleepytime bubble bath and lotion...the ones I kept...the ones I wasn't sure I could ever use or smell again.  The instant I added the bubble bath to the water - WHAM!  Hundreds of memories, moments, emotions washed over me.  In vivid detail Momma relived one of your final baths, when Dadda gave you that "big boy" haircut.  The one that rendered you unrecognizable to my heart in the hospital.  I remembered what a beaming, glorious smile I would see on your face when you splashed around in the tub.  The giggles.  The toys, bubbles and laughter.

Oh, Peanut...I felt joy.  And heartbreak.

Then I got to watch The Pickle experience his first real bath.  A bath tub bath.  His eyes, round as saucers, filled with wonder, amazement.  A little fear.  But, always trusting Momma and Dadda.  And for the rest of the day I got to breathe in his new smell.  His own, specific sleepytime lotion smell.  Similar to yours, but very much his own.  Delightful.  Familiar.

My nose is still tingling.  In a way, I got to feel you again today.  Thank you, sleepytime lotion.  Thank you, Peanut.

Guess how much I love you.  To the moon - and back!

- Momma


Monday, July 2, 2012

Little Joys = Great Hope

Peanut -

Tonight a fortune cookie taught Momma a lesson.  Well, a fortune cookie plus your smily, silly little brother.  Together they teamed up to remind Momma to take a breath, relax, smile, and appreciate what we have while honoring all we have lost.  To not get so mired down in sadness and depression that I can't see the love that surrounds me.

A simple phrase on a tiny piece of paper inserted into a hard, sugary cookie: Sharing little joys offers great hope to others.

What has Momma down?  No one thing.  Everything.  And, nothing.  Maybe it's simply the passing of time.  Switching out The Pickle's closet from 3-6 month to 6-9 month clothes and realizing...he's catching up with you.  Seeing some of the clothes we kept that were purchased for you over Christmas 2010, but never got the chance to be worn.  Clothes that outlived you.

Maybe it's the sense that I'm losing touch with the better, kinder, more gentle version of Momma.  That, as time passes, people are less forgiving.  They don't remember.  They think, "Well, it's been over a year - and she's had another baby.  She should be OK.  Back to normal."  And just like that the little, day-to-day pressures become more urgent.  More pressing.  It's no longer OK to have a bad day.  To need some space.

Maybe it's the bad dreams that have begun plaguing Momma's sleep again.  Most nights I wonder if I'm simply better off trying to stay awake.  As a result, the days are long, exhausting.

But every evening, as I come home from work, I am greeting by a little, spunky blonde sunbeam who grins and laughs the moment I walk through the door.  He melts my heart, and lightens everything about Momma.

Like that little fortune cookie says, sharing little joys - like a smile when Momma comes home from a long day - offers great hope to particular, to Momma.

And Momma hopes there is a cycle of "paying it forward."  That every once in a while a reader of this blog finds some sense of hope, belief, of being not quite so alone, when they read my letters to you, Peanut.

I love you - to the MOON and BACK!
- Momma