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, November 20, 2010

Father, Son, Holy Spirit

Last night I found myself having a hard time sleeping and eventually just cried myself to sleep. It was another one of those moments not expected that took me completely off guard. Michael was sleeping. He had fallen asleep on the couch waiting for Hugh to get home. He was all wrapped up in his blanket looking like a little angel. Hugh got home and moved him to his bed and I went downstairs to try and sleep myself. For whatever reason I just couldn't.

I went back upstairs to get something to drink and go to the bathroom for the millionth time. Michael toddled out groggy with his blanket in toe while I was downstairs and curled up on the other couch again to be close to his daddy. As I walked by him he said "I love you" I told him I loved him too and as I returned passed him back on my way downstairs, I walked over remembering I had forgotten my nightly ritual with him.

Suddenly, I was transported back in my mind to the night before George died. The flashes of my memory brought me to when I picked him up and played with him. Finally it was time for him to go to bed. Little did I know that would be the last time I would ever tuck my little boy into bed. He propped himself up on his hands looking at me with those big blue eyes and pouty face as I laid him in his crib. I walked over to his radio and played his favorite music CD. I can still hear it playing in my mind "Go to sleep, Go to sleep, Go to sleep my little baby, Go to sleep my little baby" The song played as I turned out the light.

I walked to the door ready to leave when I stopped in my tracks. By then he had known it was bed time and had put his head down and started to suck his thumb like always. If only I had known that was my last night with him I would have sat there and held him all night long rocking him in his rocking chair with his little head on my chest listening to that cd over and over again until God called him home. However, that was not how it was meant to be. I had remembered I forgot my ritual with all the boys and made my way back to his bed.

I looked at that beautiful gift from God and thanked God for him and stroked his blond soft hair while he continued to suck on his thumb. I kissed my fingers and placed the sign of the cross on his forehead as I did almost every night and do with the boys. As always I repeated "Father, Son, Holy Spirit...Angels watch over you!" His blue eyes looked at me one more time with such love, I stroked his head one more time, and he closed his eyes as I turned and left the room. Never did I ever know that would be the very last time I ever saw those eyes again.

I remember as I had initially gone to leave the room I was going to forgo the traditional ritual that night. Something in me made me go back. I remember thinking, I had to do it because if he didn't wake in the morning I would never forgive myself. God I never thought it would really happen. Until now I really had not thought much about that ritual or how I had felt that night and what I would not give to have that night back. Every part of me wished I had known he was leaving and as hard as it would have been to hold him and watch him leave, I would do it in a heartbeat to know that he was not alone during those moments. It hurts so bad to know he was alone. I felt like I was there to bring him into the world, why if he had to leave before me could I not have been there when he left. Instead I was downstairs working, something I will forever regret dispite all logic.

I miss him so much and my heart just breaks during moments like these. You are just never prepared for them or what may trigger them. They come out of the blue. I was actually doing well all day. I had found a few really awesome deals on things for Gabrielle. Just as I had posted about the items and things we still needed to get, I felt overwhelmed knowing the cost of the mattress alone. It was a particular one that I knew I needed for peace of mind with her but it was $300. I knew emotionally I could not settle for a different one so I was going to wait until we had the money to get it. Something had me go to my registry to look at the reusable diapers where I noticed the mattress was half of the cost! I double checked it on another page to see if somehow it was a different model or something but it wasn't and all the other products made by this company were also on sale. I checked our bank account and Hugh finally had a paycheck deposited for the first time in almost two months. It was so nice to see the account past $50. I asked Hugh what he thought we should do and we both decided we needed to purchase this while it was on sale because every other web page still had it listed at full price and she needed this.

Knowing we had been fortunate enough to be able to get it at this cost set me up for a good mood the rest of the day even though Hugh had to work. I often find myself getting sad when he is gone from being overwhelmed by the kids at times when they go haywire and being pregnant makes it hard for me to move around and do what I normally would do with them. When they aren't here the silence is usually too much and I feel so very lost and count down the minutes until he comes home. The silence is just a sad reminder that my baby is gone because he would be here doing all that toddler stuff that keeps you on your toes. I hope that the silence won't bring this sort of feeling in the future or anxiety for that matter once Gabrielle is here. Hugh works again almost all day but thankfully has off tomorrow and we all plan to attend church for the first time all together as a family, something I think we all need and have not done in quite some time...probably since George's funeral.

