Mad


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A few months ago, I was visiting with Cliff and Jill and I was telling them about something that had been running through my mind. At that point in my grief, I was very angry.....but I didn't know how to handle the anger. I was angry at God, angry at myself, angry at the circumstances, just angry. A scene from a movie kept popping into my mind - the scene from Steel Magnolias where M'Lynn keeps saying, "I'm so mad I don't know what to do! ; I want to know WHY!!! ; I'm so mad! I want to hit something...I want to hit it hard!" I could feel the rage from that moment, and I was living those words. I realize it's just a movie, but that movie is such an honest portrayal of reality. As I shared all of this with Cliff and Jill, Cliff suggested that I share it on my blog....as a way of recording that stage of my grief. I wasn't sure I was ready to get that personal, yet.

For the longest time, I wanted to watch Steel Magnolias, but I knew I wouldn't be able to get through it, and I didn't want it to push me into a self-inflicted meltdown. So, today I found the scene on You Tube. I watched it....and cried....and then laughed. Each time I imagined this scene, I felt her anger....but then I felt the laughter from the second half of the scene. It was uplifting to feel such grief and rage but then to know that laughter and hope still remain. As I watched the clip, I could so relate. As her friends walk up, they comment on how beautiful the service and the flowers were and how she should feel comforted that her daughter is now in Heaven. So many people told us the same things....the things you're supposed to say. My reaction was much like hers - I didn't want to hear those things. I couldn't find comfort in anything except my son....and I had just had to let him go. I had to watch him leave us. How do you find comfort out of that? In that moment - there is none. It only comes with time.

Anyway, I've pasted the clip below. Watch it, appreciate it, cry and laugh. It's real, and so many of us have been there....and continue to feel the blow of grief. And forgive the instance of cursing....if I could cut the clip, I would. Just know I don't condone the profanity....





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Quiet.


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We have a nightly routine.

1. Turn on the little fan.
2. Turn on the top fan.
3. Turn on the noise maker.
4. Set the sleep timer on the tv....leave an I Love Lucy dvd playing.....

That's how we fall asleep every night.

The other night, I commented to Jeremy, amidst all the noise in our room, "It feels like there is something missing. It's quieter than usual." In the back of my mind, I knew exactly what was missing, but at that moment, I couldn't come to grips with what my heart was saying.

Tonight, we had our same nightly routine. I had the same thought, "too quiet." I looked to my right, and I visualized what was missing. Ayden.

We started out with a co-sleeper and a humidifier. He was right next to me all night. He didn't make a lot of noise, but his presence sure did. As he got bigger, the co-sleeper was traded for the pack'n play, which was pushed against the bed...flush with the matress. He was always within arm's reach.

Our lives are too quiet. I don't rush home from work because I come home to a quiet house. A house I don't recognize anymore. A house with baby things still in their place. His swing is where we left it. The gate is still up in the hallway. His room is basically still untouched. We just recently rearranged the pictures on the coffee table....only so that when people come to view the house, they don't mess them up. I go through my "routines" feeling such a void. I hate having time on my hands.....absolutely hate it. And I hate, even more, having to find ways to occupy my time. I adored spending every minute I could being a mom....being a mom to Ayden. He fulfilled my life so much, and then that life was taken away. And we're left to endure the quiet.

Ayden would have been ten months old today. TEN MONTHS. Our house should be filled with laughter, jibber-jabber, and sweet baby squeals. He should be saying, "Da-da and ma-ma" and pointing at things. He should be all over the place....into everything. But it's just too quiet.

I know our lives won't be like this much longer. God-willing, this new child will be with us in 5 and a half short months. But even then I'll be thinking about how I should be mothering 2 of them. I should have both of them. I can't help but think of all of the parents who have lost children and how quiet their lives are as well. It is such a miserable feeling. It's isolating and depressing, and sometimes I don't know how we push through each day. I don't know how we manage to find hope. I think God purposely blocks my mind at times. I know He does. There are moments when I look back at certain occurences and think, "Why didn't I meltdown? Why didn't I just break down right there in that moment?" God is trying to show me how to move forward and how to continue to believe in His goodness and to cling to hope. And for the most part, I feel like I'm doing a pretty good job. No, I know I am. But I still have moments.....like these....when I can't sleep without having to write down everything in my head. Otherwise, I'd become consumed with it all....and I can tell you I wouldn't be in a good place.

I've mentioned before that work has caused me to push the meltdown moments aside. I have to compartmentalize everything. I have to keep this separate from work. I know I don't HAVE to, but I need to. I would be useless with my students if I didn't. I'm already doing as well as I can with them. Some days, I feel like I'm barely keeping them with me.....like I'm always missing some of the details leaving them a little lost. Thank goodness they're good kids and they pick up what I might have missed anyway. Everyone at work has been very gracious and encouraging...complimenting me on jumping back in and moving forward. Sometimes that leaves me wondering if I did this too soon....if I didn't allow myself enough time. But it feels right....for now. At least until June, I feel like it was good for me to get back into working. After June, I have so much more to look forward to. Namely - a more non-quiet life.

So many people yearn for quiet, silence, peace. I just want the sounds of my happy, healthy children surrounding me.....forever. It'll be sad to always look at them and see the one who is missing, but we have to change our perspective and realize that we're missing him, but he isn't missing us. We should be sad for ourselves because we're here waiting to be taken to be with our Father and our loved ones. He is waiting for us, anxiously, and when we see him again it'll be as if we had just seen each other the day before. And then we'll fully understand the "whys," and we will rejoice that he was in such a beautiful place all this time.....only knowing a perfect life.

Those thoughts help me get through the tough moments, and they're nice, but they don't always take away the pain. I want to learn to live with hope. I'm slowly getting there. This new child has already restored so much joy and hope that was lost when we lost Ayden. We'll never have what we want most - just to have him back with us - but God will continue to bless us in His way.

Please pray for those families who are living in the quiet. Consider your life and how it would be if all of the "noise" in your life was suddenly taken away, and you were left feeling like a stranger in your own home....amongst you own family. Pray for the restoration of hope, peace, and joy in the lives of those who are struggling just to see past the grief and get a brief glimpse of what once was.....in whatever form they can imagine. Because while all is as it should be in your home - they're going through each day feeling as if "something is missing"....knowing it'll never be the same again. I pray that we all find God's blessing in all aspects of our lives....even the not-so-good ones.

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Introducing....


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Ayden's little brother - or - sister....

Yes, God has blessed us with another miracle. We are in awe; we are excited; we are terrified; we continue to mourn....sometimes more heavily now that we are taking this step forward without Ayden here.
I am 13 weeks along - so I am entering my 2nd trimester. My due date is August 31. It was no secret that we wanted another baby as soon as God saw fit to bless us. Although it only took us 3 months, it seemed like forever, and we were quickly losing patience. Considering the circumstances, I think that's understandable. On December 21, I decided to take a test....fully anticipating another negative but hopeful that God would bless us with a Christmas miracle in light of our first Christmas without Ayden. To my surprise, I saw two little pink lines. I couldn't believe it. It is definitely a Christmas we will never forget....for several reasons. We decided to keep our news to ourselves (and a few select others) until we were sure that the pregnancy was viable and that all was okay. We had some concerns in the beginning, but we trudged through. At 9 weeks we heard the heart beat, and this past Monday we got the above picture of #2. He/she was jumping all over the place....barely staying still long enough for the ultrasound tech. to get a good read on things. (I did the Down's Syndrome screening....I knew it included another ultrasound, so why not?) Everything came back fine, and this little jumping bean continues to thrive.

I had been debating this post....wondering when/if I should make this announcement. However, I knew that eventually, I'd have to. So much of what we deal with day to day has to do with this little peanut who now resides in my belly. This little one is the reason I haven't been able to write much lately. First, because I knew that I would eventually slip up and give it away. Second, it's just hard. The second child is supposed to be such a happy anticipation....one of reminiscing about all the wonderful memories with your first. Well, our situation, obviously, is different. We have wonderful memories of Ayden. Memories we will treasure forever....probably memories that will outlast those of our future children. But we also have very sad memories; memories of pain, anger, brokenness, and fear.
After we lost Ayden, I began to wonder if we were just undeserving of such happiness. We had ultimate joy for 4 months (13 counting the pregnancy....and we certainly do count it!). Four months of absolute bliss.....and then it was gone. And I did secretly wonder if we just didn't deserve it. I know that isn't true, but when it's taken so abruptly, you can't help but wonder such things.
Now, with this one coming, new fears have emerged. It's clear to us that we aren't promised tomorrow. My prayer since finding out about this new little one has been, "Please, let us keep this one." I don't know how many times I've asked that over and over again. Getting to the four month mark will be the first step. The second step will be trust - having enough trust to let this one out of our sight even for a short length of time. I know I won't be able to leave this one for at least the first year. I just won't. And unless you've lost a child, you don't understand my NEED to be with this child 24/7.
It's definitely bittersweet. On one hand, we are thrilled to even have this opportunity to have another child. My heart just aches for couples I've met through blogging who don't have this opportunity. It's so unfair. We are also saddened because we know this child won't be Ayden. We know this child will bring new joy, a new personality, new quirks, and while fully look forward to finding out who this child is......it saddens us because no other child will ever be Ayden. I hope I'm wording that right. We don't resent this child at all.....not in any way are we disappointed. We just wish we could have this one and Ayden, too.
Please pray for us as this is a daily struggle. Our news went out today at church, and I was so nervous about the reactions we would get. We put off telling people for so long for that very reason. We were afraid of the reactions. We didn't want the excitement over this child to overshadow the excitement over Ayden - because for some reason - to us - if people seemed more excited about this one, it would seem as if they had forgotten Ayden. Again, if you've been there....you understand. We also didn't want to people to hear our news and automatically think that this makes everything okay - you know, "Oh, they're fine now - they have another one to look forward to." No.....this doesn't not make it easier. If anything, this makes it harder. We are moving forward without Ayden. From now on, he won't be the baby everyone associates us with. Sure, people who know us will associate him with us, but with time.....I realize that memories of him will fade and people will associate us with the children who will be here. That is a painful thought for us. We will never forget him, and his memory will never fade from our lives. He will always be our first and most precious child.
Please pray that this child continues to thrive and grow healthy. He/she has no idea how much of a blessing he/she is. The day this child is born, he/she will be clueless as to how much joy will be restored in our lives. We look forward to meeting this child and nurturing him/her just as we did his/her big brother. We look forward to showing this child pictures, telling stories, showing videos, and sharing Ayden in every way. Our children will all be little brothers/sisters to a precious big baby brother, and we hope they will grow to realize how special that is.

An Enchanting movie....


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Every girl loves a fairytale. I, myself, am a sucker for them. I grew up watching all of the Disney princess movies, and for some reason, when you're a child those movies seem so real. That's the one thing I don't like about being a grown-up. Movies aren't as magical as they once were. However, I've found one that brings me back to my childhood. If you've never seen Enchanted - you must! My students often ask me what my favorite movies are. Usually, I say Sense and Sensibility, but I think Enchanted might have beat that one out. The music is fun and so easy to sing along with - believe me.....you don't think you'll join in, but you will. The story is the typical fairytale story - but with a unique twist. I recently had a movie date with my friend, Jill, and she let me choose the movie. I chose this one because we had been discussing how much we like Amy Adams, and she said she had never said Enchanted. My response - "You've never seen Enchanted!?!?!" So, we settled in to watch, and Jill really liked it. :) It brings out the kid in you, and it will take you back to your childhood. When I was home with Ayden over the summer, I would have this movie playing in the background a lot. I would sing the songs to him all the time, and he just looked at me like I was so silly. I enjoyed sharing my favorite movie with him, though. I'm glad I got to do that.

So, there's my little schpiel (sp?) on Enchanted. It was on tv last night, and as usual, I got all giddy and did sing along with the songs. I don't "sing along" much anymore, but this movie brings it out of me. Such a cute movie. Again - if you haven't seen it - see it. You won't regret it. Jeremy watches it with me. I can't say he enjoys it as much as I do, but I think he enjoys seeing how happy it makes me.



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When God answers


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As Lindsay posts often about having dreams of Ayden, I must admit that I do not get those. I have struggled with the fact that I do not dream and see him. It would be so nice to at least see his face in a dream, even if it is not "reality". Just to feel the weight of him in my arms even if only in a dream would help so much. Last night I just prayed and asked God that he would show me something. Let me dream about him or let me have some sort of vision or moment that just shows me everything is ok. Just to remind me that where Ayden is is so much better than where I wish for him to be sometimes (back here with us).

Yesterday as I looked at all of the snow, I just kept thinking about Chris Tomlin's song "Indescribable" over and over again. There is a line in the song that says "Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go? Or seen heavenly storehouses laden with snow?" At the time I was thinking I wish Ayden could see the snow. As I thought that the part of that song kept coming to mind. I just imagined that being one of the many things Ayden has seen that is just unfathomable to us. Just about every kid loves the snow so of course I believe that is one of the first things God shows children in heaven. Just my thoughts.

As I said, I said that prayer last night asking for something. I kind of figured the song yesterday just randomly came to mind. So we go to church this morning...I'm feeling disappointed and a little down because last night I got nothing...no dream, no vision...nothing. We had placed our praise and worship at the end of the service this morning so we get to the last song that we are going to sing for that time in the service. Tim had preached on Being Rich...about changing our view of how blessed we are in Christ. Most of the songs focused on giving back to God and our response to his blessings. Then came the song...INDESCRIBABLE...so many songs, so many possibilities, and this one didn't really quite fit into the theme of the morning but there it was on the screen. It's not exactly a song that usually brings tears to your eyes, so I'm sure I looked a little strange standing there crying but it was like God had said, "I heard you. You can be sure he's ok." God answers.

Jeremy

The only valentines I need....


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Happy Valentine's Day to....
...the 2 loves of my life.
While I'm here, I'll go ahead and share a little bit, since I haven't been writing much lately. I've written frequently about my dreams of Ayden. I continue to dream of him often. I waver on whether I should post about them or not, but I know that if I don't, I won't have them in writing anywhere. I guess I could keep a journal, but I have several of those, and this blog is my "Ayden journal" so what better place than here?
About a week ago, I had one of the sweet dreams. Ayden was on his changing pad, and I remember he was only in his diaper. I was kissing him all over and he was just laughing and cooing at me. I remember how sweet he smelled, and I remember how soft his skin was. It was so precious, and we were so happy. At some point, I picked him up and held him and we were around a lot of people (this usually happens for some reason), and as usual....I would not let go of him. People asked to hold him, and I wouldn't let go. This happens in almost every dream I have of him. Then, I was awake......and had to face reality....again.
Last night was one of the devastating dreams. Today hasn't been a good day as a result of that dream. I can't go into detail because I can't even think about it without breaking down, but this is the other type of dream I have about him. If it isn't a sweet, precious, happy dream....it's this one. In this type of dream, I'm trying desperately to bring him back. He's alive, but barely....and I'm frantic throughout the entire dream.....pleading with anyone who is around to help me save him. It never works....I'm never able to help him, and I'm left devastated because in my dream, he's gone and when I wake up....he's gone.
I sleep with a small teddy bear that came with Ayden's memorial package. When Ayden was with us, every night I would move him from his co-sleeper onto my chest. He slept so soundly when I would hold him...especially like this. And I loved it. It was the absolute highlight of my day/night because it was mommy and Ayden time. I loved to feel him snuggled up to me....knowing that in that place he felt safe and secure and loved. Every night, that teddy bear ends up on my chest just as I held him. I can't sleep without feeling the weight of something in that spot....his spot.
I realized tonight just how much I had wanted to hear him call me Mommy. I just want to hear his little voice....know what it would have sounded like when he called my name. I'm realizing just how much we're going to miss, and that just hurts. We'll have those moments with our future children, yes, but when our next child calls me Mommy, I'm going to smile and ache at the same time because I'll realize I never heard it from him.
Just one of those days.....

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It must be fun....


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...to be a dog.





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A snowy day in Greenville town....


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Well, it has snowed again. What a winter this has been! I know people make a big deal about us southerners and our snow - we don't know how to drive in it....we get excited about an inch...everything closes down with just the mention of snow. Give us a break, people....we don't see this stuff very often! In my 26 years, I've probably seen 30 inches of snow - total. Some people get to see that in a year's time. Therefore - no, we don't know how to drive in it, yes - we get excited about an inch, and yes - everything closes down because we don't know what to do with ourselves!


I think our grand total from this system is 6 inches. 2 weeks ago we got about 4.5 inches of snow/ice/sleet. This snow is the pretty snow....fluffy, powdery, and beautiful.


Here are some pictures of what we woke up to:




Gracie had a ball in the snow - video to come soon....


Butterfly bush....looking sad




Cars covered....once again.



This little birdhouse is always so cute in the snow


The back yard


My first thought this morning, when I saw all of this, was "Ayden would have loved this." I was so looking forward to sharing snow days with him. Every time it snows, I think of him because I was pregnant with him when we got a rare snow last year in November. That day, I remember being so excited at the thought of sharing these kinds of days with him. He IS a child who is so inquisitive and explorative (is that a word?). He always seemed to want to see everything - never wanting to miss a thing. I imagine he would have taken all of this in and just gazed in awe at it - like we do. Jeremy and I both love the snow and are always so amazed at how beautiful it is, and Ayden has that same sense of wonder that we have. That's one of the things I love most about him - he loves(d) life....and always seemed to see the good in it all. I think he showed that by just how happy he always was....always smiling, laughing, and taking it all in. I feel certain he would have been the ultimate optimist, and I could say that he "would have" touched the lives of each person he came into contact with, but thankfully, I can say that HE DID touch every person who met him - and even people who never met him. He's a special little boy, and I hate that this world, (and us as well) has to move forward without such a precious person in it, but as I continue to say, he will only know a perfect world with perfect happiness and an eternity of glory. I couldn't ask for anything more for him....except to be there with him. I hope it snows in Heaven because I know he would love every second of it....

I'm still here...


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I haven't been writing much lately. Don't give up on me just yet, though. I've just been in a funk. Not much to write about....kind of hit a plateau of sorts. I go to work, come home, sleep.....start the process again. I think that's why I've hit a plateau. My time for "processing" everything has been crammed into a small frame of space. Going back to work has caused me to compartmentalize things. I go into protective mode while I'm with my students (although one class caught me off guard the other day and almost saw me lose it). However, once my planning period rolls around....I usually find that I have to take time to just release it all. It's not an everyday thing, but it's definitely good that I allow it to happen.

Jeremy was out of town this weekend, so my mom came and stayed with me. That was super nice. I didn't like the idea of being here alone, although, the time I did get to myself was well-needed. I needed the time to let a lot of the built up emotion out.

I miss Ayden every day, but lately, I've just missed him so much - so much that it just hurts. That "heart-swelling love" that I have for him - and will always have for him - became too much for me this weekend. I miss having him here for me to pour that love onto. I was thinking a lot about him, wondering if he knew me as his mother, if he knew how much I love him, and if he felt that same love for me. I think I can answer "yes" to all those questions...without a doubt. The connection he and I share(d) is undeniable. You could see the love in his eyes....and I ache to see that again.

So, that's where I am. Work keeps me busy, which is good, but I'm learning that I can't expect work to be a blanket over the emotions....to keep them at bay....because that isn't good. I have to let them come, deal with them, and then let them out. It's just something I like to do privately, and being a teacher doesn't come with a lot of privacy during the day.

In other news - our house is officially on the market. It has been on the market for a week. We'll see how it goes. We're not in any rush to sell it, but we won't be upset if the time comes sooner rather than later. Please pray that the timing of it all will work out well and allow us to end up in a house that will suit us for the changes that are to come.

Hope everyone has a good week.
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Forgotten God


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Jeremy and I doing a study on Francis Chan's book, Forgotten God, with a small group from church. Our first meeting was last night. Going into it, I wasn't sure if I was ready for an in-depth study at this time. My grief is still very raw. I put on a good front...especially at work...even at home sometimes. But the truth is, I'm not much further than I was 5 months ago. I've progressed, but it's a slow process. I'm dealing with new struggles as well, which I don't want to go into here, but they're struggles I anticipated.

Last night, we discussed the concept of looking "different" and how Christians should be distinguishable among non-believers. Someone should be able to look at me and KNOW that I'm different. My question to myself was, "Should I expect that of myself right now?" On some days, I'm sure I look like a cold, unapproachable, unhappy person because of what I'm dealing wtih. However, I believe that I'm still "me" behind the grief. I'm still the caring, compassionate, giving, kind, patient person I always have been. Recently, that part of me has begun to come back out. Thank God. I know that I am going to deal with grief for a long time, and some days, it's not going to be pretty, and I probably won't appear "different," but I hope that even in my grief, people can see that I'm different. I grieve with hope...if that even makes sense. I suffer and I hurt, but at the same time, I remain hopeful because I have to trust that God is in control. That's not always the easiest thing to say - to just say that God is in control - because at times, that statement actually stirs anger in me because if He is in control and He could have stopped this from happening, why didn't He? Why did He allow our son to be taken when there was nothing wrong....from our perspective it was without reason. But our perspective is not God's, and that's just something I've had to accept. I don't understand it, but I will submissively accept His will as greater than my own (which is pretty big when we're talking about a mother's will here....).

I'm interested to see how this study challenges me as I deal with my grief. It's a study on the Holy Spirit and the role He is meant to play in our lives. I grew up in church, but I can only say that I have a basic understanding of the Holy Spirit's role. I know what the Bible says is the purpose of the Holy Spirit, but I can't say I honestly know HOW He is at work in my life. I have felt the leading of the Holy Spirit in my life, but only on few occasions can I say I have acknowledged that that was what was happening. I want to walk closer with God and feel His spirit in me every day as I interact with people, study His word, and pray. It's awesome that God let's us walk around with His spirit inside us....but often we take it for granted.

So, the next 7 weeks should be very interesting.

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