Thursday, May 30, 2013

500 Days

Peanut -

On this very same night back in January of 2011 Momma was listening to you on the baby monitor.  You were fussy and restless.  So unlike you.  So much so that at 9:00 pm Momma got up and pulled you out of your crib and read you your favorite book, "Guess How Much I Love You."  We nuggled noses, you gave me a giant Peanut hug and touched my eyelashes.  I laid you back in your crib, never thinking anything would be different in the morning.

I have never been so wrong in my life.  And never will be again.

Confession:  Momma and Dadda had been fighting in the days before you died.  Momma went out to dinner with her sister the night of January 25, 2011 and didn't get home before bedtime.  Momma had no clue that Dadda's Aunt Joan passed away earlier that day, and never got a chance to "check in" with Dadda about his day, how you were doing, or anything at all.

It was just fate - or you, my wise Peanut - that brought me out of bed to hold and hug you. To read to you that night.  To say an unrealized goodbye.

It was just fate that had me check on you at 3 am.

Where was fate when you stopped breathing?

Why you?  Why then?  Why, why, why?

Tomorrow morning, Momma will hold her breath in fear.  Will The Pickle wake up?  Will history repeat itself?  Is the world that cruel?

We were blessed this week to reconnect with some friends who provided us with smiles, hope and a ray of sunshine in the weeks after your death.  The Seeds of Happiness folks who have simply loved and embraced us:  At the end of our time with them, their founder, Mark, gave Momma a special Angel Seed.  Blue, just like Momma's remembrance wristband.  Once again, it hit Momma's heart as a sign from you - you are telling me to to not just survive.  To live, smile, laugh.  To be happy.

There is so much Momma needs to say these next few days...letters will be much more frequent than in recent weeks.  This 500 day milestone with Pickle has unearthed a lot of emotions, questions, guilt and pain.  But also a new reconnection with you, my Peanut.

Tonight I share a photo from January  20, 2011...just days before you died.  For me, it brings home the unreality of your death.  But also the vibrance of your spirit and smile.

Intense grief has given Momma a true appreciation for happiness and love.  And it strikes me, without experiencing both, you might not ever have a true sense of the depth of these emotions.  I am thankful to know how deep these rivers run....just not thankful for the reason I am part of that club.

Peanut, your giant laugh and silly spirit are forever a part of my DNA.  I long for you to grab my eyelashes or gnaw on my hair.  But, I know you are still here.  The Seeds of Happiness are just one example.

Sending you my love and tears - I know you see and feel them.  Peanut, I love the moon - and back!

- Momma

Monday, May 20, 2013

Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick.

Peanut -

We are marching towards a milestone Momma never thought would arrive.  One she is dreading but also welcoming for the sheer relief and sense of accomplishment.  500 Days of Pickle.  And almost 2.5 years without my Peanut.


Recently, every day with Pickle is a happy/harsh reminder of what was ripped away the day you died.  I now remember exactly what your laughter, smiles, hugs and kisses felt like and I am angry all over again.  But, also thankful.


Because these last few weeks have allowed me to truly remember.  To remember what grief thankfully blocked when it was too painful to remember.  Now, I am ready and open to receiving those memories, those sensory pangs, senses, touches and smells.

For the first time I remember us holding hands on the couch, you threading your fingers through mine.  Then, pulling my arm close around you as you sat in my lap and whispered, "Momma" in my ear through my hair.

I now remember reading you your bedtime story of "Guess How Much I Love You" and getting to the end to be greeted by your outstretched face, just waiting for a good-night kiss.  Just like your brother does when I read him "The Runaway Bunny."

Peanut, I am so afraid to say "hello" to day 501 with Pickle.  The guilt and relief.  The disbelief that you aren't here.  The fear that it could happen all over again.

Tonight we are surrounded by storms in St. Louis.  Once again, the weather seems to match Momma's mood.  Add to the storms the turbulence in her days with Dadda recently and it all seems too familiar.  Haven't we learned our lessons?  <sigh>  Did we lose so much only to return to the way things were?

Momma has no answers, just reflection tonight.  And, a bit of melancholy.

Peanut, I wish I could hold your little hand and hear you breathe into my ear, once again.  I miss you.  I love you.  To the moon - and back!

