67 days....

....is too long to go without his (and ours) kisses, smiles, laughs, joy. Just missing him.....so much.


Traces of Joy....

I found this note when I woke up yesterday morning. It was waiting for me on the bar in our kitchen. Jeremy and I have been note-writers from the beginning. We met when we were in high school, and how do you communicate when you're "dating" at age 17? By writing notes of course. I have a box full of notes Jeremy wrote to me during our senior year. Honestly, I wish I didn't have them. We dealt with a lot of insecurities....the usual issues teenage couples deal with: jealously, self-worth issues, and just the pressures of life in general (because our lives were "so hard"....I'm glad we outgrew this phase). Jeremy has always been the sappy one. Really....I'm no romantic. I should come by it honestly because my dad is a complete sap, and I'm just like him, but I didn't get this trait. If there was ever a sappy card to buy or a completely cliche, lovey-dovey thing to say, Jeremy would say it. And my response was rolling my eyes. I know, I'm so nice.... I don't know how he deals with me sometimes. Over the years, though, I have come to appreciate his sappiness. It's one of the things I love most about him. While it is corny at times, it's genuine. I know that he sincerely loves me and treats me as if there is no other person in this world who matters more. In turn, I do the same for him. I am quick to tell him how proud I am of him and how much I respect him. I listen to him and support his every decision. I trust him to make the best decisions for us and our life together. I am the submissive wife the Bible calls wives to be, but he is also respectful towards me and considers me in everything, as the Bible calls husbands to do. We're a great match, and I knew it from the first time I met him. We would have never believed we would be leaning on each other through the loss of a child, but I couldn't imagine leaning on anyone else. He is my rock. Once we got married, the shift occured. I was no longer dependent on my parents. That transition was tough at first, but as it has matured over the years, I have seen us grow so much. We truly are one. I remember telling someone that Ayden was not half me or half Jeremy; he is 100% us....because we are one. When I was in labor with Ayden, I noticed the shift. I didn't want anyone else but Jeremy. My mom was there...and she was comforting, but I didn't need her support at that time. I needed Jeremy. And when I got "that" phone call.....I needed no-one else but Jeremy. I will always need my parents, but not the same way I used to need them. However, I will need Jeremy more. It's awesome to see the words of the Bible in action in our marriage. We're not perfect. We disagree (rarely argue...), share different points of view, have different ways of dealing with things, struggle with communication at times, but we always resolve them. I know without a doubt that Jeremy adores me....and that is worth more than anything this world could ever give me. Sappy enough? haha I've always heard that many women marry a man who is a lot like their dad. Oddly enough, it's somewhat true. But I always wanted to marry a man like my dad. I've always admired my dad and thought he was the ultimate type of guy to find in a husband, and if I could meet someone like him....I'd be so lucky. I succeeded, and I'm so blessed. Jeremy and I grew up around each other for our entire lives, but we didn't meet until we were 17. Destiny? Maybe.... God's will? Absolutely. I've enjoyed the journey so far. I look forward to forever with him.

Jeremy is such a great dad. I was so excited to tell him I was pregnant last year. It was something we had talked about and planned for...finanacially, spiritually, mentally, etc. We had prayed for God to bless us with a child in His time, and He did....quicker than we thought He would, but such a blessing! I can't say Jeremy is the most patient of people, but Ayden taught him patience. The connection between the two of them was undeniable. Ayden LOVES his daddy. You could see it in that big grin that would spread across his face when Jeremy walked into the room. He never smiled that way for me.....only Jeremy. Jeremy was the first person Ayden smiled at and the first one to get him to laugh. They shared so many wonderful moments. I would listen in on their "alone time" some mornings, and to hear a big, tough man talk baby talk with your child....it just melts your heart (and makes you giggle a little bit, too!). I pray every day for us to have those moments again.....to see Jeremy so happy again. When you look at the two of us, you can see the hole. It's so obvious that we are broken.....even when we're trying so hard to hold it together. It's bittersweet to pray for another child because we want it so badly, but more than anything we want Ayden. Another child will not be Ayden, and while we will love another child just as much, he/she will never fill that hole. Ayden's place can never be filled....those are big shoes (literally) to fill. Our children will know him, though....so well. I look forward to seeing Ayden in them...in little glances, a smile, a laugh....he'll be there.

Before I leave you....take a look at Miss Gracie in her gaudy new harness. Why the new harness? She chewed through her other one. We used to have such a pretty yard. Now we have lovely holes and sand. Her toys - aka: anything she gets her mouth on - are spread all over the yard. I finally went out and got a tether because she just can't be trusted to run free. Now I'm afraid she will somehow choke on it. If it's possible - she will do it. So, I make sure I keep an eye on her. This harness is the ugliest harness I have ever seen. (If you have one and love it, I apologize). However, it was the only one I thought she might not be able to chew through. Wrong. She's had it for two days now and she's almost chewed through this one. Are there such things as chain harnesses? Anyone know? If so, where can I get one? She is a sweet dog, and with training and patience, she is going to be a wonderful pet. We gave her life.....and she has given us grace. A pretty good trade-off, I believe.


Remembering Ayden....

