The Desires of my Heart

I was talking to my cousin earlier this evening. She was speaking to me about the desires of my heart and that God has told us he would give us the desires of our heart. A year ago, the desire of my heart was to be pregnant with a perfect, healthy baby. I got the desire of my heart in Ayden. I never desired anything more than our precious baby. He brought ultimate happiness and joy into our lives.

With everything that's happened, I'm left to assume that perhaps I don't even know the true desires of my heart. God must know what my true desires are because I never desired this....

Romans 8:28 has popped into my mind a lot...especially when I begin to question or hit the low points (which, by the way, are more often than the high points). Just now, as I typed the above paragraph, it popped into my mind - as if God was reminding me - I WORK TO THE GOOD, Lindsay....I work to the good of those who love me. I hear Him say that to me all day long.

Today was a very hard day for me. One week ago, today, was my last day and night with Ayden. A week ago tonight, I made him laugh so loudly! A week ago tonight, I gave him his last bath. A week ago tonight, I watched him sleep and prayed over him so intently. A week ago tonight, he slept with me for most of the night because he was restless...and because I'm a pushover when it comes to him.

Then, a week ago tomorrow, our little boy left us.

I know that as each week passes, the pain will ease. But taking it one day at a time is all I can think about. I know I don't have to feel guilty about finding, or attempting to find, some kind of normalcy again, but I don't want to right now. Little things like...watching my favorite TV shows....hanging out with friends...playing board games.....I don't want to "entertain" myself right now. The only things I can manage to watch on TV are Spongebob and iCarly (yes, I watch both shows because I'd rather watch those than the rest of the junk that's on TV. I don't have to worry about profanity or sex on these 2 shows). I'm also able to watch my I Love Lucy dvds...only because I know every episode my heart, so I don't really have to "watch" it. It's just on in the background. We've had movies on...but I barely watch them... I spend most of my time on my laptop...reading messages and comments....trying to find encouragement through them.

I was talking to my sister today about thoughts that frequently enter my mind and also frighten me. I've always been strong in my faith....I accepted Christ when I was 6, and yes I knew what I was doing. I was well aware of the commitment I was making. Over the past twenty years, my faith has changed in perspective...of course. Often, this question comes to my mind: "What if everything I believe....this God....the stories of the great prophets....the promise of Heaven....what if it isn't real?" I feel so guilty for even letting that question enter my mind. After it does, I usually am able to quickly refute it with proof of the existence of my beliefs. All scientific knowledge still can not explain the workings of a mother's womb and how perfectly a child is formed.....miracles still occur with no true explanation.....and babies are taken from this world with no medical explanation other than "it was sudden and without cause." The only explanation of such things is God.

I was speaking with a friend of mine yesterday and I shared something with her that has been disturbing me. I told her that several people have told me, "Death isn't designed by God." Whenever I hear that, my immediate thought is, "Then who took my child from me?" Don't tell me it was random....or that Satan did it.....I can't believe that. God has a perfect that is beyond our understanding.....HE numbers our days....HE sets the plan for our lives....HE knows how many breaths we will breathe.....God decided it was Ayden's time. She tried to explain to me what she thought they meant by that. There's so much I don't understand and won't ever understand....

I'm trying to find peace, but each day gets harder. I go to sleep at night feeling like it'll all be different in the morning....I'll wake up and he'll be here. Then, I wake up....and I'm reminded all over again of what happened. Flashes of Tuesday keep coming into my mind....holding my lifeless child....still gazing at him with wonder at his beauty and his pefect creation.....watching a team of medics do chest compressions and not wanting to stop.... I hate that I have these memories.

Please continue to pray for us. We feel lost and empty. We don't know what to do without Ayden here. We have family with us, and it's a nice distraction, but we are so afraid of the day we have to face this alone. Ayden is in Heaven, rejoicing with our Lord. I hope he is thinking of us and watching us. I want him here in my arms....I can't wait to hold him again.

This will be long...

Many have had questions about just what happened to Ayden.  We have been told by the medical examiner that the only thing she can rule it as is SIDS.  In a way, I'm comforted by this verdict.  He didn't choke.  He didn't suffocate.  He didn't struggle.  He wasn't in pain.  God just said, Ayden...I need you sweet boy...come see me.

