George Charles Garman 09/09/09 to 01/29/10

January 29, 2010 our world was turned upside down when our 4 month old little boy earned his wings after a battle with Mitochondrial Disease and awoke in the Lords loving arms.

"Life can not be measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away."

George's Guardian's of Grace Projects

Stocking project is now in full force collecting donations. We have a list of the items we can use. You can also choose to sponsor a stocking in memory or honor of someone else. We will include a paragraph or two in the cards we place in the stockings to let the recipient know about the person that means so much to you. Our paypal account is posted on this page and ready to take donations. Email us for a list of items needed or with any questions or information you would like included on a sponsored stocking/donation.

Friday, April 30, 2010

3 Months/13 Weeks

Yesterday was 3 months to the day that our little boy earned his wings. Today it is 13 weeks exactly. Moments like these are the hard things. They make you think of what you lost and how much you miss it. I think about how my life was turned upside down and how it has very little reseblance of the life I once knew. This new life is a difficult one filled with many ups and downs and so many mixed up feelings. It doesn't mean it is bad, it is just different and I am fumbling my way through learning to walk all over again just like a baby learns.

I spent the day at the genetics office with Michael. There are a whole host of things that we will be looking at. She did validate all of my concerns and I didn't even have to bring them up. It was nice to have someone else go over my childrens records with a fine tooth comb like I do and not write off the small stuff. There are a host of labs that Michael will have to have done but he has not had labs done in quite sometime and this one is comprehensive and comlete, rather then piece mailed by several docs. She was sincerely sympathetic to our loss and my concern for the boys, possible future children, and the genetic implications that my children will have when they decide to have children some day. There are more details on the boys care page.

Hugh and I have been working hard on getting the garden complete. It is really starting to take shape and it is so exciting!!! Hopefully we can go and order the stones for the base of the plants. I did find a place that is going to donate the morning glories to us!!! I just about cried when the gentleman from CA emailed me telling me he was going to give them to us. He lost a child 15 years ago and knows the pain and what this meant to us. They will be shipped in the next few weeks and I can't wait. I also ordered a bench to put near his tree that says if love could save you, you would live forever. It is going to just be so beautiful when it is all done.

Yesterday I went to bible study at church, I really enjoy it. We are a very small group but it is more intimate and we get a lot accomplished on so many levels for all of us. I spoke alot about George yesterday. The topic was waiting for just the right moment and also how to deal with your enemys. Both subjects were very close to my heart. I have truly learned to listen to myself and God when I get those"gut feelings" They are not wrong because they are placed in our hearts.

We talked about dreams. It always amazes me when I got to bed at night after a rough day or after feeling overwhelmed about a decision I have to make and I wake up knowing exactly what to do. I also remembered the dream where I know George came to me to let me know that he was ok...I cannot ever explain the feeling in that dream but it just put a peace in my soul I cannot explain. So many times I have just had that guidance...although it took me a long time to figure out what that meant.

It was nice to have that time to talk and not feel funny about it because he died. Having people that listen rather then jump in the conversation with their own woes was also a much needed thing. There have been very few times where I have ever had that without someone else mentioning their sorrow or turning it into a this happened to so and so. Many times I just grit my teeth and bear these conversations while I am screaming inside saying "this is NOT the same!" This is my pain and it is very valid and having someone to share that with and not being interupted and just being allowed to not have to make it about someone else was just such a blessing for me.

I miss my little boy as much today as I did the day he left. The pain is the same and has not dulled any, I have just gotten better at keeping it together. Small things will forever remind me of him but they don't always make my eyes cry but make my heart cry. God is always with me and even if no one else understands, he does. He gives me the assurance that I am doing things the way they need to be done dispite outside criticism and lack of understanding of those who have never been through the loss of a child. Who else could understand that sort of thing better then God.

Below is a poem that my cousin Ashley sent to me and it really just says so much!

