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, October 2, 2010

Panic Attacks

Well it is almost 4am and I am wide awake. I've been awake since a little before 3am after being woken by Hugh's heavy footed walk on the floor above. That sound is the very sound that I heard the morning that George died followed by panic voice yelling his name and screaming for me. Now just the sound of him walking on the floor above or his raised voice will randomly send me into a panic attack.

I don't know if you have ever experienced one but until that day he found George, I had not had one myself. They are just horrible and torturous. The terrible memories come flooding back all at once and you are left with your mind running in all directions but the logical part of you is trying to calm you down. Often it feels like someone is sitting on your chest and it is hard to breath. So many mom's and dad's who lost their children like this go through this on a regular basis even years later. I think it is also exacerbated for me because I do know there is something else wrong with the boys and I am already living that nightmare and fear it will happen again dispite any logic I may have. There is no logic where this is concerned.

Hugh and I have been under so much stress lately. Unforeseen obstacles keep arising and we are somehow expected to fix it all. People want to help but don't know how so they impart wisdom of some sort but neither one of us has it in us to process it or even do the leg work that goes with it. Yes it is easy to say call this place and ask this question but it is a whole other ball game to do it. Often times it requires us reliving that horrible day and all those terrible moments over and over again for yet another person's need not our own and causes so much unneeded pain and grief. We relive them over and over again on our own, it is just torture to be asked to do it when we are having a good moment just to explain out sad situation to some stranger on the phone or who does not know us.

Right now I feel sometimes it is as if we are just breathing and functioning. What little left we have is given to the kids and is used to keep our small family together and functioning. I know we have done so much grief work in such a short amount of time but the fact that this is an enormous job and we have only touched on the surface is just so very overwhelming. At some point you want to know there is an end in sight to all the pain and suffering. Sadly that day will only be the day we are able to hold our little boy again. It is not like being in labor that you know there will be a wonderful outcome and that eventually the terrible pain will end. It is instead rather torturous as you try to find a way to live with the horrible memories and still try to live life in a new way since all the dreams you had were just shattered forever.

All of this is just the grief part of loosing a child not to mention all the other stuff we have had piled on our plates in the last few weeks. There really is only so much that faith and logic can do for you. Some part of you is human and just wants to collapse under the weight of this sort of tragedy alone but add the other things and it seems nearly impossible. Often times I think of my grandparents who raised 10 kids and had no money and eventually became alcoholics. I never understood it before but truly can see why they turned to alcohol. Hugh and I are very careful to never allow this demons into our lives but it is so easy to see how so many scum to these sorts of things during moments of feeling truly helpless and overwhelming life obstacles. It would be so much easier to drown yourself in the addiction rather then feel this constant horrible pain you cannot get rid of and have to learn to live with.

Often times I think that is why I always have avoided medications for sleep/depression/anxiety. They don't fix the problem and can actually bring a whole set of problems themselves added to the ones you already have. It is only a temporary fix to a lifelong problem. We don't have an actual chemical imbalance, our son died and won't be coming back. It isn't like he went to college or grew up, he is dead and it is permanent so that means a part of us forever will be missing. I talked to Richard's guidance counselor the other day and he said that to this day he still has trouble with the pain he feels over the loss of his brother years ago and so do his parents. He said he still calls or visits his parents on his brother's earthly birthday and heavenly birthday.

Many times you feel like you are just a shell of a person walking around on Earth trying to function and do what is expected of you. You put on that happy face for all those around you because you hate the looks of pity or just don't want to have to go into detail as to why you are sad. This becomes second nature and often times you don't even realize you are doing it. People around you mean well and want to ease your pain in any way and hate to see you hurt so you learn how to make it better for them, why should there be two of you suffering right? You just get so tired of the well intentioned but misguided comments or suggestions that you find a way around them but just making it look like you are ok.

When people ask how you are doing you say fine or as best as can be expected as in your mind you are screaming "how do you think I feel my son is dead? How would you feel if it was you?" Logically you battle to tell yourself that they mean well. Eventually I think you find ways to isolate yourself and surround yourself with only those who you know really do understand and accept how truly bad it is for you. Those are the people you don't have to say anything to but if you want to you can without fear of prejudice or having to explain yourself. Often times you don't really want to talk but rather just be in someone's presence or not and either way is ok with these individuals. Even if they have not experienced the same loss they somehow are able to be there for you in a capacity that does not require more of you than you have to give and they allow you to be the new person you have become as you seek out a way to makes sense of it all and find a way to live this new life.