Friday, November 19, 2010


We had a visit yesterday by the teenage mom who took George's things and her grandmother who has become part of our family over the years. I cannot tell you how nice it was to see them and spend some time with them and get to know the baby a little bit. She is juts absolutely beautiful! It does hit home that we will soon have a little angel ourselves in just a few weeks! I have no idea where the time has gone and it still doesn't seem real to me in some aspects.

I made sure that Hugh was here when they came to visit since I know they were bringing the baby. For a man who never grew up with children, babies are surely his specialty. He sat there with her and was completely in his element. Just watching him with her reminded me of how he used to sit with George and all the boys and had such patience and loved them so much. He rubbed her head and this big teddy bear of a man looked so odd with this tiny little china doll like baby in his arms where she fell asleep. I have a feeling Gabrielle is going to be a daddy's girl and hard for me to wrestle from him:o)

They told us how she loved the swing that was George's and the other items we had given to them. Every time they take them out they think of him and pray for us all. It is such a blessing to know that these things have just as much meaning to them as they did to us and to know that another baby is getting use from them. I find some sort of peace that I cannot explain knowing that he is still touching others in this way and remembered by others in this capacity. As hard as it was to give these items away I know that God is blessing this family though our loss and teaching so many life lessons to so many people and I can't think of a greater purpose to life than to be doing God's work even if it is in such a difficult capacity.

I am hoping that in the next week or so I can get the 10% off coupon to come in from the places we registered for baby items so I can take some of the little money we do have and get the things we will need for her when she comes home. We can wait on a mattress for her bed if we have to and several of the other big items that we gave away until she is older and we hopefully have more money. There are certain items that need to be bought new and not used for safety reasons so we will work on those a little at a time.

I'm planning on using cloth diapers this time around to avoid a lot of the chemicals and things that are in the traditional diapers. It isn't that I won't use the standard ones but I would like to cut back on them especially while she is younger. They have a lot of alternatives out there now that many people are recognizing the environmental/medical impact of the traditional disposables. I do have 3 or 4 of the covers but have got to get the inserts. Although the company sells their own inserts, I can still use the old style ones and have found many people have more success with those. We will see how it all goes but will surely purchase a few boxes of disposables to have on hand for convenience and emergencies. I always think of my grandmother whenever I think of doing cloth diapers, she always talked about how things have changed and after 10 kids and doing the cloth thing she was taken back by the technology of disposables...I know she is smiling up there in heaven whenever I think about this.

I'm trying to make the boys part of it as much as possible. They always thought the baby shower part of it all was so awesome and they are so infatuated with parties. We have not had many people opt to purchase anything although many had inquired and was the reason to create them. My thought of them getting mail is not exactly working the way I had hoped so I am thinking I will let each one choose something from her registry that we will buy for them to give to her. The thought of taking them into the baby store especially this time of year is just overwhelming...I have a hard enough time making it through there myself without wanting to get things or becoming emotionally overwhelmed by it all. It isn't as bad as it was in the beginning and is actually becoming more exciting now that we are only a few weeks out but there is still a lot that goes with it all. I also feel like a foreigner going into the girl section, not really knowing what to make of it all and being so used to the boys and their limited selections.

The closer her arrival gets the more anxiety I seem to get although it does not seem any more real...such a weird feeling. I don't think it will hit me until I hear her cry or hold her in my arms for the first time. Some part of me is still waiting for it all to fall out and something happen. Once she is here I don't think the anxiety will go away but I'm doing what I can to minimize it for us all. Just thinking about it all is so overwhelming and emotional...all I can think of is the day I went into labor with George and his birth...his cry still rings so loud in my head, something you just never forget.

I keep praying I do not get the one doctor that I do not particularly care for because I know I am not making it to the day they scheduled me for. The thought of him being the one to deliver her is really weighing heavy on me. We are also looking at trying to find a way to bank her cord blood for medical reasons but it is quite expensive costing around 1700 dollars with a repeat banking discount! For our family the docs said it is imperative but when you have no money there is really no way to do it and that alone brings me quite a bit of anxiety. Will I regret it later on in life that I didn't do it? They now don't even allow donation so it will all just be thrown away and I have such a hard time with that and don't know why. What if she needs it someday or it could benefit her brothers? I just really don't know what the future hold but I guess this is where I have to put my faith in God and truly trust him.

