George's Guardian's of Grace Projects
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Doing this has not proven to be an easy task by any means. First of all, it has been a challenge this pregnancy to do a lot of the things I can normally do. I have been so drained on so many levels this time around. Hugh is now working a lot and that really poses to be difficult for me with the boys since physically it is a challenge to just do daily tasks. That all being said, the hardest has been to come across things that were George's or that I was saving for him to use some day. The sad realization that he will never do that is just so saddening to me.
Today Hugh was going through his clothes and came across a shirt I had bought him for Father's Day right before George was born. It was a shirt where the kids could put their hand prints on it. He didn't realize the significance to it but I remember buying it thinking that he could add George's hand prints to shirt and we never did. He was still too young and had that clenched fist thing that babies all have. Hugh put the shirt on not realizing this and saying how we can add the kids prints to it still...he didn't realize that it would never be complete with George always missing. I just burst into tears and yelled at him explaining that it would never be what it was meant to be. Sometimes the significance of things gets to me more than it does to anyone else.
I should not be having to live a life like this. While cleaning I came across toys and clothes that I held onto for him from his big brothers. He never got to wear them and never will. All of the dreams and things I had wanted for him all died with him that day. For everyone else they can forget or walk away for a day but I can't. There is not a day that goes buy I don't cry or think of him. I think often times this is why it is the hardest loss to have. Everyone else gets to go away and forget the hell for at least a little while but I don't. I don't get to forget the horrible moments of that day and how part of me died with my son that day.
Simple things shouldn't be this hard. Every little thing is a constant reminder that he is no longer with us and isn't coming back. They each bring their own twinge of pain in some form. No one should have to ever really live like this, it is not fair, and yet we have no say but have to still find a way to get through every day and these moments. I miss him terribly and find it harder each day not easier. Often times I think I just get better at pretending that life is good and I am fine. The fake smile gets to be more natural and a normal part of having to live without my child here with me.
I have talked to other mom's going through this too and they too feel the same way most of the time. Many of us are still in our first year and coming up on the holidays that used to be filled with joy but are now met rather with anxiety and a wish that we could not do them all together. Just the knowledge that they will always be missing something is so overwhelming not to mention the energy required to just make it through them for everyone else when all we really want to do is stay in bed and forget the whole thing. Yet we forge forward just like we are expected to do trying to make the best of a horrible situation for everyone else in hopes that it won't be as bad as we think it will be.
For our family and many others things are always compounded by finances and life obligations. Somehow things for us just are more complicated then they are for other people. Even though Hugh is working we won't see any sort of money until next week. The cemetery position that he left was supposed to pay him yesterday for training but have not so now that is another task of trying to get the money they owe him. We want it just to cover the cost of the gas that it cost for him to get up there so we can put it towards his gas to get to and from Sears. I still don't know how in the world we are making it but it can only be God's grace.
My heart goes out to the other parents in the same and worse situations than we are in and I know quite a few. Not only do you have the burden of your child's death but you have to deal with finances, and the holidays. Just knowing you can't be the one to go out and purchase gifts for your child and have to rely on others is just depressing in it's own right. That doesn't even begin to touch on how to just survive this season without your baby. I am thankful that we have my parents who help out where they can and one another. There is a mom who I am friends with who has nothing and is now loosing her home, her marriage, and everything else on top of her son. Many people never talk about this sort of stuff and I think it just compounds the whole situation making it worse. When someone talks about it people shy away as if the person is asking them to solve their problem but often times it is they want a listening ear because it is so overwhelming. People somehow feel sorry for you and are overwhelmed by your situation and don't know how to handle it so often you get this very awkward feeling and come to know you don't want to get into that too so avoid talking to anyone about it. I know I have expressed this before but this is such a common thread among people who have lost their child that complicates an already complicated situation.
I hate the fact that even the simple things are hard. It is so exhausting and relentless. These are the moments that you find yourself needing to rely on God and his strength the most.
Friday, November 12, 2010
As many of you know this is our first holiday season without our son George since his return to heaven on Jan 29th of this year. We have been racking our brain as to how to make it as positive as possible. I have finally come up with two projects for our family to do but am in need of your help to make these come to fruition. As his family we want to find a way to include him in the holidays even though he will be celebrating them in heaven.
