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.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Strength of an Egg by Juliet Freitag

Parents of children with cancer, or really any serious condition, are often referred to or viewed as having strength "like a rock". Albeit flattering, it isn't quite true. It is more like the strength of an egg. An egg, you ask? Yes, an egg. If you think about an egg, you will see the point I make. An egg has a polished smooth outer appearance with no cracks or weak spots visible. It seems almost inconceivable that the inside might not be as smooth and solid as the outside. Most children, at some point in their lifetime, are shown the famous egg trick. An egg set at just the right angle can withstand enormous amounts of pressure and cannot be cracked or broken. Yet the same egg, tapped gently at an even slightly different angle will break . The contents, once so neatly concealed inside, will come spilling out, and the no longer perfect shell will be crushed. Then the shell looks so fragile that it seems inconceivable that it ever held any strength.

That is where parents of children with cancer (or other serious conditions) are more like eggs than rocks. A rock is solid all the way through. If you tried to break a rock, it would be almost impossible. If successful, one would find that there was nothing inside but more rock. It takes a lot more than pure hardness to hold the hand of hope. These parents are not solid all the way through. They hurt, they fear, they cry, they hope. It takes a very careful balancing act to keep the shell from being shattered.Balancing an egg while running a household, going for doctor visits and hospital stays, keeping the family together, and holding on to the constantly unraveling ties of your sanity can be very tricky indeed. Occasionally, the angle will be off and the shell will break, shattering hope and the neatly secured appearances of a truly fragile existence. Unlike Humpty Dumpty though, parents of kids with cancer (or other serious conditions) will pick themselves up and put themselves back together again.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Heavy Heart

I am just missing you right now. It is another Friday gone by. The house is quiet and all I can think about are the times we used to spend together. I miss your head on my chest as you sucked your thumb and the smell of lavender after your bath. My heart is just so heavy right now. Loving you and missing you more than words can say my sweet little boy.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Early Mornings

Yet again it is almost 5am and I have been awake for the past two hours. I've got a cold so of course sleep is just very difficult. Once I am awake, falling back to sleep is always a challenge. Since George died, it has become even worse for me. My mind goes a million miles a minute as I try to make sence of this life. I really don't understand it sometimes but then again, I guess I am just not meant to, or at least maybe not now.

Hugh went for a job interview yesterday for the first time in a long time. He has been putting applications in just about everywhere but there are very few jobs here in our area. I have even found that to be true for myself since I started to look for something part time to help offset income unti I can return to work full time. I happened to get a call the other day for a part time position for a chiropractic office but it is a 20min drive to Yardley, PA. The job really is ideal since it only starts around 1:30pm till they close and every other Sat. The woman was really nice and I hope to hear from her once she talks to the doctor at the office.

Hugh on the other hand got a call the same day that I did about working for a vending company. He would load those vending machines we all see everywhere we go. There are a lot of pros but definately a few cons. He would have to be up and moving by 2am...for him, he goes to bed at that time! That will be a huge adjustment for him. In the beginning he would be on the road 12-14 hrs until he becomes proficient in his route. He seemed very excited after the interview and I ask that you keep him in your prayers.

I've asked that of a lot of people the past few days. Hugh has had such a rough go with things, we all have, and I think it is always hard when you just don't understand it all. How is it that God could take our little boy yet give someone else a child that they beat or just don't care about? It really makes no sence. Why has he taken so many people from us in the past few years? Why the days they were and the circumstances? So many questions but no answers. For many people this can be completely frustrating and I have to admit at times I feel that way myself, otherwise I would not be human.

My sister emailed me telling me that she prayed for Hugh. I told her to keep praying and as I sat there writing that, I also wrote something else. I told her that I no longer pray for specifics. When I pray to God, I pray for his will. To be honest that is probably the hardest thing in the world to do. We have watched as our lives came crashing down around us and yet we stand there in the rubble praying for his will. It always facinated me when people would tell me they were able to do that, because I never could wrap my head around that. I think it is only when you are on your knees do you realize that it is all in his control.