I find these people are very few because not passing judgment and realizing that this is normal and isn't about the other person but rather our pain is hard to come by. We are not expected to give back to this person by listening to their tale of woe and their pain but should we feel able than that person knows when the right time is. Often times I have been that person for everyone else but now that it is me in the situation I find that this is a gift not everyone has. This is actually rare to find. These diamonds in the rough are the ones who actually help ease your burden and you feel as if they are helping you to carry the pain/suffering rather than adding to it.

I find this is true not only for Hugh and I but also for Richard and more than likely will be that way for Josh, Michael,and Gabrielle as they all grow up without their brother. Richard and I have discussed this over and over again so I can say for sure it is true for him. The younger children will carry a very different pain in their lives and often won't know why they feel that way when they don't remember him or didn't even get to know him. I think this is also why Hugh and I have had to distance ourselves from others who just require more of us than we have to give because we know we need to be here for ourselves in order to be able to be there for the kids. We deal with not only our grief but watching our children carry this pain that we cannot fix for them and often times they don't understand. We don't understand so I cannot even begin to imagine where they are in all of this. We just pray that God guides us and helps us to be there for them every day in a way that will be beneficial to them.

Sometimes I envy those who are not logical. They seem to be able to just be completely emotional without the worry of what others till think or say to them. Somehow they feel no guilt for not having it together. Hugh and I unfortunately aren't those people. Somehow we have to find a way to do this in small increments so that we don't loose it and can be who we are meant to be. We had gone to a group mtg at a church a few weeks ago and the gentleman said that we are not meant to handle it all at one time and the times that we try to are the times that we back track in our grief. This pain is too immense to carry and burden all at one time so it is often times while people will repeat parts of the grief process over and over again. Just when you feel like you have it together wham you are hit again and often times feel as if you just went back a million times over. I think it feels like tsunami at times just coming from nowhere and taking over every part of your being.

I have watched many people die and witnessed those around them. I have even lost those I was extremely close with but nothing compares to this. Often times I feel that is why it is so hard for me to cope at times. Death was so very part of life to me for all those prior to George's loss. Somehow I could rationalize their death and understood it. With George however I am left with more questions than answers which happens to leave huge gaps in this process that somehow need to be filled with some sort of acceptance or faith and I just don't know how to do that right now. There is just a lot I don't know how to do and feel helpless when it comes to handling it all which I am sure leads to the panic and anxiety that I often feel comes from no where. Please keep us in your prayers as always.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


It seems as if every day is a milestone of some sort. Tomorrow George will have been gone for 8 months but it seems as if it was just yesterday we were holding him. 8 months ago he was still alive and we were holding him and playing with him. Tomorrow not only marks 8 months for him but also a year for my nephew Gavin. My sister and her husband never got to meet him or hold their precious little boy. He was born straight into heaven but still remains in our hearts.

I often would like to think our two boys are up in heaven waiting for us to come back to be with them. Every part of me remembers the day my sister and her husband found out that their son suffered from a rare disorder Pentology of Cantrell and that there was little hope he would survive. This is such a horrible thing to have to be told and live through and no matter what people say you have lost the hope of a dream you had for your life and your child. I remember going to her house and talking to her and calling CHOP to talk to the best docs who could give them a better idea as to what to expect. God had bigger plans for this sweet little boy and took him to heaven. Although life has moved on he will always be a part of their lives and although many other people may forget, I never will because I know how much of a part George played in my sister's life during those torturous following months. I remember her holding George and asking him to tell Gavin how much she loved him and the private moments that George and my sister shared.

I am posting a picture that I found that just reminded me of our two boys in heaven. These teddy bears are sold over in Europe but not here in the USA. I saw them years ago when I went there on a trip to visit my friend Andrea in Germany. For whatever reason they have touched my heart and remind me of my little boy, this picture in particular reminds me of both of them and I felt this was the ideal time to post it since they both have met another tragic milestone. My nephew's name was Gavin and I will forever hold him in my heart even though I never got the chance to meet him in person. He is now a big brother watching over his little sister Mallory who was recently born to my sister and her husband. I cannot wait until I get to be with both boys again someday.

So many times people happen to say "God only gives you what you can handle" I know often times it is their attempt to try and make you feel better and that they mean well but every time I hear it, I cringe. For the life of me I could not figure out why. It finally hit me why it is that I have such a hard time. It makes me feel as if somehow I am letting God down by not being able to feel capable of handling the tasks before me. I realized that God does not choose for these things to happen to us but rather promises to never leave us alone to walk the tragedy and struggles set before us.