- Momma

Peanut, surrounded by his - and now his brother's - favorite toys just 2 weeks before he passed away.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Two Years Ago

Peanut -

Two years ago Momma was steeling herself for her first Mother's Day without you on earth.  It's hard to remember and describe how empty my arms felt that first year...arms that longed to hug, hold and carry her little boy.  A little boy who will forever be frozen in time at 16.5 months old.  A little boy who will always be my first son, the child who taught me to be a Momma.

It is because of you and the love you opened in our hearts that Momma and Dadda were trying desperately to conceive a child through every trick of science, every miracle of love, faith and hope.  Two years ago we feared that even if we were fortunate enough to successfully conceive, was Momma's body - a body so immersed in sorrow and grief that it permeated every fiber, every molecule of my heart and soul - strong enough to develop and grow a baby?

Two years ago Momma also discovered an interesting side effect of her personal grief process: intense, situational claustrophobia.  It reared its ugly head as we attempted to board a flight to Florida to escape St. Louis for the Mother's Day holiday.  To take the trip to Sanibel Island that we never got to take with you.  As Momma stepped onto the plane a panic attack set in and we immediately had to exit the flight. A second attempt, later in the day, was equally unsuccessful which Momma took as a signal - we need to be home, surrounded by reminders of you, for this holiday.

Two years ago, throughout Mother's Day weekend, I was visited by butterflies, tiny frogs, and a flutter in my tummy that eventually grew into The Pickle.  Your little brother, who is now almost 16 months old.  Peanut, he will reach 16.5 months at the end of this month...and he will be with us for 501 days on June 1.  Momma isn't sure how she feels about that - or how that first day of June is going to feel.  Will I be relieved?  Feel a sense of accomplishment?  Or, will it pass without notice or event?

As we prepare for Mother's Day, this Momma is celebrating her children on earth and in heaven.  We will look to the sky, maybe even release two balloons in remembrance of you, Peanut, and also the little sister who would have been Pickle's twin.  We will listen for your laughter on the wind, and will feel your warmth in the sunshine.  More than anything, we will embrace and cherish our family, our angels, and our love.

Peanut, thank you for the wisdom, joy and love you shared during your all-too-short time on earth with us.  Momma misses you every day, but my heart feels your presence in everything we experience.  And I know I will see you again.  Until then, I am sending you love, smiles, butterfly kisses, and Peanut hugs to the moon - and back!

- Momma

My favorite picture of me and Peanut, taken during his 1-year photos.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Hope. Smile. Laughter.

Peanut -

Today is Momma's birthday.  Oh, how I wish you were here.  As I drove home this afternoon the blue, sunny sky was filled with sunshine and white, cottony clouds.  I declared in my car, "Peanut, I wish you were here." and a direct ray of light hit me along with a sense of warmth...of you.  It helped me reflect on our journey these last few years...

Two years ago I was wading through deep grief but also feeling a sense of hope.  We had decided to try and have another baby.  Science and miracles were supporting us and, well, hope had sprouted in Momma's heart.  The hope of finding purpose.  A sense of something bigger and more important than just our time on this planet.  And, more than anything, I longed to hold a child who was my legacy.  You taught me that.

Last year I learned to smile again.  The Pickle was here and with him came sunshine, light, grins, happy moments.  But, also some guilt.  I mean, how could we possibly be happy again - ever?  Yet, we found ourselves laughing, playful and sometimes completely blissful.

And now, here we are...the Pickle will surpass your time on earth in just over 1 month.  Another Momma birthday has passed with a Pickle doing things you never learned to do - he can run, throw a ball, say "no, no, no, no" and give me a high-five without missing a beat.  More than anything, I have learned to laugh again.  Momma has one of those laughs no one can ignore, unfortunately.  Many of my birthday wishes today included references to my laugh, how it was good to hear to again, and to keep it up.  Statements that in years past would have embarrassed Momma.

So, now what?  I have no idea.  Into the great unknown we venture with you on my shoulder as a guardian angel.  Where will that take us?  I don't the moon - and back!

- Momma

Connor's last photos with Momma and Dadda two weeks before he passed away...