Thanksgiving Project-Giving Thanks Chain
We are asking friends and family to send us a 1 inch X 9 inch piece of fabric decorated (please leave 1/2 inch on each end undecorated). Please make sure your name is on it somewhere!
Any fabric that is not stiff enough to hold shape will be dipped in fabric hardener but we want to make it fabric so it can be used over and over again.
We would like you to either add/symbolize a memory of George or a way he has touched your life.
If you have a child in heaven we would gladly add a link with your child's name and information in their memory.
Should you find you want to participate but do not have time to create and mail this to us please email me the information you would like added to our Giving Thanks Chain.
The strips will be sewn together in a chain to be used during the holiday season as a reminder of our connection/support and how he had touched/is changing the lives of others. We will work with the boys during Thanksgiving Day to create this special chain and plan to use it every year.
Christmas Project-Deck The Halls
For this project we are asking that people send us an ornament or a holiday decoration to be added to our home and bring the spirit of the holidays. Handmade ornaments/decorations are welcome! Please put your name/family name and the year on them somewhere) We plan to wrap them all and place them under his tree so he gets gifts for the holiday too. His brothers will be allowed to open the gifts on Christmas and decorate for their brother. We will keep all ornaments/decorations and use them to decorate our home each year.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need our address or want to just send me your information to be added...place Remembering George in subject line.
Anyone can participate, please share with others who knew our little monkey!
God Bless and Happy Holidays from our family to yours!
The Garman Family
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Today George would have been 14 months old. Even though every day is hard, days that mark certain things like the 9th and the 29th for us are always hard since they are the reminders of the fact that he was here and filled our lives with such joy where now sadness and pain have permanently found a place. Anyone who says you get over this sort of thing has never experienced this and is completely wrong. It is like loosing a limb to your body...you will never have it back and you can try to put things in its place but it is only temporary and does not work exactly like it did before.
Yesterday after I updated this page, I fell back asleep. For the second time since he died, I had a dream about him. This time I had come upstairs and he was sitting on the floor in Richard's lap playing. As soon as he saw me, he just lit up and smiled like he always did when I would come in the room. I miss that smile so much. Above is a picture of that smile that just melted your heart and that I miss every single day of my life and look forward to for eternity. In my dream he looked just like these pictures of him that I have from some of his first smiles...ones I will never forget.
I knew in the dream that he was supposed to have died. I looked at Richard and kept saying he is dead, he isn't suppose to be here. Then I thought, maybe they made a mistake and I had been given my miracle...these were only brief instances. Sadly I realized it was just a dream as in my dream I went to the mantle where his ashes were and they were still there. I walked over to the two boys and picked up my little boy. I held him and hugged him wishing that I never had to wake up and leave that moment. It was like he was alive again in my arms where he belongs. I kissed him over and over again and just held him like I used to do where he nestled his head under my chin.
These sorts of things really would make me sad before. Now I know they are really the only moments I will ever have with my little boy ever again until I am with him again. I cherish the moments I am given in these dreams. They only come sparingly although I would love to have them all the time and often wish they would replace the really bad ones that come more frequently. I would give anything to get rid of the bad ones but know it just makes me appreciate the good ones even more. There is a feeling of peace that I get after a dream like this that I just cannot explain and I do not get from any other dream. I used to think people were crazy and that the bible was just exaggerating how God can work through dreams until I have had these two.
For now I have to remain on the path set before me and do my job as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and so on. God has placed me here to do his will and not mine no matter how difficult that really is. Life does not stop even if we want it to. Hugh and I started talking about how hard it is to not understand all the bad stuff and how neither one of us has any animosity and have never been mad at God but rather the situation and the fact that we don't understand why in the world bad stuff just keeps happening to us over and over again. People say it makes you stronger and although that may be true, I often times think it is to also prove to others that anything is possible and see God still working through tragedy in people's lives and teach what faith is really all about.