When Hugh lost his job, we both were devistated and could not figure it all out. It seemed as if, whenever we finally get going in the right direction, something always seems to stand in the way and we are detoured in strange unfamiliar territory. It isn't like being detoured in your hometown, it is like being detoured in another country where you don't speak the language, have no GPS, or no map. I don't know about you but I know as soon as I see a sign saying detour in unfamilar territory, it makes my heart race. There is some sort of panic mixed with tons of other emotions as you follow the signs you hope will take you where you wnat to be. Will you miss a sign or know where you are when you are finshed the detour? Instead of following the signs, did you turn somewhere else and get to where you needed or did you faithfully follow the signs? If you didn't follow them did it did you find your way to where you were going? Did taking the detour take you to where you planned to go, just in a round about way?

Much of life is like that. God has a plan laid out for us all, and we will all get there eventually. Unfortunately, we only see what is directly in front of us. We don't know if there are detours along the way or if the path will take us in a direction we did not anticipate being. I can say that is true for the majority of my life. Many times I have second guessed or asked why to only be given the answers later on down the road. Somethings, I just will never understand and I am now ok with that.

I remember the devistation we have felt each time another obstacle was placed before us. Hugh's job loss was a huge one and so was George's death. The wierd part for me was that I always had a peace about me with both situations. That doesn't mean I didn't worry or was not devistated because I did and was. Deep in my soul there has always been a peace. I now thank God every single day for Hugh's lay off. Never in my life did I ever think I would be able to say that. He got to spend time with Goerge that he never would have taken for himself and would have regretted the day George passed had things been different. We struggled to pay bills and still do but every time I start to worry about those things, I think of my grandmom telling me "God will provide" and he does.

God provides in so many ways during our hours of dispare, it is just up to us to recognize it. I can honestly say that there are days that I would not breath if it was not for God's presence in my life. It is as if he is there with me walking me through every single breath just as a husband walks his wife through every single breath during child birth. The pain always seems so great and that it will never end but yet it does and we make it through no matter how many hours it takes to just hold that miracle in our arms. To me, that is what life is, a miracle. Every single moment is a miracle that we are given to do something with in order to make a difference in this world. Just like a mom having contractions, you have ones you make it through really well because you are focused, and others you wish the pain would end and that is all you can think about so it always seems horrible.

I remember so many times asking God for specific things because my grandmom would always say that you need to be specific when you pray. Well, I cannot say that I do that anymore. I've learned to leave it in God's hands and listen for his answers becase sometimes they don't come with great fanfair, they come as wispers in the wind. Now, I just pray for his will because dispite what I pray for, that will be what is done in the end anyway. He knows my heart and my desires but I know his plans are different then I could ever immagine. It was proven time and again in my life. I guess when it all comes down to it, that is really what is the difference and what true faith is all about. It doesn't mean it will be easy but no matter the circumstances, it will be His will not ours.

I miss my little boy more then words can even say. My heart breaks every single day from the pain his loss has left in my heart. Tears stream from my eyes daily as visual sings of th tears my heart sheds for him. Memories are full of mixed emotions. Among all of that, there is still a peace about me because I know it was God's will and that this is all part of his greater plan even though I don't know what that plan is. I also know that dispite how hard it is, God is there carrying me during the times I cannot walk myself..." was then that I carried you."


Carolyn Carty, 1963

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed He was walking along the beach with the LORD. Across the sky flashed scenes from His life. For each scene He noticed two sets of footprints in the sand. One belonging to Him and the other to the LORD.

When the last scene of His life flashed before Him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of His life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times of His life.

This really bothered Him and He questioned the LORD about it. LORD you said that once I decided to follow you, you'd walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life there is only one set of footprints. I don't understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.

The LORD replied, my precious, precious child, I Love you and I would never leave you! During your times of trial and suffering when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Life Without You

There have been so many days lately where we have realized that we will just be spending the rest of our lives without our monkey. Mentally we have known this since he left us but emotionally the sad reality has kept hitting home a lot lately. Hugh and I sat there the other night talking about how it has gone from being a bad dream that we hoped to wake up from to the feeling that he was just a dream. Was he really hear? All of the moments we had just seemed like they were too good to be true. We have now spent more days without him then we had him here in our arms. The very thought of that is just so overwhelming.

My heart still breaks every day when I think of him. For whatever reason the bad memories are just so prevelent these days and the good ones make you cry because you miss them and the life you had before. For Hugh much of this is the same. I'm so greatful that we have one another to lean on through this all because it is the lonliest saddest feeling in the whole world. Hugh has had his own set of tough emotions to handle lately. Father's Day is coming up and I know the dread that I met the day with and how I suffered through every single moment praying for the day to finally end. This year it is going to be especially hard for Hugh since not only have we lost George, he lost his own father in November. My heart breaks for him knowing he feels so very alone and lost. I know the day is going to be twice as hard for him. The worst part is I feel so helpless not knowing how to make it any better for any of us, but especially him.