I've been meaning to post some pictures, but I knew that looking at the pictures meant that I would look at pictures of Ayden. I look at his picture every day, but those are the pictures around the house that stay out. However, there are other pictures that take an effort to look at; I have to actually pull them up on the computer or my camera. That's not as easy....

I've wanted to share some pictures of Ayden, though....the last pictures I took of him. He had discovered his feet, and I was so proud of him! He thought it was pretty cool, too.

These are the only four pictures I haven't posted onto facebook....the only pictures Ayden's grandparents haven't seen yet....pictures I was keeping for myself because they held one of my last memories of Ayden.

None of it makes sense....at all. When I look at pictures, I'm drawn to videos of him. Of course watching videos brings enormous amounts of grief with it. Even though they're hard to watch, they bring me comfort because for that brief amount of time, I have him "with me". While watching our last video of him, taken two days before he went to Heaven, I couldn't stop saying, "Nothing was wrong....nothing....there's no reason". He was perfect; healthy; happy. It just doesn't make sense....

I would post that video, but I'm not ready to, yet. It's too precious. However, if you've seen the video from Ayden's Celebration service, you've seen it. We included it with that.

Instead, here are some other pictures I've meant to post. Let me premise them, though. My students wanted to do something for me after they heard what happened. I teach at a fairly small, rural school. We have about 650 students. I love everything about the school at which I teach, especially the students. You'll see why in the pictures. A group of girls got together and made blue ribbons - 800 of them - in honor of Ayden. They pulled the entire student body together and asked them to wear white polo shirts and the blue ribbons. I decided I wanted to go to the school and see this in person. So many people commented on how they couldn't believe I could go to school that day, the day after we held Ayden's Celebration Service. I decided that since my students were going to honor us and Ayden in this way, I owed it to them to be there in person. I wanted to speak to them and share our story with them. I wanted them to hear it from me. Here is the beautiful sight I saw that day:

If this doesn't speak volumes, I don't know what does.

Here are some more pictures of how Ayden has been honored:

The above pictures are from a school Jeremy taught and coached at last year. In honor of Ayden, they are painting his initials on the field each week. These pictures are from the first game they played featuring the initials. They also presented Jeremy with this portrait of Ayden. I was in awe and humbled by what they did....

My school's football team presented us with the game ball from the week we lost Ayden. Here is a picture of the ball:

When this was presented to me, the coach told me that they wanted us to have the game ball because they played with heavy hearts that week in honor of us and of Ayden.

Bracelets have been made in honor of Ayden and passed out amongst students and friends at our church. And two of my students organized the vigil in honor of Ayden and other babies who have been lost. You can see pictures from the vigil here, at Lauren's blog. Below is a picture of the bracelet as well as two newspaper articles that featured Ayden's story:

We have set up a scholarship fund at church in Ayden's name, and the church also allowed us to plant a garden in the playground in memory of Ayden. You can see the garden in the background of the the picture in the first newspaper article.

The outreach has been amazing. People contact me daily to tell me how Ayden has touched their lives and that they will never forget Ayden. Our story continues to be told; Ayden's name continues to be spoken. But none of it brings him back. And that's hard.

I can imagine that many parents who have lost their child don't receive the type of reception we have. We know how blessed we are to have had this type of reception and support. And while we are gracious for it all....just so thankful.....as his parents, none of it well ever be enough for us because to a grieving parent, until the entire world has heard the name of your child, you can not be satisfied. I realize that that isn't realistic - unless I got some sort of amazing book deal that ended up being translated into every language possible (I'm not discounting it at all!) - but as the grieving parent, I want to honor my child every, single day....speak his name....SEE the impact.

One day, Ayden will be able to tell me, and SHOW me, why he had to leave us so soon. I have a feeling he will introduce me to so many people who were changed by his story...people who otherwise would not have chosen to change. That is my hope.

Thank you for continuing to remember Ayden. Remembering Ayden means cherishing the sweet things in life while you have them because you never know how fleeting they may be.

I'd like to end this post by congratulating my Uncle Joseph and his wife, Lorna, on their newest addition - Matthew Joseph Tyson. He is absolutely beautiful with strawberry-blonde hair and his mother's beautiful face. My uncle is in the army, so they are in Korea at the moment, but they will be home next summer. Looking forward to reuniting with them and my two little cousins. We love you guys.


The Club

Disclaimer: After reading this post several times and pondering over whether to take it off or not, I've decided to leave it but with a disclaimer - This was not in any way meant to be accusatory of anyone! We have have been so blessed to have people surrounding us who have taken that step forward to come speak to us and share with us. So many have reached out and continue to reach out. I wrote this after relating to many of the words I read in a book I was reading.....they struck me, and I guess I wrote from the perspective I was in at that moment. So, please know these words are not meant to offend...just to portray an honest, real outlook.

So, over the last few days, I've had this really indifferent feeling. I don't know what it is. But I know what it isnt:

- Acceptance of the situation
- A sense of "moving forward" or "getting over it"
- Relief

None of those apply to me at the moment, nor will they apply to me anytime soon. I hope people understand that with grief, there is no timetable...there is no point that marks the day I will "get over this". So, when you see me, please don't look at me as if you're afraid of me....or as if I'm going to just break down in tears at any second....and please don't avoid me. I get that you don't know what to say, and I get that it might be hard for you deal with.

Ahem: I'm living it, people....

So many people tell me they just don't know what to say. Neither do I. What am I supposed to say, other than thank you, when you come to me and share your condolences? Thank you for having the courage to come to me and say anything. Saying something is better than saying nothing. Otherwise, I feel as if you are avoiding me.

I don't know why I felt the need to type all of the above. It wasn't what I intended to write about tonight, but it just came out. I guess it came from reading a book for most of the day - The SIDS and Infant Death Survival Guide. Many of the contributors mention being made to feel as if SIDS was contagious because people avoid them or give them "that look" (and yes, "that look" is real, and many people have given me "that look" since all of this happened).
SIDS survivors don't need pity; they don't need anyone to feel sorry for them. We just need people to check in on us, tell us you're praying for us, get us out of the house from time to time, send a card that says you're thinking of us today.

It's easy to feel as if I'm not a part of the loop anymore. At church, I'm no longer part of the "baby club". Do you know how hard that is for me? Walking into church each Sunday without Ayden just kills me. And as I walk through those doors, I'm reminded that no one looks for Ayden anymore, but people look for the other babies...the ones who are still here. I watch the other parents with their babies....reaching milestones, celebrating holidays, dressing babies up for Halloween (Ayden was going to be a sock monkey - we bought his costume last year. I was so looking forward to seeing him wear it), getting excited about Christmas.

I'm not excited about any holidays. Honestly, I wish we could just skip them. I don't want to celebrate. My child is no longer with me; how can I celebrate?

I'm part of the "Mommy Club", but I don't fit in there anymore. I'm still a mommy, but I don't have my baby to show for it. I don't have a baby to be a mommy to. Do you know how incredibly heart-wrenching that is to me? To feel as if I don't fit or belong anywhere....to want to mother my child as I so naturally feel lead to do, but I can't because he isn't here with me anymore!

And then there's Jeremy, who is in the "Daddy's Club" - a group of men at our church who are such wonderful Dads. He so looked forward to joining the Dad Club, and now, he's a member, but with no child to father. Do you know how painful that is for him?

We only fit into one club right now.....the club NO parent ever wants to be in. But, by reasons beyond our control, we are now in the Bereaved Parents club, and I hate it every day. I imagine Club sign-ups....all the lists of clubs and the lines waiting to be signed. All the sheets are filled up, except one - no one wants to be in that club. So, members are chosen at random, without being asked, and that's how we've ended up here, in this club. This is a club of brokenness, tears, suffering, pain, isolation, loneliness, anger, bitterness, and longing. When you're in this club, you have no choice. You've entered into a lifetime membership.....

I didn't mean for my post to be all about what we don't have. I didn't intend for it come off offensively. If you took it that way, I apologize. However, if you can try to imagine yourself in my position....I think you'd completely understand where I'm coming from. I do not in any way feel badly towards other parents. I'm glad they haven't had to suffer as we have, and I hope they never will.

This is just hard. I didn't ask to be here. I didn't ask to be a member of this club. But, I'm here...and I'm trying to do as well as I possibly can with it.


A blog worth reading....

I have aspirations for myself.......

- I want to be one of those ladies who can create something super-cute out of nothing....

- I want to be an awesome cook and be able to cook great meals with little expense...

- I want to use my artistic talents that have remained dormant for some time now (since I turned down Art Club in the 6th grade for Glee Club. I wish they had let me do both....)

- I want to be "that mom" - the one everyone looks at says, "Wow...how does she do it?"

- I want my blog to be read worldwide....although, it wouldn't matter to me if I had one reader a day or 100 a day.....I write for healing; it is my outlet.....it is for me. I'm humbled that anyone even reads it and continues to come back for more.

I want to reach this point:
Joy's Hope Blog

I will be reading up on this blog....taking it all in. I read one post today and was hooked. I like this lady and her approach to everything. I find it so interesting that EVERY mother I have come into contact with or have been referred to....EVERY single one is a woman of faith. It makes me wonder 1) Why do such bad things have to happen to people who are genuinely good people? 2) Perhaps God KNEW we would continue to serve Him despite such tragedy.

One thing these ladies have made clear....and myself as well....it's not easy. It's not easy to say, "God is good"..."God is faithful"... when you're hit by such tragedy. It was so easy for me to say before this....but not anymore. Even though I'm not able to say it now, I still believe it.

Check out her blog. I love what she has to say....


Milestones Missed....

6 months ago, the most beautiful baby boy, named Ayden Jones, came into this world. From the start he was so full of personality. Many people who met him noticed he was just not your typical newborn. So curious, inquisitive, alert, and happy from the moment he joined us.

Ayden would be sitting up now...and probably jabbering a lot more than he had been already. He would be enjoying peas, squash, carrots.....eating was not a problem with him....so I feel sure that he would be a good little eater.

I try not to dwell on the fact that we will miss so many milestones with Ayden. I can't wallow in the missed opportunities.. I feel certain that I will get those opportunities again, with Ayden. Instead of dwelling on what I'm missing out on, I try to remind myself of what I was given. God gave us what would have otherwise been missed opportunities with Ayden....he did a lot of things much earlier than he should have. I feel that God allowed Ayden to develop a little quicker so we could enjoy just a little more with him. I'm so thankful for that.

Today, Ayden and I were going to share a 1/2 birthday.....I was 26 1/2 yesterday, and he would have made it to the halfway mark today. He will forever be the best (almost)birthday gift I've ever received. Birthdays from now on will be a little less happy......I looked forward to us sharing our birthdays each year.

Strangley enough, I did not remember what Sunday was. It was the 25th - marking 2 months since Ayden went to Heaven. All week, I had been anticipating that day....it crossed my mind numerous times a day. However, when Sunday came, I didn't remember. I didn't think about it until the next day when I realized it hadn't crossed my mind once the day before. I know prayers were being lifted up that day for us; we were protected that day.

I could dwell on that day....I could wallow in the memories of that day....but I choose to remember a happier day. April 27th will forever mark one of the happiest moments in my entire life. I choose to celebrate life....Ayden's life. I hope you all will celebrate with me. I am thankful that, with the exception of one, all of our memories with Ayden are happy. They are memories we can go back to, laugh about, cherish, and hold on to forever.

Forever - Jeremy mentioned last night that "forever" is how long this will be with us. It's not like being sick and knowing....in two days, I'll feel better. There is no "better" with this. The aching will ease....the heartache will fade, but the loss is forever. We will move forward, have more children, watch them grow up, meet people who won't associate us with our first child, and we will live knowing that one of us is missing..... But we will not meet anyone who will not know about Ayden. We will introduce our next child as our second child, and we will open up the opportunity to introduce others to our first, our beautiful Ayden.

We love you, Ayden. We can't wait to see you again.....soon.


100 Posts

It's hard to believe I've posted 100 entries to my blog. It seems like yesterday that I started it. About a year ago, we got the happiest news we could have ever hoped for. We found out we were going to be parents. I started this blog to chronicle my pregnancy and this new little person who would be joining our little family. Once he was born, I used my blog to update family and friends on his achievements and all around cuteness and adorableness. And now, you're following us through our grief over the loss of that precious little one that started this whole thing.

I don't have a lot to write about. No bells and whistles for the 100th post. Today was just like any other day - a day without Ayden. I can't tell you how empty it feels. I sit around with nothing to do....and I hate it. I want to be holding him, changing his diaper, feeding him, watching him play, making him smile and laugh, putting cute clothes on him, listening to him talk.....I'd rather every minute of my day be consumed with him than ever have any of this free time I now have.

So, what did I do today? Went to church....and I was late. We missed most of the worship...not entirely on purpose but I can't say I was motivated to make it on time. However, I was able to sing a few of the songs today, but I still cried through others. After church, we enjoyed a wonderful conversation with our friends Jill and Cliff. I enjoy talking to Jill. Although neither one of us can relate situationally, we can relate emotionally. I'm so thankful for her and that she lets me be very open and honest with her - and vice versa. After that, we went out to Fall Fest. Our church holds a Fall Festival every year, so we went to have some food....cotton candy...ice cream...and play some cornhole. I don't think either Jeremy or myself felt much like being there...so we left early. I tried to push the memory from my mind that this time last year, Ayden was "with us" - I was about 10 week pregnant at the time, and were so excited. What a difference this year.....

Remember my little friend from church who gives me a hug every Sunday? She was back at church today! I had missed seeing her due to vacations of our own and then some of her own as well. But, she was there and I was so happy to see her! I didn't get my hug, though. :( I think they had to leave early. I did send a little smile her way....I think she saw me. When she's old enough to understand the therapy she has been to me....I will share with her how she helped me through the hardest experience of my life.

The rest of the afternoon was spent lounging around. I don't do naps well. I try....but rarely get results. I'll cat nap for about 10 minutes and then wake up and be wide awake. So, I just laid around and took advantage of our Netflix subscription by watching some movies online. Jeremy got a good nap in....with an elaborate dream that involved our pastor taking bets on baseball games (probably because he was going around Fall Fest trying to sell football tickets). Meanwhile....outside in the backyard, Miss Gracie had chewed through our water hose. Seriously, she must be monitored at all times or destruction will come.

I want to share part of a message I received today on facebook. Daily I receive messages from friends and strangers....just sharing their thoughts, prayers, condolences, and sometimes I will get stories about how their life has been changed through our situation. I take no credit in those situations; that's all God. I'm just the clay....

Anyway, I wanted to share a part of the message that isn't too personal to share, but it's the part that struck me most. Apparently, this person had read about me desiring another child (as many as I can get, really!), and she answered that with such a beautiful, touching picture. Here is what she wrote:

I understand you are praying for a new little baby. The baby will come. I assure you, Ayden is in heaven conducting little baby interviews behind a little baby desk, personally picking from a long line of babies applying to be with you guys. He has a little baby pen and is making notes during every interview. Ayden is sitting there making notes after the interviews-nope, that one doesn't have mommy's smile or her eyes. That one doesn't have the drive my Mom and Dad have. That one doesn't like ECU Pirates, so he's out. That one doesn't meet my expectation so he definitely isn't the one. When Ayden picks the perfect one for "the position" the baby will come. He/she will have Ayden's stamp of approval, sent directly from him. When the baby comes there will be a note somewhere saying-To Mommy and Daddy-I picked this one just for you. Love Ayden This is what I picture for you.

I love that picture. Ayden's brothers and sisters will know him. I don't know how all of that works, but I do like to think that our loved ones in Heaven may be able to go to God on our behalf. I've asked Ayden several times to please go to God for us....ask Him to give us peace and comfort....let Him allow us to "see" you in some way. I've in turn asked God to please tell Ayden how much we love him, to tell him that we are sad that we can't be with him but we are so very proud of him and pleased that he is with God. As a parent, you want the absolute best for your kids. Well, Ayden has it. (Not that I'm incredibly happy that he is not with us, but if we can't have him right now, I find comfort knowing he is in a perfect, indescribable place).

I want to leave you all with a poem. I'm sure you've read it. It is hanging up in my parents' house - a memory of my grandfather's passing 6 years ago. When I was cleaning the other day, amongst the other clutter that came out of my drawer was a post it note with this poem on it. I don't remember why I wrote it down, but I know I wanted to be able to have it.....just in case....as a reminder I guess. Amazingly, it fits our situation even better than the one it was first intended for:

The Broken Chain
We little knew that morning
that 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 peaceful memories
your love is still our guide.
And though 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.


A Better Day

Jeremy and I spent most of our day cleaning. I'd like to say that we covered the entire house and that everything is sparkly clean. Nope....I think we achieved getting half of the laundry done, straightening up in the kitchen, sweeping/swiffering, cleaning our bathroom, and de-cluttering (sorta) our bedroom. Our bedroom usually gets neglected most. That's where the piles and stacks can be found. If you ever visit us, you'll notice that our bedroom door stays shut....now you know why. We have a beautiful comforter set....but we rarely make the bed, so our pretty pillows don't get put on display like I would prefer. Ahhh....one day, we'll be those people who keep the house clean all the time.......maybe.

I did clean out the top drawer of my bedside table for the first time in almost 5 years......found some interesting stuff in there - one thing being the card Jeremy gave me on our first anniversary. I made sure I kept that. I also found tons of pens, and i'm always complaining that we have no pens around here. Not anymore!

Here's some more stuff I found:

- Old paycheck stubs
- Birthday cards from 3 years ago....or more
- Dr. appt. receipts - Stationary
- An eyeliner sharpener
- 4 old wallets/checkbook holders
- Medicine I was prescribed but hardly took....
- Pictures of my sister and other friends from high school
- A laminated picture of my cousin Jeannie - her bridal portrait (I used to keep it with me but switched wallets and couldn't find it - i was so happy to find it!)
- The adapter to Jeremy's massager I gave him for Christmas 3 years ago
- 2 old cell phones
- My favorite picture of myself and my freshman-year roommate, Amy

It's crazy the stuff you can find tucked away in small spaces. I threw a lot of the above stuff away, aside from pictures. I have felt the need to minimize a lot lately. I go with the idea of, "If I haven't used it/needed it for a year, it needs to go." I started this process during the few workdays I was at school this fall. Since everything has happened....I've continued to feel the need to minimize. I no longer see the need in having a lot of stuff. Because the more you have, the more you are likely to set aside and stuff into the small spaces....and then it all goes to waste. Since I want to be a stay-at-home mom, we know this will require a huge change in lifestyle for us. No more eating out, no more treats at Coldstone or Starbucks. No more just picking stuff up at Target whether we need it or not. No more elaborate gifts (on a teacher's salary, they don't get too elaborate to begin with). No more new/full-price clothes. No more letting left overs go to waste. A lot of sacrifices that are well worth letting go if it means I can stay home.

I wanted so badly to stay home with Ayden. I remember dropping him off on the first day of school and saying to him, "I wish I didn't have to leave you. I want to be with you all day." My heart was no longer with my job. My heart was with my little boy. I hate that that was my last day with him......but I'm so thankful that I got nearly four months with him....every single day....(with the exception of the four we were in CA and the week I went back to work for workdays). I wouldn't trade that time for anything...ever. Ayden showed me what I'm meant to be - a mom. I'm not saying anything against being a working mom. I remember thinking that I would be so glad once school started back because I'd miss adult interaction and conversation. Boy was I wrong. I'd take listening to Ayden "talk" to me all day over the latter. Being with him was so much more important to me. My priorities changed immediately, and nothing else mattered anymore. And when I saw that change occur in me, I knew a change in paths was going to be needed soon. I was going to work this year because i felt I had to help us make ends meet. But I'm not going to worry about that anymore. I'd rather stay at home, do without, and be happy than be at work, not putting my heart into it, wishing I was somewhere else. Hopefully, I'll have a reason for this "change of path" soon.......I pray for it every day.

For now, though, I will return to work in January and get back to my classroom. I couldn't miss out on the kids that I'll have in January. I hate that I'm missing out on the students in my class now, and I hope they understand why I can't come back just yet. However, I'm glad I'm giving myself the time to get my mindset back to where it needs to be in order to get back into that role. It hasn't been until recently that I've felt the "fog" lifting from my mind. I am able to actually set goals for myself during the day....things to accomplish....and I'm able to see them through. Up until now, I'd forget the littlest of things....putting something back into the refrigerator, feeding the dog, putting the toilet paper on the roll, even making myself a plate of food. I wouldn't think about it....I couldn't.....it was too much. I hadn't cooked a meal until last night. So, if the simple things were so difficult, imagine throwing myself back into the classroom. I would have been worthless.

I have a special group of kids waiting for me in January. They're all special, but I have a few in one of my classes who have really done all they could to help me through this. They've had me before, and Lord bless them - they love me. And I love them. And the fact that they may or may not be my last senior class makes it even more special. I wish I knew for sure where I will be in the near future. I'm playing it all by ear....taking it day by day. It's not up to me.....God is in control. He's made that apparent. So, I'll go wherever He leads me.....I've always followed His lead, why stop now? If I'm supposed to continue in my career....I will. If He agrees to give me my heart's desire and give us another child, I'll be overjoyed and follow the direction in which it leads. I just pray that He's leading me in the direction I so desire to go.....I just want to be a mom.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I struggle with the idea of another child. It's hard to put into words. I want Ayden back so badly...and sometimes I feel as if I wish and hope for it enough, another child will be like getting Ayden back. But realistically, I know that another child won't be Ayden.....but I guess I hope that he/she will look like him and act like him...enough so that it will be like having him back. And then, after thinking all of that, I feel selfish and unfair to my future child and feel as if God would never honor that..... Does any of that make sense? I told you, it's hard to explain. I don't feel as if God is going to be spiteful towards me. I know He hears me.....hears every plea I make....every ache that I feel - He feels....every tear that I cry - He sees it.....everytime I ask why - He probably wishes He could tell me....everytime I say - "I know you could bring him back....even now, you could....why won't you?" - He says to me, "Just believe in me, child....just believe that I'm in control." I'm so impatient, especially with Him. I'm glad He can tolerate me......

I'm thankful that today was a better day....a day that the fog was lifted just a little. Another rough day will come....many of them....and I will face those as well. The pain will stay with me forever. And I want it to. That may sound weird. I know I will miss Ayden for the rest of my life. I will never feel whole until I see him again. Joy will return. The pain will lessen with time. But he will never be far from me....because I carry him in my heart. The void will always be there, but it will be filled with our reunion with him.

If you made it this far...God bless you. Thanks for staying with me and reading my ramblings. Please continue to keep us your prayers....pray for us to find comfort in each other and the support of all of you and those around us. Pray that God's direction in our lives will be made abundantly clear. Pray for the blessing of another child - it's our deepest desire. We want to grow God's kingdom and nurture disciples for Him. Our first little disciple is already in His presence.....


Rare morning post....

Well, it's somewhat "morning". It's 12:40. I've been up since 10 but awake since 8ish. I always dream in the morning, so I'm usually awake around 7ish and in and out of dreams until 9. I guess it's an effect of the ambien...and coming out of the "ambien coma" as I like to call it. I have one refill left, but I don't think I'm going to use it. I hate taking medicine...but I knew I would need help sleeping. I'm finally not waking up at 5 like I always did....that was morning cuddle time with Ayden. For the first month afterwards, I woke up every morning at 5. You can imagine how that went.

Last night was a tough night. I won't say much about it except that last night was a first and definitely not a last. I was texting a friend of mine back and forth and let her in on some feelings I had been experiencing....feelings I haven't shared with many people. Just struggling with why God let this happen to us.....wondering if I am supposed to learn something from this because I certainly didn't need to learn a lesson this way.....struggling with wanting another baby so badly but feeling like I'm betraying Ayden by doing so.....and also struggling with the fact that it could possibly take a while. So, with all of that, on top of the obvious void that I'm faced with every day....I quickly became a wreck. I was alone. Jeremy was on his way home (he picks up on my moments...i don't know how he does because I try to sound "okay" over the phone, but he knows me much too well.....and I'm glad he does). So, I just let it out.....and it just came, and came, and came.....ceaseless sobbing. I hadn't experienced such a depth of vulnerability until then. Then, as usual, my body was just tired...and it ended.... In those moments, I have to look at Ayden and watch videos of him. I don't know why, because it just makes it worse, but ultimately it makes me feel closer to him. To see him laughing and smiling....I'm reminded that he's okay. It's hard to explain how I feel in those moments.....I'm sad because he isn't here, but when i see him I can't help but smile through the tears and be thankful for the fact that that little person....that happy, beautiful, innocent, precious little boy is mine. Although he isn't here to comfort me (and in those moments....I just need him.....), I can look at him and go back to our happy times together. We will have those happy times again.

By the time Jeremy got home, the moment had come and gone and I was watching a movie. I finally slept well....didn't wake up much throughout the night. And had a wonderful dream about my cousin, Jeannie. I don't remember much except her face....and we were at McDonalds. When I'm having a really bad day, I call her....and she can make it a little better. I'll have to post a picture of Jeannie and I sometime.....we are 2nd cousins but are mistaken for sisters all the time. Love her so much....

Okay, I've reached the point of rambling and writing about things you probably don't care to know. Hope you all enjoy your Saturday. We are cleaning and washing today.....fun, fun.


To my faithful readers...

I've been meaning to address those of you who visit me daily....

A simple "thank you" is not enough, but it's all I can give you via the Internet. I never realized how far our story would spread, and it has been so amazing to see just how far it has reached! Ayden's name is known all over this world, and that is truly awesome to me. I meet, or speak with people, frequently who say they read my blog daily. It's very humbling to know that people look to me for encouragement or hope.....especially when I have many days when I don't feel encouraged or hopeful...at all. It's the nature of the situation I guess. However, I am glad that I can be of some help to someone else. My hope is that my words will especially touch mothers who are going through the same thing we are.....to let them know that if they are looking for hope, they can find it in Christ. It may seem like He isn't being very helpful right now (believe me, I've accused Him just as much as you probably have!), but we have to trust Him and believe that He is in control of everything....even this.

So many of you leave comments. I wish I could comment back....like on facebook. Blogger really needs to work on that. I would comment back to all of you if I could. Please know that I read every single comment...sometimes repeatedly. You guys encourage me daily. Thank you so much....you have no idea how big of a help you are. Many of you have left email addresses too. I have been meaning to use those....I will....soon. I haven't looked you over!

Thank you most of all for your prayers. They are what have gotten us through each day. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by so many who share our same beliefs and rest on the same promises as us. On those down days, it's especially nice to know someone is praying. We tend to forget sometimes because the grief becomes consuming. Thank you for reminding us that we're not alone.....

So many people ask if they can do anything....they wish they could do something to help. Just pray. Nothing can make this better....nothing can take the pain away. However, your thoughts, kind words, prayers, cards....they all help ease the pain....even if it's just a little. It really helps.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers. Most importantly, please remember Ayden. Help us in making sure he is never forgotten...not just by us but by everyone who hears his story. He's too precious to ever forget.

Thank you again. Saying that just isn't enough....but please know you are so special to us.


Some Anger and Some Joy

Before I get to the deep stuff....

Gail Wheeless: See comment in comment section

I went to the State Fair today with my sister and my Dad. We spend a lot of time with our mom, so days just with Daddy have always been special to us. So, every now and then we have a "Daddy day" with Daddy and his girls. We always love Daddy days because the three of us really have a good time together and he is up for whatever we're up for. At the fair, we all like to look at the livestock, so most of our time was spent looking at all the animals. We saw a HUGE rabbit....HUGE, and goats...pigs...peacocks...sheep...very tall horses....prize winning pumpkins, watermelons, squash, potatoes, and dill pickles. We went to a pig race, which was really cute. Enjoyed that a lot. Sadly, I have yet to realize my dream of meeting WRAL weatherman, Mike Maze. Had we gone tomorrow....I could have met him. *sigh* One year....

We left the fair after, of course, sampling some food (hot dogs, chicken pita, pizza - no fried butter for us) and left with a funnel cake, cotton candy, and a candy apple. Oh, and sore legs and feet....I have the blisters to prove the amount of walking we did!

Then, we got home. I was alone in my house, which has not happened much since everything happened....people usually don't let me be alone for very long (at my request usually). I'm not afraid to be alone; it's just comforting when someone else is there. I can have moments when I'm alone that are okay...calm...easy to deal with. Tonight, though, was not one of those nights. After being at the fair and being overloaded with seeing so many babies and families.....I couldn't hold it in anymore. So, I entered into another argument session with God (oh, I'm so glad he can take my arguing). I saw these families....some with 4, 5 children....so happy...enjoying their time together....and here I am, my one and only child...gone. He'll never go to the fair with us; he'll never play on a sports team; he'll never have a birthday party; he'll never have any of what those other parents get to experience....and I will never have it with him. We hope to have many more kids, but that still won't change the fact that we will never experience all of those things with Ayden.

I was angry with God for allowing people who deny him to have happy, successfull lives....lives that never include a tragedy like this. And here we are fully believing in his Word and His love, and He allowed our little boy to be taken away. I don't wish bad things on anyone....it just seems kind of backwards. I told God that I knew I had every reason in the world to turn away from Him right now....and believe me, I've been mad enough to even contemplate it, but....I won't. I will continue to serve Him despite this. Ultimately, He knows better than I do....He knew this would happen to us.....He knew I would react this way and have these kinds of days.....and He also knows when joy will be restored to my life. I sure hope it's soon.....

So, after sitting on the couch for a little while...having my crying session....I decided to look at something in Randy Alcorn's book, Heaven. I wanted to see what he said about children in Heaven. What I read brought me right back into tears, but they were tears of relief and joy. Here is what he wrote:

Isaiah 11:6-9
"the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them....The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain."

The end of sin and the complete righteousness of all Earth's inhabitants won't come until the New Earth. But if Isaiah 11 is speaking of the New Earth, as does its parallel passage in Isaiah 65, who are the infants and young children playing with the animals? Is it possible that children, after they're ressurected on the New Earth, will be at the same level of development as when they died?

If so, these children would presumably be allowed to grow up on the New Earth - a childhood that would be enviable, to say the least! Believing parents, then, would presumably be able to see their children grow up - and likely have a major role in their lives as they do so. This would fit something I'll propose later, that on the New Earth many opportunities lost in this life will be wonderfully restored. Although it's not directly stated and I am therefore speculating, it's possible that parents whose hearts were broken through the death of their children will not only be reunited with them but will also experience the joy of seeing them grow up......in a perfect world.

Oh, I hope it's true. As he said, he's speculating, but if you go by scripture....who would those infants be? They would have to be the ones lost too soon. I wept at the thought of getting my second chance...being able to hold my baby again....to love him and nurture him in a perfect world. How wonderful will that be??? I so look forward to that day and live for that day.