Faith is about putting it in God's hands not only during the good but also the bad and truly doing what it is that he asks you to do and rely on him completely and turn to him for comfort and strength rather than carrying that cross yourself. When you need it the most, he will place people in your life to help you through and could be strangers. I find it ironic how when Christ was carrying his cross through the town, it was not a family member that helped him to carry it, it was a complete stranger. There is something to be said for this when you have lost a loved one and find strength and comfort in people you may not even know like so many people do now especially with technology allowing you to connect with others all over the world. God knows our family is burdened themselves as they watch us walk this path and honestly could not carry the cross for us even if they wanted to. People talk about angels among us and I believe that often times it is God placing people in our lives when we need them the most and even though he is not parting the seas he is still preforming works in our lives. I believe that it is moments like these where we can see God's work, the kindness of the stranger and that it isn't always a bad thing to turn to someone else for comfort.
Today is just one day closer to my own taste of eternal life where I will again be with my son and all my loved ones who have already departed this earth. For now I will hold on to my faith and continue to do what I am called to do and trust God with it all even if it is hard and seems impossible to do at times.
Monday, November 8, 2010
After the service we went to the hall downstairs where they showed pictures from their recent trip to Ecuador where George's baby clothes went. As I sat there in this room full of people, they showed a picture of our deacon with all the luggage that they took with them. You could not see any of his things in it but somehow I was struck by the picture just knowing his things where there. Some part of me was very proud and another was very sad. We saw pictures of the landscape and the housing and things that they all live in down there. I knew then that we did the right thing no matter how hard it really was for us. They are so poor down there living in shacks and I know that he was blessing these people in his passing even if they had no idea where any of it came from or how much meaning those items had to a family miles away.
The presentation was long and many of the kids had gone outside to play and wait for their parent. I was sitting in a chair facing the windows that looked outside and all of a sudden I saw Richard walking with a man who had just lost his wife. I sang at the funeral for his wife so I knew who he was, he has a lot of problems and our family had actually taken food over to his house the day of George's funeral to help them out. When I saw them together and their location, I knew they had been sitting in the memorial garden(I could not see the garden from where I was sitting. The gentleman went on his was as Richard stood by him walking down the sidewalk until they got to the point where Richard was no longer allowed to venture passed. I again turned my attention back to the presentation.
A short while later, I saw a bunch of the kids from the church running around picking flowers that had not yet been harmed by the cold weather. They were all Richard's age so I know they are in his Sunday school group. One by one they returned with their find to the location of the memorial garden. Right then I knew what was happening...they were putting flowers on our little monkey's grave sight and that of many who have gone before him and after him. For a moment it took my breath away even though I could not see what they were doing, I knew exactly what was happening. The show was over and we gathered ourselves to leave. As we left I found Richard on the ground where his brother's grave is and that of the woman who had recently died.
We called for Richard to come with us and had to do it several times. As we walked passed we could see the floral memorial that the kids had created and I watched as Richard picked himself up from the ground where he had just been lying next to his brother. For me returning to his grave there really has not brought me much peace. It doesn't feel to me as if he is there and nor to I get some sense of peace like I thought I would. Part of me feels like it is because his name has not yet been added to the memorial plaque so it is as if it isn't real. They are suppose to be putting it on but have not done that thus far, I check every time that we walk by it hoping to see his name but knowing it is likely not there yet. I know now how may parents who opt for burial feel as they wait for their child's headstone to come in. Somehow it validates it all and makes it real...for now it just seems as if he isn't there and that this whole thing is just a bad dream.
We left church and got the younger boys from my mom's house but I could not shake the images that I had witnessed at church. I turned on my christian cd and listened to the song "homesick" and that is exactly how I felt. It all brought me to the readings from the morning and one particular passage where Jesus was saying to non believers that death does not happen in his eyes for those who die always live to him even when their bodies are gone. What a profoundly strong passage and it just rang through my head and maybe it isn't my son's name on the plaque that will give me peace, I think I just know that he isn't there or here for that matter, I know he is in heaven and has eternal life. I have always said I feel a peace about his leaving even though for me the pain remains and always will until the day I join him again.
There have been many instances where others have said they saw something profound and they knew that George was there. Never have I in my life felt that way about anyone who has died. I know often times it is a way that others cope of find some sort of peace but for me I have never had that. My son is gone and in heaven, not here, not an angel(God chose his angels way before the world was made, that isn't to say there isn't one with him watching him but he himself is not one), not leaving messages, or any other sort of thing that often people use to cope. I knew he was gone the moment I saw him in the funeral home...gone until I am with him in heaven again someday. The last time I know I felt his presence was in a dream just a few days after he died where I know God gave me my chance to say goodbye to him and I just held him knowing he was gone and this was my gift from God letting me say goodbye since I had not been able to while he was alive. The times I see something like a butterfly or dragonfly and think of him, I feel is more God's way of letting me know he is with me and thinking of me walking me through this journey he has placed in front of me.
At one point I stood in the kitchen crying as Hugh just hugged me and I sobbed missing my little boy. His mom came in and I had to pull it together again and randomly found it almost impossible to do so and not just fall apart. We had taken her out shopping with us since we had no plans to stay home because we needed to get the boys a coat since they outgrew the ones from last year or the zipper was broken. I really did not feel like going out or having company for that matter with the way I was feeling but had no choice in the matter since the boys needed a coat in this cold weather and are already coming down with colds that they are on breathing treatments for. The more I tried to put on that happy face the sadder I got and the more my heart hurt and I was so grateful to return home and went downstairs to be by myself as she stayed and visited with Hugh and the boys. I think she may have been a little upset that I was not there to talk to or entertain her but I just couldn't do it anymore and had to just get away before I lost it completely.
While I was sitting there in my room I picked up the bible and turned to Job where I often find inspiration. I have never really read it word for word, but knew the general idea or had only read certain passages not the entire book. Everyone always talks about how Job kept his faith through all the tragedy in his life. One thing that they never mention is that even though he does not turn from God he cursed the day he himself was born. He asks why would he not be spared from the pain and how he awaited death and actually wished it rather than feel the pain he was in. He asks why he is alive and feeling this even though he never turns from God and how with all his being he wants nothing more than to be put out of his misery. Wow, all I can say is I know his feelings of knowing you have to go on but not understanding why and wishing the pain would just end even if it means death here on Earth. This of course does not mean you are suicidal it is just that you want to find an end to the horrible pain you are feeling and obstacles you are asked to bear even if they are God's will...you respect God and love him but don't always understand or want to carry the cross he has given to each of us. You know in your heart that you have no choice and you will do whatever it is He asks of you but that does not mean you have to like it.
The other obstacle that I have had lately is nothing new to me or any other parent who has lost their child in this manner. So much of that what if stuff has moment's of its own even though you know logically that you cannot change a thing and that you did all you could. Another mom, in Texas that I am friends with on Facebook, and I have been going through a lot of this lately. Some part of us feels as if we let our child down or could have done more to save them. I remember just apologizing to my little boy as I held his cold little body telling him I was so sorry I did not save him...I even had said that to Hugh on occasion. Somehow as his mom I felt like it was my responsibility, I was the one who should have been able to do it. It is like you failed them in some way. Had I only gone in his room that morning when I got up would he still be alive? Had I done pediatric CPR initially rather than adult, would he be alive? Had I not just said he was already dead and had more faith would he be here? Had I just picked up the phone myself and called 911 myself would he be alive? These are not mistakes you can fix after the person is dead so you are left with these feelings and having to find a way to live with these things. Logically you know better and you tell yourself that you did all you could but trying to tell your heart what your head knows is sometimes an impossible feat.
I wish that I could change it but know I can't. I wish that I did not have to watch my son lay on the cold ground where his little brother's remains are. I wish I did not have to talk myself into finding a way to live every day without my baby. I wish I didn't have to have the terrible memories and feelings every day of my life. In the end though, all I can do is wish and keep pushing forward every day just asking God to be with me and help me to live this life I am given even if I don't like it or it is not what I expected for myself or is harder than I ever thought it would be. It doesn't mean that I question him or what his plans are but it does mean that I can be lost and not understand or wish for this to not be the way it is. My pain is real and I am allowed to feel it even if there are others in worse situations or who have had bigger trails in their lives. We are the apple of God's eye but also allowed to rest in the shelter of his wings when the world around us feels as if it is spinning out of control...they say he brings rest to the weary but they don't say it happens right away!
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!
We Finally have footage from the service up and running:
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!