As the holidays draw closer and Gabrielle's arrival turns into weeks and not months, emotions are running higher than normal and I have to say I rely on God almost every single second of the day to make it through without loosing my mind. I try to keep busy with the kids but with Hugh working all sorts of crazy hours it is quite hard especially in the hours that he is working and the boys are not here or sleeping. I am hoping to get to the store in the next day or so to grab some fabric hardener to begin work on our holiday link project in hopes it will keep my mind busy. With Hugh's truck broken down and the kids being off of school it makes it a little hard to do it. Walmart used to carry it but since their remodel I will have to actually go to a craft store for it. One step at a time with God holding my hand so he can pick me up when I stumble or begin to loose footing...the mental image of that is just so very profound to me and helps me to know I am not alone.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Michael's Turn

This was written the other day and I forgot to actually post it but saved it.

Well today was Michael's turn to make me realize he still does not understand it all. We were going with my mom to Walmart. He had made this picture of himself describing that his hair and eyes were brown. We were talking about it and he said he doesn't like his brown eyes and likes blue better. He then proceeded to ask us who gave him the brown eyes. We told him God gave them to him.

Promptly he state he was not going to heaven. I know he associates God with heaven at least. We told him not now as he continued to rationalize heaven and coming and going to heaven. With that he said that Georgie was in heaven but that when he is all fixed he will come back. He then told us that the doctors would fix him and give him back. I've come to realize you cannot rationalize with a child that age. He surely doesn't grasp death and this just confirmed that and the notion that he still carries that George will come back someday. It just broke my heart as I just sat there helpless not knowing what else to say to this little boy and tears just rolled down my face. I knew if I said anything else I would loose it completely and found it difficult during our shopping experience to keep my composure as the conversation just ran through my head.

Last night I finally took our sock basket and matched all the ones that were mismatched or missing a pair, something I hate to do. Mixed in there were George's socks. I would find them randomly and just throw them in the basket. Finally I took the time and matched them and added them to a bag of clothes that we will send to Camden for the homeless. It is so sad to have to go through things and constantly have those little reminders. I also found the hat that they put on his head the moment he was born and one of the little mittens that we put on his hands the day he came home. I placed those in the drawer next to my bed not really knowing what to do with them but not wanting to get rid of them.

Teachers conferences are coming up for the boys. I am really not looking forward to them this year at all. With all that has gone one none of them have really had it together except maybe Michael. I had emailed Josh's teacher the other day about the incident where he broke down after Hugh called about the truck. She responded by saying she noticed he had his shirt on with the picture of George on it and maybe it would be a good idea to put things like that away. Umm..I don't think that will work nor do I think it is a good idea. We are not here at home pining away and being depressed where all we do are things to idolize or remember George. Hugh was taken back by the response enough to comment on it too saying that we think she just doesn't get it. I really don't want to sit there and have to listen to someone tell me that the kids are having trouble in this area or that and I already know and also know it is definitely related to all they have been through. Often times they feel as if you are using it as an excuse when in fact that is not the case and rather this is our life and they just don't understand how difficult it really is.

I wish more people really did understand. It is hard enough to find the energy and stamina to live a life like this and to add in the garbage from others who don't understand just makes it even worse. You get to the point where you just stop trying to explain and smile and chalk it up to ignorance on their part being as they have not obviously dealt with it ever in their lives. I find it odd that there is like an underworld of people who have lost core members of their families who have to suffer in silence or depend on others who have walked the road while the rest of society lives in their bubble that it is all peachy!

Monday, November 15, 2010


This morning I came to a realization as to why Joshua is having such a hard time. I knew it was definitely related to George's death and his fear that people who leave don't come back. The panic attack he had yesterday was just like the one he had the morning that Michael had an allergic reaction and we had to take him to the ER. He has just been so full of tears and lost since Hugh returned to work and I expected it but not to this extent. It had been bothering me as to why this was happening in such a huge capacity to him specifically when the other two have their moments but just not like Joshua has them.

I finally realized he never got the chance to say goodbye to his little brother! It hit me like a brick wall...we never took him to see George after he died. He has no concept of death because he never saw someone dead. We were all so worried about Richard and his coping without even thinking of how it was affecting Joshua or Michael for that matter. Michael was not impacted the same way but Joshua was and I feel will remember it for the rest of his life. There was a show I watched called under cover boss where the man had lost his sister at Joshua's age. He said how to that very day he remembered the day his sister died vividly all the way down to the smells that filled the air. Now I wonder what it is that he really does remember.

He was here from the moment it all began and saw all the chaos and bad things happening to his little brother. My heart just breaks to think about this. Never once did we think to take him to the hospital or to the funeral home before he was cremated. We didn't give him the option to choose we just didn't even think about it at all. He just knows his brother was alive one moment and not there the next with no explanation at all.