To My Dearest Family:

Some things I'd like to say
but first of all to let you know
that I arrived okay
I'm writing this from Heaven
where I dwell with God above
where there's no more tearsor sadness there
is just eternal love
Please do not be unhappy
just because I'm out of sight
remember that I'm with you
every morning, noon and night
That day I had to leave you
when my life on Earth was through
God picked me up and hugged me
and He said I welcome you
It's good to have you back again
you were missed while you were gone
as for your dearest family
they'll be here later on
I need you here so badly
as part of My big plan
there's so much that we have to do
to help our mortal man
Then God gave me a list of things
He wished for me to do
and foremost on that list of mine
is to watch and care for you
And I will be beside youe
very day and week and year
and when you're sad
I'm standing there
to wipe away the tear
And when you lie in bed at night
the days chores put to flight
God and I are closest to you
in the middle of the night
When you think of my life on Earth
and all those loving years
because you're only human
they are bound to bring you tears
But do not be afraid to cry
it does relieve the pain
remember there would be no flowers
unless there was some rain
I wish that I could tell you
of all that God has planned
but if I were to tell youyou wouldn't understand
But one thing is for certain
though my life on Earth is o're
I am closer to you now
than I ever was before
And to my very many friends
trust God knows what is best
I'm still not far away from you
I'm just beyond the crest
There are rocky roads ahead of you
and many hills to climb
but together we can do it
taking one day at a time
It was always my philosophy
and I'd like it for you too
that as you give unto the World
so the World will give to you
If you can help somebody
who is in sorrow or in pain
then you can say to God at night
my day was not in vain
And now I am contented
that my life it was worthwhile
knowing as I passed along the way
I made somebody smile
So if you meet somebody
who is down and feeling low
just lend a hand to pick him up
as on your way you go
When you are walking
down the street
and you've got me on your mind
I'm walking in your footsteps
only half a step behind
And when you feel the gentle breeze
or the wind upon your face
that's me giving you a great big hug
or just a soft embrace
And when it's time for you to go
from that body to be free
remember you're not going
you are coming here to me
And I will always love you
from that land way up above
Will be in touch again soon
P.S. God sends His Love

--Author Unknown

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Two Most Important Men in My Life

This is a poem that my dad forwarded to me. It meant the world to me and I wanted to share it. For those of you who don't know my dad personally, he is a quiet man with a wonderful soul that doesn't say very much. We don't have the "typical" father daughter relationship but what we have is so much more and is just special. Words don't have to be exchanged but we know that the other loves us just for who we are. The morning that George earned his wings, my dad came looking for me at my house. He hugged me in my room downstairs. It was just one of those moments and he hugged me as I cried in his arms like a little girl does. At that moment he was just my "daddy" and doing what he could to try and take my pain. It meant more then I can ever explain to anyone.

If I could catch a rainbow
I would do it just for you
And share with you its beauty
On the days you're feeling blue.

If I could build a mountain
You could call your very own;
A place to find serenity,
A place to be alone.

If I could take your troubles
I would toss them in the sea,
But all these things I'm finding
Are impossible for me.

I cannot build a mountain
Or catch a rainbow fair,
But let me be what I know best,
A friend who's always there..

This poem I found and thought of Hugh. It then later translated to my father also in so many ways. Men are always forgotten in situations like this and hurt in their own way. I found this poem today and thought of my husband who is also grieving the loss of our beautiful boy and holds it together all the time for the kids and I. Phone calls for him are slim to none. He is a great father and husband!
Untitled Poem
It must be very difficult
To be a man in grief,
Since "men don't cry" and "men are strong"
No tears can bring relief.
It must be very difficult
To stand up to the test
And field the calls and visitors
So she can get some rest.
They always ask if she's all right
And what she's going through.
But seldom take his hand and ask,
"My friend, but how are you?"
He hears her crying in the night
And thinks his heart will break.
He dries her tears and comforts her,
but "stays strong" for her sake.
It must be very difficult
To start each day anew
And try to be so very brave--
He lost his baby too.
Author Unknown

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Unexpected Moments

The last two days have just been a whirlwind of events and emotions. All of the events were totally unplanned our our part but I know that God had his hand in it all along with my little monkey up there. There has been a lot of unexpected moments both emotionally and on working through our grief as individuals and a family. Some moments brought more closure and finality and others were for ways to help us live this new normal.