For whatever reason, there has been this song running through my head the past three days. It is from the movie "My Sister's Keeper" The scene where they are at the beach together as a family before she dies just has always hit home with me. The song that is in it is the one that has played over and over again in my mind. "Feels Like Home" is the name of the song and the words are just so beautiful. Every single time I think of it, it brings me back to the only family trip we ever took George on to Disney. It was kind of like God's way to give our family time with him and wonderful memories with him before he took him to heaven. We had no idea he would be leaving but I am so greatful for the time we had there. I'm still sad that we didn't do everything because we thought we would be able to do it later on a subsequent trip when he was older. Dispite that, it was truly a gift to have had that time with him and my family.

Every day we push forward to find ways to cope and live without him here. Our lives have been so drastically changed and yet it seems like we are just on this continual roller coaster we can't get off of. No one really knows how difficult and lonely this process is until they have walked it and I can honestly say I know that for sure. Prior to George's death I knew many people who had lost a child and never really "got it" dispite the fact I was always a compassionate person. I still find it ironic that many times we happen to find comfort in a stranger. There are no expectations and although they may feel sad for you at first, they always listen with an open ear without saying anything. A stranger has no vested interest or emotions so many times they can be more objective. They tend to not say things that are hurtful and I have to say that sometimes I think that God puts them there just for those moments when we need them. You may never see that person again but at that second God wanted you to know you were not alone.

Yesterday at church, I had a very hard time sitting there listening to the readings. They were about miracles that God had preformed to give children back to their mothers. I remember sitting in the hospital praying for a miracle although God was wispering in my ear that it was not his will. It was so hard to sit there and listen while those passages were read because I know how much I had wanted one that day. So many times I wished I was wrong and prayed that this was not really happening. I of course are happy for those who have had miracles but just wanted one so bad myself that listening to the readings evoked tears I was just unprepared for.

Dispite it all we still move forward trying to live the life we now lead without getting overwhelmed by our grief. Each day brings its own obstacles but I am greatful that dispite the tradgedy, we refuse to let it get the best of us. Hugh is looking for a job every day in hopes to finally be able to get out of the house and have a job that he finds pride in again. I am still having a hard time deciding what to do about my own position. The mental demands are more then I know I can handle and I just don't see it fair to the company yet we really need the money. Part of me just wants to get a part time job doing something like desk work or answering phones to help with bills and help me to take baby steps back to work. I know myself well enough to know what I am capable of and what I am not and for that I am so greatful.

I do find a lot of solice in the fundraisers I am working on and the upcoming in service at the hospital. It is sort of a way to keep George's memory alive while doing good for others. If only I could get paid to do this sort of work, that would be ideal, but I know it is unrealistic and don't care if I don't get a dime because I have a passion for it and that is what matters in the end. Sometimes the feeling of doing good is worth more than all the money in the world. Sometimes we don't have to change the world in a big way, sometimes it is the little things that make the difference. We will do all that we can to make a bad situation have something good come out of it rather then letting it get the best of us. We are thankful for God's grace and love because we know in the end we would not be able to do any of this without that.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Richard's Sermon Today at Church

His sermon went with Readings I Kings 17:17-24, Psalm 30, Galatians 1:11-24, Luke 7:11-17

Deacon: Good morning everyone. It's nice to be here this morning with my sermon helper Richard.
In today's readings Scripture is full of miracles of God and how people who were dead and brought back to life through faith and miracles preformed by God, our Father. One thing I do hope is that the rest of this summer's readings aren't as gloomy.

Is gloomy the right word? I don't think so...some people get sick and pull through and others don't. Some folks are killed in auto accidents, but some don't. Some folks life to be 111 years old and some don't. And the same is true of our animal companions, it's no different and our feelings are not different.

We grieve our loses. There is a process in which we go through when we grieve and not only for the loss of a loved one when they die, but for example when we loose a friendship, a job, a community when we move away and things like that.
And not everyone grives the same way. There is a process, but not everyone goes step by step. Children go through a different process which is unique to them at their age.