We were so wrapped up in our own grief and making plans we never did realize that it may have had a huge impact on them because they never did express anything but I did not realize it was because they didn't understand. What does the word died mean to a 3 and 5 year old? It means absolutely nothing. We were so concerned about the adults and Richard that no one even thought twice about the little boys who at the time were just happy to have all those people around. Now there is no one around and they are left with just this emptiness they don't understand or know how to explain and have no control over any of it.

I think back to that day and how it was such a crazy day of events from beginning to end. Joshua and Michael were both there hugging each other on the couch as they cried "Georgie is dead!" The police officer that first responded screamed at me to get them out of the room when he took over CPR. I couldn't leave George and stood there with the two of them hugging me as I tried to take them to their room. My brother came in and took them into their bedroom as we tried to gather ourselves and left those two scared little boys there while we went to the hospital. I remember them pronouncing him and asking us who we wanted them to call and I thought of all the adults. They asked me if we wanted Richard to come up but no one ever asked about the two little boys and I didn't even think of them other than the hour or so after we had said goodbye and left the hospital thinking how staying with George wasn't going to bring him back and the other two were at home and I needed to be with them.

The days following we were at my mom's during the day. Hugh stayed with the boys at my mom's while I returned home to spend time alone trying to figure out what had just happened to my life and how to cope myself. I would return in the morning and did all the things I was suppose to do and asked the teachers to keep their eyes on them at school. When I went to Josh's school to work on Michael's transition to school the whole staff was upset and I remember them telling me how they had a hard time dealing with Josh's verbalization about George dying. His teacher was so upset saying that in the middle of playing, he just looked up at her and said "Georgie is dead" and then returned to playing...she was at a total loss as to what to do for this little boy who just repeated words he did not understand the phrase he was even saying.

I sit here now wishing I had thought about this at the time, knowing I cannot change any of it at all. Instead we are left with this confused little boy with pain in his heart that he doesn't understand. My heart just breaks. I cannot imagine what he went through and what he remembers and how he feels every day. Someday there will come a time when I know he will understand it all but for now nothing changes and I am left with these two little boys who will have to live with a pain and fear that I cannot fix.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Josh Missing His Little Brother

These are pictures that my dad took of Josh last night hugging a monkey and falling asleep with him in his arms. The bottom pic he really is sleeping although his one eye looks partially open. For some reason this is the norm for him with that right eye, it doesn't usually shut all the way even if he is sleeping. The pic above, my mom had actually shut his eye for him...the one eye partially open reminds me of my grandmother who had lost her eye to cancer and had always slept with it partially open after she fell asleep. He really misses his little brother a lot!

God Speaking To You

Did you ever have a moment when you knew God was speaking to you in some way? I actually get them often. Today however, the moment was in church again. It was one of those days I did not want to get up and drag myself to church after feeling so run down. Hugh didn't have to be at work until 3pm so I was all for just staying home. Something in me got up anyway and headed to church with Hugh and Richard.

The readings were meant for me to hear. The first one spoke about God's initial plan for the earth and people. He had made it all beautiful and with no need or want. Somewhere in all of it that plan got turned upside down. It didn't go how he had planned it. He had to change his direction and plans unexpectedly and was surely not happy about it. It hit me all of a sudden to realize that he too didn't have things go the way he had planned either. The things that he wanted for his children did not come to fruition and he had to find a new way to live with what he had been given.

The second part was about working. It spoke of working to be in God's kingdom. For me, when I think of work, I don't think of it necessarily as a good thing. Work requires so much of us to complete the task set forth before us. Work takes from play, not always something that we really want to do. Work can often times seem daunting and I am sure each of us could find something we would prefer to do. It spoke of how if you work that is when you will earn your soul. For whatever reason, that just touched me on a deep level. I think of the person I was years ago when I was naive to the world. My first eye opening experience happened to be with the FBI bursting my bubble that life as I knew it was not so but opened my eyes to many things, especially my own self worth. Then we were given children with special needs and every day they require more work than we ever anticipated and yet would not give up because the reward is so great. George died and we have faced even more challenges and yet I would not give up this pain to not know him and be his mother.