This thought gives you the ability to not have to be strong and feel as if you are failing in your struggles. I find that God often ministers to us during these moments of weakness the most when we cannot take another step on our own. We are not meant to "handle" this things alone and when we try to, we ultimately are set up to fail and have even more trouble than we would if we were to just say I cannot do this alone. I am not a failure for admitting I can't do this or I don't know how to do this. It is ok to cry and be sad and loose control of your emotions.

Often I find myself crying alone in my bed at night. However, those are the times I picture my head rested in his lap and he strokes my head just letting me know that he is there and that he will be strong for me and it is ok to be weak. I can be myself and not feel guilty. That very phrase just sets anyone up to feel that they have to carry the burden alone and that even God expects them to have it together. Or it makes you wonder what in the world God is thinking when you feel so incompetent to handle something you just don't understand or know how to handle.

I'll be honest, I feel so lots often not knowing how to handle the loss of my son. There are no right or wrongs with this so it is very hard. Often times those around me don't understand and want me to tell them what to do or how to help but I don't know myself so I can't say and feel lost at times. It is so confusing and often times seems to require more of me than I have to give sometimes. Learning my limits has been hard for me and also others I am sure who were used to me doing so much more than I am capable of now. I'm also trying to ignore others and their judgments of how we are handling things and know that they are just ignorant to this process and really don't know that things are always as they seem to outsiders. I find that the milestones are the days that tend to be the days that are a challenge and when people try to help my imparting these sorts of phrases that actually do not help but can actually be hurtful without realizing it. Please keep us all in your prayers tomorrow and please also include my sister and her family as they remember their son that they will have to wait to meet.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Just a Bad Day

Today was just one of those days...a very hard one for both Hugh and I for very different but similar reasons. By the end of this month all of George's things will have found new homes. We are finally down to the last few and today we gave his most used things, his bouncy seat, swing, and play mat to a young teenage mom who is due any day with her first baby. These items were new when George used them since Michael's had seen their day after the multiple uses. Hugh and I both could not see ourselves using these items again for many reasons but wanted them to be put to good use since they were special. Today they were picked up and I cannot tell you how very hard it was to realize there is very little left of our beautiful boy. His clothes are headed to Ecuador this week and the only thing left is his car seat/stroller and his crib. Those will be given to the church for their yard sale on the 15th.

I cannot tell you how very hard it is to give your child's things away. In some ways it is like loosing them all over again. It has been extremely difficult to do but something we know we had to do. Logically we could not see them wasting away collecting dust since they would never be used again. They were not intended for that purpose and we just couldn't do that either. It was in some ways as difficult as it was for us to bury his ashes in our church's memorial garden. I cannot tell you how very difficult it was for me to pour my son's ashes into a cold dark dirt hole but I could not let anyone else do it was my job as his mom to walk him that last mile. We of course still have some of his ashes here but that is just something that is so very difficult to do and I can't even explain it.

After that, we went to Costco to get Joshua's meds. I checked our bank account before we left to see if I had to wait until the end of the week to do food shopping or if I could get them while we were already there. According to it we had enough for me to least that was what I thought. Hugh and I went and grabbed the things we needed for the next few weeks only to get to the counter and have it declined. I was completely baffled and Hugh and I were both mortified. He called the bank to only find out that when I had checked they had not applied things from the weekend and I had forgotten about two scheduled payments.

I took Michael out to the car as Hugh grabbed the few things we definitely needed and left the things we could wait on. He got in the car and the two of us just cried. I think all that we have endured over the past year had just really caught up to us both. I felt stupid for forgetting yet again and he felt bad because of his unemployment situation and mine. His unemployment runs out in 2 weeks and mine still has not been rectified since the guy who was suppose to do it called out sick and it got pushed back yet another 4 weeks. It isn't that we don't have food in the house or have had things turned off(other than once for the cable because I forgot to pay the bill yet again) Of course we have not been able to pay the mortgage for 3 months and almost 4 but once the other stuff is situated it will all be fine. Right now it is getting to that point.