Yesterday, Jeremy and I had to attend a funeral service for our son, Ayden.  As you can imagine, it was the hardest thing we ever had to and will have to do.  Amazingly, it was the easiest day of this week.  I woke up at 5, as I usually do, and just wept and sobbed.  Every morning at 5, I would move Ayden into bed with us for morning snuggles.  I hardly every went back to sleep; I just watched him sleep or watched him smile up at me.  Oh, I miss that....  Jeremy and I held each other and sobbed...something I believe we will do every morning for some time to come.  As we got ourselves ready for the day, we reflected on Ayden and the abundant life he led in such a short time.  We went to the funeral home to see do you prepare yourself for that?  I was numb...spending a lot of time just staring away....not able to focus on what was going on around me.  We got there and Jeremy and I went in first.  He looked so he always did.  He looked like he did when he slept.  Somehow, I couldn't cry.  I could never look at him and I looked at him and smiled as I stroked his beautiful hair and kissed those sweet cheeks.  I was waiting to see him open those eyes and smile up at me....knowing, though, that he wouldn't.  We placed his Curious George and blue elephant blanket/lovie with him.  We put his blanket in his hands - he loved holding it and feeling the different textures.  After we spent our time with him, we stepped out so the rest of the family could see him.  We didn't want to hear them, so we went outside and sat together on the lawn.  What a healing time that was.  I'm not able to find much strength, but when I am with Jeremy...I can.  He has always been a source of encouragement and support for me....but now, he will be so more than ever.  We sat and talked and cried together about the good that has to come of this.  We have to believe that good with come...otherwise we will become bitter and hardened.  

We sat together for some time but eventually went back in to see Ayden one more time.  We each had alone time with him so we could say what we wanted to say.  I told Ayden what I told him every day - just how much he means to me, how much he was wanted, and how blessed I am to have him in my life.  I told him how much I cherished every second of my pregnancy...never complaining or griping....and then we he was born...never, ever taking a second for granted.  I hurt every time to go somewhere without I never spent much time without him.  I'm so grateful for that now.  I couldn't even take him out of our room when I knew he could sleep in his crib....I just couldn't.  Again, I'm so grateful for that now.

We left the funeral home to go home and change.  I wore what I was wearing Tuesday when I held him for the last time.  You may wonder how I even look at that outfit or even managed to put it back on.  I told myself that morning when I got ready that if no one else thought I looked pretty today, Ayden would.  So, I wanted to feel that way again.

At this time, I do well with a routine...a plan for a day...because it allows me to go through the motions.  When Ayden was with us, I hated a routine or a plan....I just wanted to spend every second with him.  And for the most part, I did.  Anyway, we left for the church, again...with plans in our to go through the motions.  We received friends and family and requested that it be open-casket.  As long as I could see him, I was okay.  I know it was hard for some people to understand how/why we could do that, but it was comforting to us.  

SO MANY PEOPLE....over 550 people attending the visitation and service.  I was humbled and overwhelmed by the people that came...some from across the state.  So many of my co-workers came...I have such a wonderful group of co-workers. They are truly my family, and I love them all so much.  Our church family was amazing as well.  My parents now understand why we love our church family so much. So many many kind many speechless moments of mutual understanding.

Jeremy and I gave the Eulogy.  People commented on how strong we were and how they couldn't imagine being able to do that.  Honestly, I don't know how I did.  Maybe it's the teacher in me that was able to stand up in front of so many people.  Jeremy spoke first, reading from Tony Dungee's book, The Uncommon Man and also reading his own words.  I read from the journal I have kept for Ayden since the day we found out I was pregnant.  I read from my Monday entry of updating him on his accomplishments, gushing over him, and telling him how much we love him and then had to read from Tuesday's......  One day, I had a happy, full-of-life baby boy....the next, he was gone.  It still isn't real.  Our hope from our Euology to Ayden was that people would come to understand the hope we are able to find in the promise that we will see Ayden again.  So many parents don't know if they will see their children again once they leave this world.  We KNOW without a doubt that we will see Ayden again.  That's the only comfort I can find at this time.

We sang songs and listened to songs in tribute of Ayden and our Lord.  A video was put together of pictures and videos. I cried, smiled, and laughed.  I AM so incredibly proud of my little boy.  He IS the light of my life.  

The graveside was private...with a few friends and family.  Jeremy and I asked to see Ayden once more before we left.  I was apprehensive about this, but I'm so glad we did it.  It gave us comfort to see him one last time.  We know that it's just his body, but oh, what a beautiful body it is.  He truly IS a beautiful baby, and he's now even more gorgeous.  He is shining with the light of Heaven and the love of Jesus.  What I wouldn't give to see his smiling face.....

Afterwards, the family was fed at the church.  Again...going through the motions....dreading going home...knowing that from this point on....we have to move forward.  We have been given something to help us sleep, so Jeremy and I both took something and got ourselves ready for bed.  We prayed together and cried together and were able to get some rest.