Each of these obstacles have brought about an immense amount of work and yet I would not change any of them if given the chance. I look at the person I am now compared to the person I was then and am so proud of myself and the "work" that it has taken to get here. Every day I am earning my soul and the very spirit that defines me. I know I am a good person and all of this work is God's way to make me the person he plans for me to be. This sort of work is not anything like the type of work I typically associate with the word and I am proud to be called to do this sort of work because it helps me to grow and flourish as an individual and be able to help and allow God to do his work through me. I often times forget that living life is often much like raising children...there are moments that you want to pull your hair out and tons that you could never anticipate yet the reward is great and you would not trade it for anything.

I often times feel that God does this to strengthen our relationship with him. Any relationship that is one sided is always doomed to fail on some level. If you have a one sided marriage where one person is putting in most of the effort to make it work, it is usually doomed to end. You cannot force someone to love you and giving them everything won't make the situation any better. By not expecting anything from them you are doing yourself and that person a hug disservice. I guess that if that were our relationship with God(and for many people it is) than we never get to know him the way that I have come to know him and trust him. I never understood why he was referred to as our husband or any other sort of life based relationship status until now. I think of my husband and how we have seen trial after trial and somehow keep it together forging through with everything we have. Individually we could not do it and we depend on one another more than I ever thought I would depend on anyone in my life. I think that is ultimately what God wants with each of us but like in any good relationship, it takes work.

Today, we were faced with yet another challenge. Hugh was on his way to Sears and was dropping off a script for Richard's medication and his truck would not start. We could not get it started so it had to be towed back home until we can afford to get it looked at and fixed. I could see in his face the wear and tear that things have truly taken on him. Tomorrow will be a year since his father died and brings into perspective the many challenges we have faced these past few years. This just really added to the pile of stuff yet again and I could just see it in his face. I stood there in the parking lot of the CVS as the truck was placed on the bed and hugged him telling him that it would all be ok and even though he was overwhelmed you could see just me being there and able to hug him took off some of the edge of it as he knew I was there for him knowing his pain and walking this path. We stood there just hugging one another and before we would have both been basket cases but this time stood there knowing we can't fix it right now and in the grand scheme of it the whole thing is minimal.

The whole thing however did bring about some serious realizations of what Joshua is dealing with. I know I have mentioned his comments about his brother being dead and his complete lack of understanding death. Josh happened to be with my mom and I when Hugh called giving me the news. The poor kid just started to freak out and cried hysterically as we tried to calm him down telling him that daddy was fine it was the truck that was broken. He has really been an emotional basket case lately and unfortunately is not old enough to really express himself. There is no denying that he was surely traumatized being here the morning that George died yet due to many factors just cannot express himself and now carries all sorts of emotional outbursts especially where family members are concerned. Once he is settled in with the new insurance after Gabrielle is born, I am going to have to get him into some sort of play or music therapy since I do not feel he will benefit from traditional therapy because of his mentality. Every single time I see him do this, it breaks my heart to know I cannot do anything to take this pain and upset from him. It also makes me realize how others feel when dealing with Hugh and I...there is nothing anyone can do to take away the pain and it is such a helpless feeling.

On an up note, I did receive some pieces of fabric for our chain and ornaments for George's tree today. Some people from our church got together and began the process. I did not really anticipate getting many to be honest but today was handed a bag with the names of individuals and families. Richard handed them to me and said Bonnie a woman from the church had handed them to him. I was quite touched and it took all I had to just not start to cry right there. There have been several people from our church who have truly gone out of their way for our family on numerous occasions and do not pass judgment and try to be there for us whenever they possibly can. They truly have no idea what this means to us. I'm going to find some small boxes to wrap the ornaments in for George's tree in the next couple of days and add them to the two I had purchased while in Disney. Please keep sending them if you want to participate, it truly shows the boys how very much people care and will have so much meaning to us all this year and in the years to come.

I ask that tomorrow you please think of Hugh, his mother, and his two siblings as they mark the 1 year mark of his father's passing. Even though he was not what most would consider a good person, he was still a child of God and I do believe that he found his peace at the end of his life although he lived a very lost and difficult life. We don't know if he truly found his way to God's arms but we pray that he did even if it was in the last moments of his life. I will never forget that day and how I had known just a few days before that he was going to be gone very soon. Hugh sat by his father's bed and I am thankful that he did leave prior to him dying but having been given the chance to make his peace and say goodbye. Those moments seemed like ages ago but also like yesterday. There are still some issues with closure since there was no service or official goodbye to him so I know this will be difficult for many reasons. I am thankful that Hugh has off of work tomorrow and we can spend the day together since it will be filled with many mixed emotions.

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