The Garman Family just recently lost a member of their family to death. Four month old George, their little Monkey. This was very hard for the family and they are still grieving their loss. However, 11 year old Richard has been struggling. In his mind, he has been too busy consoling everyone else, that he did not give himself permission, nor did he realize that he needed to grieve.
So, Richard and his family found this wonderful Grieving Camp, Comfort Zone Camp, that was formed after 911 in NJ. It's existence is through donations, volunteers and the use of different camps in NJ, California, Texas, Virginia. Here, Richard was able to come to terms with George's death and he would like to tell us about it.

Richard: I went to Crosroads Camp in Secaucus, NJ for a weekend of Comfort Zone Camp.
I arrived on a Friday night-introduced to my adult big buddy, who's name is Da, but we called him Jesus because he looks so much like how we pucture Jesus. He took me to our cabin, which we shared with our healing group and talked and played until dinner.

Parents were having dinner together separate from we kids as they learned more about the program and visited and got to know other parents of children staying for the weekend.
The campers are devided into three categories- Little Buddies(that was me and the other kids at the camp)

Jr Counselors 15-17 yrs old who helped with games and activities.
and 18 to adults were the Big Buddies. All of us, including the counselors and big buddies lost someone they loved.
After dinner, we said good bye to our parents and participated in "get to know one another" activities. My favorite game was "rock, paper, scissor shoot.
Saturday morning, after breakfast, and by the way the food was really good, we went to our Healing Circles where we told our stories about why we were there. If some did something or said something courageous we gave them a pin worthy "pin".

After our Healing Circle, we had lunch, the food was really good, then we had free time where I went up on a really high zip line and it was very difficult for me to do because I am very afraid of heights. But, I'm really glad I did it because I tried something that I was afraid to do and found out that I could do it.

The we had free time again, dinner, and more activities.
One of the things we did Saturday night was to have Smores at a camp fire in which we placed an index card with a not to our loved one. The purpose was to turn our messages into energy so that our loved ones could read them because of their energy being all around us.

The next mroning, Sunday after breakfast, we went to our Healing Circles again to finish up our

We went to lunch and back to our Healing Circles to plan something for our group to do at the Memorial Service. We planned for my friend and I to come out and tell our families something about why we were there.

We had a fashion show with the theme of "the Jersey Shore", where someone from each healing circle was dressed up. We dressed our guy up in a paper bikini and hoola skirt. That was lots of fun! I got to narrate the bikini theme.
After dinner our parents and families arrived for the memorial service before ending the weekend. Then those who wanted to tget up and tell something about their loved one were given the opportunity to do so.
I was one who wanted to share. My friends, my big buddy, and my parents told me tat I did a great juob, so I would like to share it with you.
My baby brother, George died on January 29th of this year. The reason they listed for why George died was Sudden Unexplained Death of an Infant, better known as SIDS. My mom and the doctor that diagnosed Joshua feel that George had Mito and actually died from complications of the disease. There is not enough research for either disease so we will never really know why he died other than that God wanted him in heaven.
The day of George’s service my mom gave me this monkey. She took one of George’s t-shirts and ironed on his picture. She hoped it would be a way for me to hug him even though he was no longer here in his body. I sleep with it all the time and hug it when I miss him most. Everyone at the serviced loved it!
When I got to choose what I wanted to do for the memorial at Comfort Zone, the only thing that I could think of that reminded me most of George was the song Upside Down by Jack Johnson from the Curious George movie. The DJ played it at the service for me and it reminded me how much I love him and miss him, both my mom and dad cried and so did I. He was our family’s Curious George. There were lots of people there to support us there at Comfort Zone and they all knew how we felt. I am so glad that I got to go!

Then everyoone finished sharing, we took letters that we had written to our loved one to one in one of our sessions and attached it to a balloon for the balloon launch. With our parents we let go of the balloons.
We said Good bye to my new friends and left for home.

I would like to finish by saying thank you for giving me the opporutunity to share my experience with you and I would like you to pray with me.

Richard: The Lord be with you
Congregation: And also with you

Richard: We know that you have listened, God, to all that has been said about George and about Comfort Zone Camp. We pray that this camp will continue to do good works. We thank you for the times we had together with our loved ones who have died. We thank you for Jesus, who sush us yhour love. We know that He is close to our loved ones and that he is close to us. We pray that you will grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can, and wisdom to know one from the ohter. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Richard sort of used this as his guide and improvised in some sections. He also played the song from the Curious George movie, brought his monkey to show, and shared the book that the founder of Comfort Zone had created. We were so proud of him for being able to do this.

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