This morning, I awoke crying once again....wondering how long I would hurt this way but thankful that Ayden NEVER had to feel this kind of pain...not once.  Today was not as structured and was therefore the hardest yet.  My students had put together something really special for today, so we planned to go and see them.  A few of my students orchestrated the wearing of white polo shirts and blue ribbons in honor of Ayden today.  I knew a lot would participate, but little did I know.....  We arrived at the school, and the students were called to the gym for an assembly.  Jeremy and I were waiting in the hallway after everyone got settled and I caught a  14, 15, 16, 17, and 18 year olds....all in beautiful.  As a teacher, I know that teenagers often have their own's natural...they're supposed to be all about themselves at this age.  So to see them all in white...wearing the ribbons...selflessly exhibiting their concern and care....I was so humbled.  I spoke with them about what happened to Ayden and the hope Jeremy and I hope to find out of this situation.  I shared very candidly about our we met in high school...dated through college....saved ourselves for marriage so that our children would know just how special and pure marriage was to us.  I also shared my faith and my hope for them to also find faith.  I probably stepped over some boundaries, but my son just died.......I'll say whatever I need/want to say so that his death is not in vain.  My students often wonder why I love Ayden-Grifton so much....I hope they know why now.  The staff and students showed me just how much they love us today....I'm so proud to know them.

After we left the school, Jeremy and I went to the cemetary to see Ayden's resting place.  The flowers smelled so wonderful....and looked so beautiful.  Jeremy and I spent time talking more about how we are gong to find hope in this.  Our conversations are, by the way, are not casual and simple.  They almost always include tears and questions and yearnings.  Today, I wanted to change Ayden's diaper so badly....I wanted to bathe him....clothe him....hug him...kiss him....hear him...smell him....but I couldn't, and it tore me up.  Whenever I would hold Ayden, my heart would just swell with love for him....I never knew I could love so completely and fully.  I still feel that love...and the hard part is that I know he is gone, but I still FEEL him...I feel his presence...his life....his exhuberance....everything.  In a way I'm thankful for that because I get to feel that swelling of my heart, but at the same time, it is so painful because he isn't here to receive it. 

The days to come are going to be painful.

I will cry every day...several times a day.

I don't know when I wlll go in his room again.

I don't know how to move forward.

I don't want to live my life without my son.  I don't like that I don't have a choice. 

I don't like that my four month old had to experience death nor do I like that I had to experience his death.

I don't want to pack away his things.

I don't know how to live life without him.....because he was every part of my life.

Today, a yellow butterfly landed on me.  My cousin told me butterflies landing on you symbolized babies.  I hope it was Ayden saying, Mommy...I'm here....I love you....   I also hope it is a sign of happiness to come.  Jeremy and I want to add to our family again very soon.  Please pray that God finds it in His will to allow this to happen.  We don't want to feel this emptiness for long...although we will ache and cry for Ayden for the rest of our lives....he will never be replaced....but comfort will come with the joy of our future children.  

We covet your prayers at this time and in the days, weeks months ahead.  Pray for us to find strength in one another and to lean on each other.  Pray for the pain to ease, but the memories to remain.  Pray that God will see fit to bless us very soon with another little life to care for, nurture, and love in His name.  Just pray....because it's all we can do.  

Firsts and Lasts

On Sunday, Ayden rolled over to his tummy for the first time! We were so proud of him. After he did it, he looked at me like, "Wow! I can't believe I just did that!" After that, he wanted to do it again and again. Such a smart boy.

Monday was a normal day. I dropped him off at day care, I went to work, I picked up, and the happy part of my day began. We talked and played and I made him laugh so loud that night. He slept, literally, right next to me most of the night. He gets restless while he is sleeping, and I wanted him close, I put him in the bed next to me, and as usual, he squirmed his way over right up against me. He never seemed to be able to get himself close enough. I just lay there and stroked his back, patted his butt, and gave him kisses. Sleep can wait.....I just wanted to cherish every I did with every, single day.

Tuesday, normal morning. Dropped him off at day care, gave him a kiss, and told him I'd see him later. I hadn't been able to spend much time with him that morning because I was rushing around trying to get ready for the first day of school. He was his usual happy self, though. At about 10:30, I got a call from day care and I heard the words I never ever wanted to hear: Ayden had rolled to his stomach while he was sleeping and when she went to check on him, he was unresponsive. We later found out that his heart had stopped before the paramedics ever got there. I was told to go to the emergency room. When I got there, I was told that he was in the trauma bay and they were still working on him and that that was good because they were still trying to help him. They took my sister and I to a family room, and my friend Candi got there soon after that. Jeremy was still on his way. A chaplan was sent in. At that moment, I knew. Soon after, the Dr. came in. As soon as he knelt in front of me, I knew he was gone. I just kept saying, "No, no no no..." The Dr. was so compassionate. He cried as he told me that Ayden's heart had stopped and they couldn't get it back. He asked if I wanted to be with him when they stopped the chest compressions. I said yes. Jeremy still wasn't there. Megan and I went back....the Dr. holding my hand. Before we turned the corner, Jeremy ran up. I had to tell him that his son wasn't going to make it. Words I never in my life thought I'd have to utter. They took us in, and there he was. My sweet baby boy.... Surprisingly, I was not jolted by the tubes and sticky things all over him. I just saw my sweet, precious, innocent son and I hurt for him so badly. They let me hold him for as long as I wanted. I told them that I knew they couldn't let me hold him "as long as I wanted" was subjective. If was as if he was every night when I rocked him to sleep. I held out hope even then...that once he was in my arms...maybe his heart would miraculously come back. But he was just still...and peaceful. I wanted to see him smile...hear him laugh...and realized that the ones I saw and heard last night were the last I'd ever have.