Contact Me

I love to hear from those of you who read my blog. I read every single message, comment, and email, and I try to respond to your emails as soon as I can! Please feel free to email us and share your thoughts, prayers or story with us. We'd love to hear from you!

Email us at:

The Jones Family


Moments with Ayden

I'm not sure where I stand on dreams as far as them being used as a link between us and God at times. However, I do believe God can give us moments in our dreams straight from him to answer a prayer or fulfill a desire. He has done that for me twice since Ayden's passing. I dream of Ayden often....several times a week, but many of the dreams don't have a structure...they're just a montage of thoughts that went through my mind during the day. Of course he would be included in there. There have been two, though, that were vivid and real....the kind you don't forget too quickly. Those are the two you'll read about here.

For about a week, I argued with God because I was talking, pleading, asking, saying "Give me something!" and in response - nothing. He wasn't saying anything to me. He wasn't showing me anything. I had come to the point of saying, "Well, if you aren't going to speak to me, I'm going to stop listening." I was so frustrated. He is MY son....I'm in so much pain from this....this that you allowed to happen.....you have to show me something; let me see him!

That night, I went to bed and dreamed of Ayden. In my dream, I was holding Ayden. I was aware that in true life, it was impossible for me to be holding him, so in my mind I was confused because I kept saying, "I know you're not supposed to be here, but I'm going to keep you with me as long as I can!" So, we were out running errands, and I continued to hold him. People would come to me and ask if they could hold him, and I'd say, "No...nooo...he stays with me" So, we continue walking around and the whole time Ayden and I laughed and smiled together. Just as we always did - such a happy, bonding moment. As I started waking up, we both became extremely sad. We clung to each other and we were both just sobbing because we know it was our last moment together. Then...I woke up.

Last night, I believe God gave me another moment with Ayden. It was a quick dream. I don't remember much about settings, but I think we were in our church building. I was holding him and we went in the restroom and stood facing the mirror. I (I meaning me, the sleeping me)
knew what was coming, and I was excited. I held Ayden up to the mirror and said, "Where's the baby?" And he turned his face towards the mirror, saw himself and me, and just smiled and laughed. We did this over and over until I woke up. I woke up feeling so happy! That was one of our favorite games to play with Ayden, and to have that moment back was precious. So bittersweet. But I'm left thanking God for giving me a moment with my little boy.

I miss him so much. Words don't begin to do justice to how it feels. He's everywhere I turn. He's a memory of he and I rocking in the rocking chair at night.....turn the corner, and there he is on his changing table kicking and smiling away....go to the bathroom....there he is in his tub, smiling back up at me because he thought it was so much fun....look to the right of our bed...there he is sleeping so peacefully...smiling in his sleep.....there he is in the mornings in bed with us cooing, talking, and grinning up at the two of us....so happy to be alive, awake, and loved by Mommy and Daddy......there he is in his bouncy seat watching Baby Einstein with his elephant lovie...drool pouring out of his mouth....there he is in his high chair laughing away at nothing! just laughing and being adorable....and there he is on his first day with us, our miracle, the best birthday present I could have ever been given....there he is starting his life with us - trusting us and loving us. I love these memories....I hope I never, ever lose them. He is so precious, and he will always hold my heart. He took a piece with him, so I will never be whole again until I get there. It's so hard to realize that the one thing you need so badly to take away all of this pain is the one thing you can't have. I need him here with me....I need to touch him, hold him, kiss him.....but I CAN'T. I just want to be Ayden's Mommy...and actually get to do those motherly things for him.

Those four months were the happiest four months of my entire life. I felt so fulfilled. I had everything I needed. I had a loving husband who is a fantastic father. I had my precious, perfect little boy who lit up my day and showed me the meaning o f unconditional love. The bond he and I share is like nothing I've experience. Those four months were magical....so full of love and happiness and pure joy. All of that is gone now, and we're left feeling so helpless...and lost.

I'm thankful for the moments God has chosen to give me - to let me see Ayden again. But I'd give those moments up in a second if it meant I could have my little boy back. I have moments of acceptance with God...when I'm as okay as I possibly can be with the fact that my son is gone and nothing can bring him back. But I also have moments when I refuse to accept that he's gone. I refuse to accept that God would allow this to happen to my beautiful, healthy baby.

I received a card today (those are so nice to get these days!) and I loved the verse inside:

When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned,
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

Isaiah 43:2,3

I often speak of my grief hitting me in waves. This verse tells me that although those waves will come, they will not consume me or take me over. I can walk through this and not be burned as a result. I can go through the grief and the sorrow and the heartache, but I will come out of it, yes with a few scars, because God is walking with me and seeing me through.


Ayden's Name Gallery

From our friends in Alaska - The Cunninghams

Sarah - "Say it With Flowers"

October 2009

November 2009 - Brie - Pittsburgh, PA

November 2009 - "To Write Their Names In the Sand" - Carly

November 2009 - Holly Haas "Caring for Carleigh"

November 2009 - Lelan

November 2009 - Jill and Megan: Greenville, N C

November 2009 - Shana: Wisconsin

November 2009 - Davene: Life on Sylvan Drive