I think both of us are just sick of being dumped on. Wasn't loosing our son enough? No, one thing after another has been an issue for us and we cannot seem to catch a break. Of course there are plenty of people out there who feel we have made poor decisions to get us here but like I told Hugh they never walked our shoes so they don't know the story behind all of it. How is it that people you are close to tend to be the most judgmental yet also the ones who don't really get it or know all the details just because you don't want to get into it. Of course people have told us to go apply for food stamps and all sorts of other programs but they don't understand the system because they themselves have never been in it. First of all the minute my unemployment goes through we will be dropped and could even have to pay it all back!!! Second they have no idea how much of a health risk these places pose to our boys health...I am not willing to risk my children's lives for public assistance that will be revoked a few weeks from now.

We are not the kind of people that have savings because the government will not allow us to have them if our boys get medical benefits and they need that more than anything. No one understands this all and how it works or how it takes months to even get this sort of thing. Yes for some people they are in and out with no questions but that is not our luck or situation and Hugh and I refuse to lie on applications. I would not want my children to do that and refuse to compromise who we are in order to qualify for this garbage! WIC wants me to prick my children just for their stupid books and I refuse to subject them to that when they are tortured enough for medical purposes not to mention again the health risks. I know often they are trying to give us a solution but we have already weighed all the risks and options out there, we are aware of them all and to have to have these things thrown at us and have to explain it just adds more stress to our plates and frustration that we are in this situation by no fault of our own. Bad stuff happens to good people for no reason and that is just our lot in life unfortunately.

The possibility that things could get worse is definitely a possibility but we will have to cross that bridge when we come to it. We would absolutely go out of our minds if we play the what if game. For now we just have to give it to God and trust he is walking with us. I don't profess to even understand what he is thinking and God if I hear one more time that he only gives us what we can handle I will scream. The people that say that are the ones not living this hell we live every single day of our lives. Yes I know there are others who are in worse shape and a good chunk of America is much like our family but for us it is bad and we are allowed to be upset and sad about it even if we can't fix it right now. I think for us it is more a why do we have to endure this on top of what we have already endured wasn't saying goodbye to our son enough?

Hugh is hoping to go back to Sears but has to get a hold of the person he knows up there and has not had much success at this yet. I am looking for an office job but being pregnant makes people not hire you. I cannot return to work at my old position even though the company would hire me back. Mentally I just cannot do the work. I think I am even more incapable to do it now than I was a few weeks ago or even months ago. People don't seem to realize that my son died in my house and I was working rather than going into his room to pick him up. There is a part of myself that I need to forgive for that but working from home in that sort of environment will just be more difficult than ever before and I can't do that right now. Sometimes there is a point where your sanity is more important than money. I also want to be able to return to the position when and if I am capable of doing so again so I do not want to get fired and made ineligible for rehire.

This has just been one of those days, weeks, months, years for us. I think we are just generally frustrated right now that the good guy doesn't always come out on top. We are such giving people who do so much for others and give without expecting anything in return but that does not make us human and wonder why we are handed so much at one time or wonder when the bad stuff will stop being thrown at us from every angle. It is frustrating to sit back and watch those who lie, cheat, and steal get things and not struggle while we do. That makes us human and we are allowed these moments.

We also go to another funeral this coming Wednesday for a woman that was like Hugh's grandmother to him. I think between Hugh and I we have lost almost 10 people we know just this year alone! It seems as if every single time we turn around there is another funeral for someone. There have just been so many losses over the past few years but this year especially. I'm grateful we have one another and could not imagine enduring this without him for we both know that no matter what happens we have our kids and one another and with our strong faith the stronghold of our family anything is possible. These trials are temporary and we are so grateful to be able to see that although it doesn't make it easy. Money does not make people happy! The sermon at church this weekend was about just that. Richard even went to Camden to serve the homeless on Sunday and truly put things into perspective for him too. God does not promise easy, he only promises to walk with us through the storm...we are just going to have to learn to dance in the matter how difficult that really is and to just put our faith that God provides and that things will eventually work themselves out eventually(although I am sure we will have our moments of stress like today). I guess that is what faith is all about!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Broken Heart

My heart is just broken without you here. I can't tell you how much I miss you my little monkey. It takes everything that I have to keep it together and not cry all day long right now. Nothing could ever explain a pain like this. They say it gets better with time but I have to beg to differ. For me it has just gotten worse as time goes on. I know there are lots of children up there in heaven with you who's parents are still here and miss them as much as I miss you. I talk to many of them every day and I know my feelings are normal but that doesn't make them good feelings it just makes them "normal". Tears come to my eyes all day long and I try to not cry but sometimes I am not successful and the pain from my heart just takes over my head...this is nothing that anyone could ever imagine. I would give anything to hold and kiss you again...I miss you so very much. My heart is just broken.

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