Yesterday Iwas on Facebook and came across a link that another bereaved mother posted about a retreat place in Minnesota for families who have chronically ill children or those who have lost a child. They have different programs for families and also for couples. You need to get a referral from a medical professional or clergyman or some other sort of organization. After much thought and contemplation, Hugh and I have decided we really want to go there and have asked our minister to refer us for this faith based program. We are still waiting on an answer but if they won't, I will talk to George's pediatrician and have him sing the paperwork. We will have to foot the cost for the flight and there is a donation request of $25 a night but it is so worth it for the two of us to get away and also to be with other parents going through the same thing.

That being said, it sent me on a quest to look for something similar just for Richard. I found a wonderful organization that has a camp for kids who have lost someone close to them. They have several around the US and one is here in NJ. I couldn't think of a better place for Richard to be and a way to help him work through his grief. We have been seeing a lot of emotional and behaviour outbursts with him and I want to help him when possible. But I also realize he is much like me and won't go to those he is closest with since you know they are hurting too. This is a way for him to find a third party place and be able to work through his grief.

It is a non profit organization and it doesn't cost anything for him to go. He will go for 3 days starting May 14-16th. I spoke with a woman from there today and I am so excited for him to go. Hugh and I are going to take him(it is about a 2 hour drive but I would go further then that if needed to get him what he needs) We get there around 4:30-5:30pm and the two of us will stay for dinner with them and meet the staff there. He will stay and we will come back to pick him up on Sunday. On Sunday we will bring the boys and they have a memorial service and a balloon release for everyone. I am so glad he will have a place to be comfortable and also for him ot know he is not alone and can go to others. Traditional conseling is not his thing nor is it anyone else in our families. That is ok and I am so greatful to have come across this place and i look so forward to him going!!!

Today Hugh and I were out and about doing some shopping. We have plans to get this house as free of toxins as possible for so many reasons. I'm not what people call a "tree hugger" but I am a "child hugger" and after losing one child I refuse to lose any due to toxin issues. It isn't harmful to do this but it surely is a huge risk to not do it. I wish I had known this before but I cna't change that I can only move forward and that we plan on doing.

While we were out and about, we got a call from the prosocutors office. I had totally forgotten that I had called them this past Friday. "Bob" told me he got the release form and that we could come up anytime to get George's things. He told us he would be there until 4 today and then there tomorrow. Knowing myself, there was no way I could wait a whole day. We cut our shopping short and dropped Michael at my mom's and made our way to their office. I dreaded the entire thing but am so glad to have his things back. They didn't belong in paper bags in boxes sitting in their closet.

Hugh and I came home and went through his things. They tookt hings he had never even used and other things that just made no sense to us. Some of the items we threw out, including his soiled diaper...still can't believe they kept that! My God it was so hard to go through those things. The blanket the hospital gave us in our "Angel kit" was there and that was what we held him in at the hospital. There was a pair of pajamas and I think they are the ones he was sent to the medical examiners place with...but still have figured out how they got on him or even where they came from. He was naked all but his diaper and the blanket when we held him in the hospital...none of his clothes were there that I can remember. I think my sister may have brought the outfit but I know none of us placed him in them. It just meant so much to know that someone else thought enough of my little boy to put him in his clothing. I know it sounds stupid but for whatever reason it just gives me peace knowing this because I had no say in his death and what happened to him after he died...only a bunch of strangers did.

Hugh and I both looked through his things and cried. What do we do with them? Why do these few things have so much meaning to us? We would give anything to have him back. Our hearts just hurt so much knowing that he will never be here again...he will always be the missing piece to our puzzle here on Earth. It still amazes me at times that he is really gone and then it feels like it was all a dream and he was never here. So many mixed emotions come and go in a matter of seconds.

The were really good to us at the prosecutors office. I was greatful for that. They truly didn't want to do this to us or our family but because there is evil in the world, this sort of stuff has to be done. It makes me so sad to think that athis is how it has to be especially during such a difficult time for people. Two of the guys even carried his things in their boxes to our van for us. "Bob" said..."I''m sorry, and held my hands" I just looked at him and said thank you. He could tell in my eyes how hard it was and how badly I hurt and yearn for my little boy who I loved with all my being. We did not have him go through the things with us there and he was greatful that we opted for that too, I am sure. He didn't want some mom and dad there crying over their dead son's things. The very few reminents to them that proved to them this little boy was in our lives.

I did go out to finish the rest of our shopping. Hugh stayed home with the boys and I was kind of greatful to just have that time to myself. So many things went through my head. I had gone to Target since they carry most of the non toxic cleaning supplies out there. We got quite a few to start with and I am curious to see how well they work. While I was there I had planned to look for a book "the Very Hungry Catipillar" for Josh and Michael since they are reading it in school and in love with it all. While I was there I came across this children's book called My Little Monkey. I just started crying in the isle and had to buy the book. It had a small little monkey with a blanket attached to it. I also purchased a plate for each of the boys to eat on that had a monkey printed on it since dinner time was always family time and that is just not ever going to be the same again. It ws a way to give the boys a symbolic way of having their brother there with them.

After Target I went to Joann Fabric to look for the small garden flag post I was looking for. I finally found one but no flag yet...I think I am going to have to start ordering a few online. They also had a lot of their garden stuff on sale. I got a bunch of cute little stakes for his garden... They are going to be beautiful and make it perfect. There were pinwheels in a heavy duty plastic and I figured a child's garden couldn't be without pinwheels blowing in the wind. The lady at the check out counter looked at me strangely but I didn't say much and got my things and took them home. There were some monkey ones I picked up that I am going to have to paint but I got 4, one for each of the boys. I am going to keep my eyes out for more of these sorts of things, they aren't expensive but just add a childlike feel to a garden and since that is hwo it is for, I just know I want them added. My sweet boy is missed so much and we just need that perfect place to go when we miss him the most. I love the fact that I can change things out for holidays and still celebrate with him.

WHenever I would come across things of his randomly, I would always hate it because it made my heart ache. Well,I began to relaize these moments come from him and God, letting me know he is ok. I came across his hospital bed card and just cried one day, then there were his hospital bracelets, and I cried, and then there was a binky wrapped in a blankie today that was not listed on the papers. It was his way of letting us know he is with us, because of my grief and aching heart, I was overlooking these things and thought of them as just pure torture when in fact they are small momentos meant to remind me of how much he meant to me and no time that he was with me was ever sad. All of the moments i had with him were joyous and that is what I have to remember and look for in our new normal, was to make those unexpected moments, moments of joy rather then sorrow. My heart will forever be sad but that doesn't mean there is not room for more joy then sadness.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Forever Sad

I think the sad reality of it all is that my heart is going to be forever sad. The past few days I have talked to several mom's who all recently lost their children to SIDS. Many of us have the same feelings and some people are a year of more out from the loss of their child and others are only a few weeks. For me the fog has lifted and I am left in the sad reality I now call my life.
My arms are empty, my heart is broken, and I now live with a heart that will forever be sad. I miss my sweet boy more then words can even express. So many times in the past few days I have just broken down in tears because the reality has just hit so hard. Never again will I see his smile or hold him the way I use to. I won't see him jumping up and down in his bouncer with a huge smile across his face the minute he met my gaze. God I miss those moments so much! My heart aches for those moments that I will never have again and is yet still pained at the thought of the joy that it once brought me, knowing I will never have that again.

I watch other parents with their kids and wonder why my little boy? There are so many people who don't love their children and throw them away like trash and yet mine was chosen. Why? No sort of fairness is there in this thing we call life and I don't think I will ever truly understand it all. Why is my faith tested over and over again...I have been through so much and could truly need a break from the insanity. Now I will never have that ever in my life.