There have been many, many tears shed. I don't know how many times I've asked the question, "Why?" or said, "I just don't understand." This is beyond my understanding. Why God needed my four month old is beyond anything I could ever begin to comprehend. I feel helpless, hopeless, devastated, numb, and I don't know where to go next. I don't want to go back to work and face everyone, but I don't want to stay at home all day either. I just want my baby back. I want him in my arms, where he should be. I want him snuggled up to me, as he should be. I want him smiling and laughing and playing, "Where's the baby" with he should be. I shouldn't be planning a funeral for my child. The only solace I find in any of this is knowing that Ayden was spared all the ugly things of this world. He went ot Heaven knowing that his mommy and daddy loved him more than anything else in this world. He knew that he was safe, secure, sheltered, adored, and he loved us too. I'd give anything to see those big blue eyes hear him laugh, cry, coo, whine....anything.

I'm trying really hard not to be angry. I don't want to be angry. I don't want to blame anyone. I just want one more minute with my son. I know I'll see him again, but I don't want to have to wait that long. Why God needed Ayden, I'll never know. Why the happiest part of my whole life was torn away from me, I'll never understand. It's still not real...

I have to make arrangments today. How do I do that? How do I plan this? I can't even get out of the bed. I can't go 5 minutes without crying. I don't want to take his stuff out of the rooms, but I can't face it all. How do I pick up the pieces? How do I ever look at his clothes again. Everything reminds me of him.

He IS my sweet, sweet boy. He was learning to give us kisses...and what I wouldn't do for one of those kisses right now. I know he is playing with him kisses....laughing, smiling, taking it all in. I just wish I could be with him. I need him.... How do I live without him?

I know life will go forward and it'll take us with it. But right now, we are stuck and we are hurting beyond belief. I never thought I could hurt like this. I don't understand why God thought I could handle this, because I'm not doing well at all. Neither of us are. It was just too soon...

Please continue to keep us in your prayers. We need all the support and strength that we can get right now. We're running on empty and just trying to function.

A Work in Progress

Not many people read my blog, but for those who do check in....I'm working on updating in. Thus the mis-matched graphics. It'll get there....just have to find time.

Who can resist a giggling baby??

Not me! It's so hard to believe Ayden is 3 months old already. This summer has flown by! I have absolutely loved spending every day with Ayden and Jeremy. Why do we have to work? uugghh. Jeremy and I go back to work on the 17th, and I am so not looking forward to leaving Ayden while I'm at work. I know he'll be fine, though. Luckily, he isn't old enough to be clingy, so he won't really "miss" me when I leave him at daycare. He'll realize he's in a new place, but he'll quickly adapt. I hope Ms. Frances doesn't mind me dropping in to get my fix during my workdays. Ayden is doing so well! He's a happy, cuddly, sweet baby. He LOVES his mom and dad and saves his biggest smiles for us. :) He's developing as he should be, and he's even ahead in some of his development. His 4 month check-up is coming up soon. I'm really interested to see how much he's grown. I think he'll be out of his infant car seat in the next 2 months. He's already filling it up! I hope he learns to sit up early. Otherwise, taking him places (like inside restaurants) will get interesting without a car seat for him to sit in. We're so excited about Ayden having so many little friends his age at church as he gets older. Of course Joshua is going to be his best buddy ;)Along with their big buddy, Jake! And we'll have to let him and Josh fight over Savannah and Mia. We'll see who gets who. hehe We're so fortunate to be part of a growing church family. We can't wait until Ayden can get involved in the children's ministry! Looking forward to molding him into a young man of integrity. We have so many hopes for him, but we know he has to take his own path. We'll be proud of him no matter what, but of course we want him to follow a path that is righteous and pleasing to God. I have complete faith in him that he will. The plan for the week: enjoy and relish every single second spent with my little man and get all the kisses I want! Check out Ayden's first giggles: