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 16, 2010

I Can Only Imagine (with lyrics) - MercyMe

Mercy Me Homesick with lyrics

Josh Wilson - Before The Morning

Another Sleepless Night

Well, just like most of the nights before, tonight I was having a hard time sleeping and just missing you terribly. I lit my candles last night and just stood there for a while thinking about how sad it was that this was my life and would remain it until I am with you again. I will only be allowed to hold your memories and have to find a way to celebrate things with you in heaven and I don't really know how to or even want to for that matter. I am left with just ashes of what you used to be and am left to celebrate with a cold marble urn on a mantle rather than with your chubby little hands hugging me and beautiful smile. Never would I wish this on my worst enemy.

To take my mind off of things I logged on to Facebook and found a post from another mom who is trying to get Halo sleep sacks together for her local hospital. I had seen the postings before but other than that had not gone much further other than to like her page. The logo she uses for this charity is a monkey drawing! It was always hard for me to just look at that logo cause it made me think of you so I just assumed she too had known what it was to loose a child to SIDS. The title of her organization is project Gavin...something that I just found ironic too since you have now met your cousin Gavin up there in heaven. This morning I took the time to go to her page and actually read it. Much to my surprise her son was alive and well!

There was however something that touched my heart in a way that nothing has thus far. She actually almost lost him to what her docs told her would have been labled as SIDS! He had horrible reflux just like you did. So much of his story just reminded me of yours. Fortunately for their family Gavin was on monitors when having a reflux issue where his heart had stopped and his mommy was able to save him by giving him CPR right away. What I would have given to have been able to do that for you! I have no idea how long you were gone before we found you and I was able to start CPR.

I remember asking for a monitor because I knew something was wrong. Sometimes I wonder why I didn't push harder for answers while you were alive... I will always wonder if you would have been here if only I had. Now I will never have answers and just be left with many what if's or if I had only's. Logically I know better and that I was a good mommy and did my best but I guess it just wasn't good enough. Somewhere in all of this, not having answers is one of the hardest things to deal with and when there are none you tend to blame yourself even if it was out of your control. I know God had bigger plans but they weren't mine and he left me no answers so it just makes missing you and the fact you are gone just so much harder to handle.

These past few years have just been such a horrible roller coaster with this year being the worst of all. Last year this time you were here and I could hold you even though life was difficult you just seemed to be the light in it all. Your smile could change the world and a bad mood in an instant! We were just so very connected and I miss having that. It was something I never had before and to have known it and then have it taken away was like having part of me taken away. I really try to not think that way or feel that way but often times there is no escaping it. I really try hard to keep it together when all I want to do is just fall apart but that is not an option for me.

Now a days just the thought of you or speaking your name brings tears to my eyes. Often times others feel awkward when I do or just are so sad themselves and I can just feel it. No matter how much I want to cry I still feel compelled to talk about you and do things for you even though you are not here and it is difficult to do so. I know you are gone. Many parents find comfort in visiting their children's grave and I really thought having your ashes here at home would be of some comfort. Somehow nothing brings me comfort and I don't ever feel as if I am any closer to you where some of your ashes are at church, here at home, or even with the necklace I wear every day. Maybe it is because I know where you are and I know it isn't here. I know you are with God so although I rejoice for you my heart cries for myself and the pain I carry every day that I am not with you. The song Homesick by Mercy Me just speaks to my heart on so many levels, especially lately.

I still cherish the small things and thank God for the gift of your life. When your little sister is here I will be sure to tell her all about you. I'm scared for her and for our family. I pray every night and every time that she moves in my belly that God does not want her in heaven too, well at least not until I have already been able to be with you again. I often wonder if you did not get to meet her before she came to be with us. I'm not really sure if we all start in heaven and just return or exactly how that works. No matter how it works, you will get to know her some day if you don't already and there will be a day when we will all be a family again and not be left with part of us missing. That will be such a glorious day! I think of the song "I Can Only Imagine" and the very thought of it just brings me so much joy among the sorrow since I now we will some day be together again. The true meaning of God's grace is so prevalent when I think of his sacrifice that made it possible for that to be true.

Until that day comes, just know I miss you and always will. I will continue here until I have fulfilled my purpose. God still has much for me to do and enjoy here on Earth, my lessons or the lessons he wants others to know through me are just not done yet. I look forward to the many blessings he has in store and the challenges that he has for me to overcome. Each moment is just one more closer to being with you again someday. The one thing I do not fear anymore is dying and I cannot thank you for that gift enough! Only God knows how long that it will be but I am sure it will only seem like moments for you and God but for me here living hell on Earth, it seems like forever! The good thing is that I know it is temporary and that God walks with me through it all. That alone is a huge gift that I am so grateful for.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Remembering You Little Monkey!

Baby/Infant Loss Awareness Day

Today is a day set aside to remember those babies who have returned to heaven earlier than expected. Please consider lighting a candle in remembrance of all these children and in honor of the parents who yearn to hold them. Starting at 7pm for one hour tonight I will light a candle for all of these babies/children and their families, especially my son and nephew, to participate in the "Wave of Light" across the world tonight as worldwide those suffering this loss remember our children waiting for us in heaven.

George Charles Garman 09/09/09-01/29/10
Gavin Sworaski 09/29/09

We miss you both so much and cannot wait to see you again some day. Until we can get there enjoy all that heaven has to give. I hope you are up there playing and just enjoying your eternal life.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Last night, by the end of the night I was as close to a basket case as I have ever been in my life. All of the things we have been given had just finally taken their toll on me and I found myself just crying not knowing what to do or how to fix any of it. Extremely overwhelmed with the good intent of others that call or email you with suggestions or those sorts of thing but not being able to do much other than say thank you or just kind of listen to them tell you how you should handle a situation that they are not themselves living. Both Hugh and I know it is all well intended and their attempt to help and try alleviate or "fix" our current circumstances. However, Hugh and I both know that sometimes there are things that just can't be fixed and that there are others that come in God's time and not ours and advice and suggestions will not move the process along any faster or take away the pain, lack of understanding, or general frustration away and may in fact make it worse.

I sat here this morning during my 4am wake up call that I tend to have either for no reason or just way to much going on in my head. Part of me was seeking a way to understand it myself and to explain it to others on a level that they could comprehend. Often times I don't understand it myself and when asked how someone can help,often times I don't know the answer. All of a sudden it hit me and I thought of a moment in my life that was a little more understandable that related to our situation in an abstract way.

A few years ago when my grandmother was alive we were attending a baby shower for my cousin's wife. My grandmother had dialysis that day. For anyone who doesn't know much about dialysis it is an exhausting and draining process for the individual undergoing it and although it sounds simple it truly is not. My grandmother was living proof of that, she went from a strong independent woman to a woman who had to learn to depend on others and truly fight to find it in herself to wake up in the morning and endure more that she felt she had in her to do. By the end of her life she was very tired and I was blessed to have been able to be there for her and have a very personal and unique relationship with her where we talked about these sorts of things I got to see the human part of her, not the part that was always put on a pedestal by so many others. She knew she never had to pretend around me and could be honest and weak when she needed to be without feeling guilt or a need to keep it together.

That day she felt a huge obligation to show up to the baby shower and was brought in via wheelchair to do something she wanted to do but something she just had no energy to do. She kept it together for everyone yet could barely keep her eyes open and struggled to just sit in the chair. Those around her bustled around doing all the baby shower stuff. They recognized she needed to eat and felt that it would help her to get back to "herself" again. My aunt got her a plate of food and placed it in front of her and returned to participating in the baby shower festivities. I remember sitting there watching my grandmother sit in a room full of people with a plate of food right in front of her.

Every part of her knew she needed to eat but she was so drained and tired. Those around her kept doing what they were doing knowing she was "taken care of" food wise without ever realizing she was not actually eating. Someone else returned with a drink after noticing she was not eating. Cake time came and she had cake in front of her too. Now there were many options in front of her. She had tried several times to eat but her hands were so shaky and she was lucky to be able to even get her hand on the table. Not only was she not eating she was not drinking or even touching cake(her absolute favorite thing).

I remember moving to the seat next to her and discreetly asking her if she wanted to eat and she said yes. I asked her if she could eat and she just looked up at me with much pain and sadness in her eye(she had lost one to cancer but the one she did have spoke volumes) and no other word needed to be spoke. I picked up her fork without making a scene and cut the food and began to help her eat and drink. Without saying anything, I knew she was grateful and there was nothing else needed. We would take a break to get a drink and I allowed her to do some of it once she was feeling a little stronger. There were times I had to help her out again and did not leave until she was full. She eventually stayed long enough to feel as if she had completed her task there and was taken home. Often times during her hospital stays this was also the case when they would drop her food off to her...she would have to wait for someone to come help her and if no one did she did not eat or would try to eat and just get frustrated.

How does that pertain to our situation? People will call or suggest things that even though they are right in front of us we just don't have the energy or ability to do right now. Life for both of us has become very draining. No matter how much we may want to do it sometimes we just can't do it. We logically know these steps need to be taken but sometimes just don't have it in us to do it or really are not capable at this time. The overwhelming feeling of sadness as you watch it there in front of you but not be able to do anything with it becomes such an emotional thing and painful reminder of the things you know you should do but cannot do. It is not laziness or self pity by any means it is just really not being able to handle anymore due to sheer exhaustion.

That also does not mean that we feel that it is someone elses responsibility to fix our situation for us. We know we have to be a participant, just like my grandmother had to eat her food, I could not do that for her and I also gave her the opportunity to do what she was able to do but still staying by her side to help as she would tire again. I find that people will ask us how things are and we have just gotten in the habit of saying fine because we know they don't really want to know or they themselves are overwhelmed by our situation. Somewhere in there they feel as if we are asking them to fix it for us when in fact we really just wanted to share with them the very thing they asked, how we are doing.

We aren't asking you to pay our bills or feed our family or take away our pain, we are just asking you to listen. There are those who will opt to help out in their own way and that is greatly appreciated. However, we never tell someone that we are having a bad time in the expectation of getting something in return. Hugh and I both have come to know who we can now be honest with and those who we just need to say everything is fine to. We have had conversations with several family or friends who we were talking to and they made it quite apparent they had no money and could not help out when in fact that was never the intent of the conversation! When you are in that situation it really makes you feel worse than you did at the beginning of it all.

This also lead me to think of helping others and how the word charity has truly been turned around by society from it's original meaning. I am pasting in a response I posted to another blog page when someone posted about the fact that they were having a hard time taking help from others after being the one for so many years to give help. Due to their current circumstances they found themselves in very unfamiliar territory. This made me think of Hugh and I and how the two of us were always like that and how after Josh's first seizure much of that changed and we had to learn how to accept help. For us this has had to continue much longer than we anticipated and often time we have received judgmental attitudes and criticism for choices and things in our lives that others don't understand because it did not happen to them.

Unfortunately for us life happens to us. We are not the people who plan things in life and they just happen the way we anticipated them to be. There are those out there who are fortunate enough to be able to do that but life just doesn't work that way for us no matter how hard we try. Little do most people realize we aren't the ones in control. At the time we made a decision it was done with the best intent and was the right decision at that moment. That is not to say a second later we did not realize it was not the best choice or that it was not going to work out as planned. We cannot predict the future and as long as a poor decision was not made with malice or intent of hurting someone than it is something we will have to learn from and move on from. Sometimes we don't realize it at the time, but some of the worst situations and poor decisions were actually in fact the best thing to ever happen to us and actually creates something much better than we even had planned!

Below is my response and I hope that this particular blog gives you a better understanding for those who you just may not know how to help or understand why they aren't doing something that just seems so simple and easy to you.

My Response:

Unfortunately in modern days the word charity has taken on a new meaning. Here is the old school and new school version of the word taken from Wikipedia.

In Christian theology charity, or love (agapē), means an unlimited loving-kindness toward all others.

The term should not be confused with the more restricted modern use of the word charity to mean benevolent giving.

I think often in times like these it is hard to look at charity as a blessing and showing of love due to the modern day use of the word. You are learning lessons that you never would have been able to and you are also giving a gift. Think of the moments that you were the giver and how wonderful you felt to be able to help another human being in a time of need. You are now blessing someone else with that gift and teaching them lessons in life you are not aware of. Never is this a one sided thing…both the giver and receiver are actually doing both! I have personally found that it is our pride and societies views often times that gets in the way of the reality of it all. It always feels better to be the one giving but also think of those feelings of gratefulness you do feel and other emotions you are given because they now give you a better appreciation for those you helped out so many times yourself and can see first hand how they felt. You are now given the gift of truly knowing first hand what true thankfulness is all about and there will be a time where you will be able to give again in that capacity but for now you will need to find a way to give in other ways.

Recently, we lost our 4 month old son and it was my children who actually taught me a very important life lesson. My oldest went to a grief camp and upon the completion of his weekend there he told me he wanted to donate to the camp to help other children. Both my husband and I would love to have just been able to write a check to make that possible but it just was not something we could do. It was then that my 11 year old said to me, can’t we just do a fundraiser mom…someone was there for me and I want to be there for someone else. Needless to say we put together a fundraiser for this camp. Initially people criticized this decision saying our family was financially not in a place to do this sort of thing. Finances have nothing to do with charity and compassion and I found that out first hand when my boys raised over a thousand dollars and got tons of in kind donations for this organization. After the fundraiser I learned that we all have a chance to give even when we do need to receive in other aspects. If you feel the need to still give than find another outlet there is always someone in need of even just a listening ear and that can be a huge gift!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

In My Thoughts

This week is infant loss awareness week/SIDS awareness week(the whole month is but it overshadowed by breast cancer awareness month) and this Friday is the official remembrance day. For whatever reason this has caused me much thought and emotions. I keep replaying the day that George died and the days following all the way up to his service. I have thought about those who I happened to loose a child in any manner especially those who I know who had a miscarriage. My thoughts have really been all over the board as I try and handle the many emotions associated with the loss of a child.

Last week a woman who lost her child to SIDS offered to create a memorial photo of any child that left this world to early. I had her make one for George and then thought of my sister and my nephew in heaven so I emailed her and let her know. She emailed me back saying that she didn't need one and had to find a way to move on. That made me think of the way that people who have lost a child to miscarriage cope. I think it comes down to what does life mean and where do you consider it begins? I've watched as parents honor the memory of the miscarried children as much as a mother who held her baby in her arms and then others who just move on as it being part of life. You then have those left in the middle not knowing what to do.

This made me think of how I feel often with the way that I cope with George no longer being here. With the holidays coming up all I can think of is how there will be no gifts for him and how to still celebrate it with him in our hearts but not our arms. To not include him seems to be as if I am not admitting that he existed when including him really makes no sense logically! How do you celebrate with or for a child already in heaven? Things will just never be the same again and some of the hardest parts are the finding a way to live still with them not here. Logically he will never know the difference but emotionally I feel compelled to not forget him and include him. It is one of the oddest feelings to ever have to and wrestle with continually throughout the day.

It has got to be even harder for those who have lost their child/children to miscarriage if they in fact felt as if they were their baby. Society as a whole has a horrible misconception about the loss of a child but especially those lost to miscarriage. People mean well but say the most inappropriate things. I recently read and article written by a father who lost his child to miscarriage and how horrible they felt and all the things people would say to them and could not fathom that sort of response especially after some of the most absurd comments made to us after the loss of a child we held in our arms.

We have friends of ours who always wanted children but were never blessed with them and happened to know the pain of miscarriage. They are much older than we are and it never occurred to me that to this day they too could be mourning the loss of that child and may actually impact their daily lives. I then thought of a friend of mine who lost her first child to a miscarriage. After George died my sister and this friend of mine were the most honest and emotionally touched people by our loss. To this day she still tells me she cannot fathom the pain that we feel because she knew how devastated she was after her miscarriage. I have to say I respect that more than someone else's vain attempt to bring comfort by hurtful comments meant to comfort but rather bring stabbing pain.

As these friends and my sister talk to us you can see their pain in their eyes and an empathy beyond compare. In a way they relive their own loss and try to fathom the pain great pain associated with the loss of a child you held in your arms. I also feel it ironic that these people are always the most awkward around you knowing that they don't want to hurt you any more than you are. They are sympathetic to your loss and how the wrong thing said can just bring more heartache. The one thing they do not do is run the other way and admit they just don't know what to say or do for you. In some odd way that is more comforting than "words of wisdom" from well meaning individuals who just really don't get it.

I often thank God that I happened to not know the loss of a child until George but happened to have a different insight into death than most people. I remember the days following my sister finding out that her son had a rare medical problem that left them with a big decision. The docs had decided that they needed to terminate the pregnancy and move on with life yet my sister was very distraught about the entire thing. She sounded "good" on the phone with it but something made me drive to her house and be there for her and talk things through with her. I could see how very lost she was and remember telling her that she already thought of this little person as her child. The days following Gavin returned to heaven on his own and my sister and her husband were left with heartache rather than a baby to hold.

I sat there wondering why in the world this sort of thing would happen. There are people who kill their children and abuse them and yet here was a child who would have known unconditional love and have two wonderful parents and was gone. I did not see the fairness in any of it and felt very lost. After George died I sat there feeling many of these same emotions. Somewhere in all of it I still believed things happen for a reason. Was George here to help my sister through her loss(to this day she still says that she had a special bond with George)? Did she loose her son so that she understood my loss? Why will our daughters both have a brother in heaven that they will never know? Was it so that the two boys would have one another up there in heaven until we can return to be with them? I don't profess to know why but I do know that they are together...I don't know what capacity we will know them in when we return but somehow I have this peace about it all.