I've contemplated returning to work but still cannot find it in myself to do such. Many people just think that it is easy since I work from home but that is why it is so difficult. It wouldn't be like going back to a job where you don't see your child. I saw my sweet monkey every single day of his life all day long. Every time I would take a break I would come up and there he would be in his jumper and as soon as he saw me he lit up. My God I miss those moments. Thinking of not doing that again is so hard. Working is what I was doing when I heard Hugh's panicked voice when he found him. I still wish I had gone in their rather then trying to finish my hours that day so I could spend time with him that night because maybe I would have been able to do that but rather I was planning his funeral and never did complete those hours. The very thought of work right now is just overwhelming.

Losing a child in this manner has got to be one of the worst ever. You don't get to say good bye. You feel as if you should have saved them or done something different. The tramatic immages never leave your mind. There is just so much left undone and with no answers. I think it just makes you feel so helpless and lost. Realistically you know you can't change anything and somehow you have to move forward but in your heart and every fiber of your being, you can just barely find the strength to breath. You watch others going about their lives and yearn for that innocence that they all have and that you have been robbed of.

I have decided that I hate the phrase "I'm sorry" It has got to be the worst saying that people can say when someone dies. Prior to our angel earning his wings, I myself used that way to cavalier without truly thinking about how it sounds or what to say in place. I know I will never say that again to someone. Saying "My heart goes out to you" or "I'm here for you" is a million times better. I'm sorry is just such a rediculous saying because the individual did not do anything to caue the person pain. It is kind of if you appologize for everything, then the meaning kind of loses something. You know that when people say it, it is mainly because they don't know what else to say and that is what society teaches us to say.

As a society we are so unequipt to handle death, especially that of a child. When it does happen, everyone is so lost because the reality of it all is just so overwhelming. I'm greatful that I can help my chidren to handle death in a much different manner. No matter how good or bad you are at handling death, nothing can preare you for the loss of your own child. The pain is so great and goes against the very nature of life. Here are two sayings I have come across the past few days that have such meaning to me.

When a parent dies, you lose your past; when a child dies, you lose your future Anonymous

A wife who loses a husband is called a widow. A husband who loses a wife is called a widower. A child who loses his parents is called an orphan. But...there is no word for a parent who loses a child, that's how awful the loss is! Neugeboren 1976

We have gotten most of the flowers we are looking for to create his memorial garden. It is our way of finding a place to find peace when we need it and miss him where there are signs of life. I've been looking online for those little garden flags so that I can change them out with holidays and seasons. Since we did not have a headstone or anything and still have majority of his ashes here, it is kind of like having a cemetery in our own back yard. There are only a few more flowers I am hunting forget me nots...white calla lilies...and blue morning glories. Forget me nots are just very symbolic my name and nature. I love calla lilies(really hate the traditional ones) they just remind me of a uniqueness unlike any other flower. Morning glories are for our trellis to the entrance to his garden because he was born and also died in the morning so they open and close with the morning sun and I can't think of anything more fitting. The stores have not had these three particular ones so I am gonna have to do some hunting and maybe even order online if I can find them. It is coming along but on hold right now because of the rain. It is going to be beautiful and I cannot wait to have it done.

Please keep us in your prayers. We still have a lot of grief work to do but we will make it through even if our hearts are forever sad. We know that one day we will be with our little monkey again when our souls are eternally happy and look forward to that day although we hope it is a long time away. Kind of one of those bitter sweet kind of things.

Video Tributes/Celebration of Life Footage

Here is a link to a video tribute that was made by Richard's dad in memory of George. Get out your tissues!!/video/video.php?v=1360981185308&ref=mf

We Finally have footage from the service up and running:!/video/video.php?v=1368692138077&ref=mf!/video/video.php?v=1368733099101!/video/video.php?v=1368770540037

It is in 4 sections running about 17 mins each. If you were unable to attend, you can now see what you missed. We were so blessed to have everyone there with us in person and in spirit!

Me With My Prince Charming In Front of the Castle

Me With My Prince Charming In Front of the Castle