I don't understand this peace and really have been questioning it a lot lately. Why do I have this peace when I have such pain in my heart? I really can't say why but have been thinking about it. That has brought my thoughts to those very moments that our world was turned upside down. I think of when Hugh handed him to me and I knew he was gone yet held a hope I was wrong. In my heart I knew though. We stood there in the ER watching them working on him and I prayed to God to give him back to us but knowing in my heart he already had plans for him and it was not here on Earth. Somewhere in it all through my head ran the words Christ used " please let this cup pass from me but thy will be done" Where in the world did that truly come from? How could I be so understanding as I was watching my son die on a hospital table? How could I find it in me to be understanding as I sat there signing papers to have my sweet little boys cremated? That wasn't how it was suppose to be, at least in my mind.

Yesterday, as I sat there holding back years yet again, it occurred to me finally. I believe that it was Christ walking with me during those moments. Even now when I do not truly understand but have peace about our loss I know it is only then that I am wrapped in his arms being comforted like only he can do. There are no vain attempts to say the right thing, no words need to be spoken. It does not take the horrible pain away as I wish it would but it makes it possible to make it through the day or know that I will survive when I don't feel like I can go any further. As alienated from society, friends, and family, I never have felt completely alone and for that I am grateful! Every day is a challenge right now and probably will be that way for quite a while...I need to give myself the ok to feel the pain and allow God and Jesus to walk me through it because there is nothing anyone can do or say to make it better. I am left with the ashes of my dreams in an urn on a mantle rather than my little boy and that is such a difficult thing to learn to live with. I am not alone though and that is ultimately what gives me peace.

Please light a candle on Friday at 7pm-8pm for the children who have gone before their parents. We will especially be remembering George and Gavin along with those children of our friends on Friday.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Trudging Through

We are really just trudging through the days right now. So much of our lives are up in the air and bring so much anxiety and worry that if we thought about them on top of coping with George's loss, we would surely go out of our minds. Today I sat down with Hugh and the two of us put in about 20+ job applications. The very thought that we will have to live on $500 for lord knows how long just becomes overwhelming. Anytime I start to think about it I have to just tell myself that I cannot change where we are right now so I just try not to think about it.

We spoke with a lawyer and he told us that we have at least a year before they could foreclose on our house. We are really only in the very beginning of it all but hopefully Hugh will have a job so we can file bankruptcy in order to save the house. We will be allowed to make the backed payments at that point in time so although it will ruin our credit(it already is) it should all be ok in the end...right now it is just being patient, trying to find him a job, and trying not to worry in the mean time/avoid the phone.

Ironically, at the lawers office, he turned to us and looked at us and asked us why we were having another baby. I am sure that is just about the thought of a good portion of the people we know. They look at our current situation and think we are reckless and shouldn't be having another child. First of all I told him we had the same number of children a few months ago. Secondly, seven months ago we were not in this situation. Hugh did not have a job but he still had unemployment coming in and I was suppose to have mine situated by now or I felt I would be back to work by now. Instead, he still has had issues finding a job and exhausted his benefits(like many Americans right now) and I have been fighting with unemployment for over 3 months now! None of this was part of the plan 7 months were we suppose to know?!?...but then again we should always expect difficulty in our lives no matter what we do, we are just the people that life happens to.

Never would we trade any of our children, Gabrielle included, for a temporary bad situation. This is when faith truly comes into play more than ever. I think the worst is that you find judgmental people, friends, family, and strangers, who just don't get it but feel they have the right to pass judgment. It is so frustrating and adds more problems to our already filled plate. Sadly they don't get it and find some right to throw stones without knowing any part of the situation at all...this lawyer just proved that very thing.

No one will ever know the emotional torment and stress that comes with the loss of a child unless they have lived it themselves, especially in a manner such as this. Being realistic and knowing I cannot work at my old job is not being weak on my part it is being honest and actually being strong enough to say I can't do it. Saying I don't know when I will be able to is giving myself the time to cope. I am so sick of society thinking that we need to be strong. If we wake up and the morning and make it through the day without loosing it than that is being strong. We have to find a way to live with the horrible feelings and memories we will carry for the rest of our lives. We don't get to leave or forget or can ignore this nightmare we now call our lives while everyone else can continue on with theirs. There are days we are lucky we remember to eat or just do the simple things. You cannot immagine the amount of energy required to just say alive right now...there is so much emotional/life stress coming at us from all angles just to breath is a task in its own right.

The only way to explain how we live right now is by saying we are surviving. Every single day seems like an eternity and we are just grateful to make it through in tact with nothing crazy happening.

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