George's Guardian's of Grace Projects
Friday, December 24, 2010
Written Christmas Eve:
I am sitting here in our quite house. Hugh and the boys are all at my mom's as they usually are on Christmas, I just couldn't do it and really just needed time to myself. We have had nothing but drama this year and I think all of it finally caught up to me. Today I felt as if I was hit by a brick wall and a garbage truck all at once both physically and emotionally. The year of hell just finally caught up to me at of course the most inopportune time. However, I had a lot of understanding and emotional epiphanies come my way through all of this that I would like to share for those who have never lost a child and struggle to understand and for those who have to know they are not alone.
As I sat in our van on the way to church I just started crying and then wondered why was it that this was so hard? I pondered that most of the night as I could not erase the horrible images from my mind of the day George left us. For whatever reason I kept flashing back to the day we were in the hospital and they handed his lifeless body to me. He was wrapped in this blue blanked made by a stranger with much love a long time before never knowing it would be the last thing as his mother I would ever wrap him in again. It then made me think of the day he was born and how very similar but different those emotions are. I just kept wondering was this really my life and has it really come to this? How do I live this life without him in it?
As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, etc I was always the one making things work and now just don't have it in me to do that anymore. Part of me feels some insane responsibility for others and their happiness. I often times bury my feelings in the things I do never really letting the pain in because it is too much to handle at one time. I often think that is why I feel a need to be alone. On some level I know I can just be myself and not have to play a part and can find comfort and peace without the many distractions of my day to day life. For several days following George's death I did this where I came home to sleep and the kids and Hugh stayed at my mom's. It is such a huge relief to not feel like I have to hold it together for someone or a particular reason, I can just be me and cry or sleep, or do whatever I need to do to get through it all. I don't like to be emotional around other people and finds to be very comforting.
Often times I find that I do not feel guilty when I am alone. So often I feel like a stranger in a room full of familiar faces. I hold it together long enough to survive what I need to and than know my limits and have to leave before the flood gates open and I loose it. The pain is so great and I just don't know how to carry it sometimes but keep trying to find a way to do it just for the rest of the family.
Came here Christmas Day to try and write unsuccessfully...couldn't even write Merry Christmas because it was so very far from that for me, I walked most of the day in a daze praying to just make it through without loosing my mind.
The day after Christmas:
I survived yet again but guess I really don't have much of a choice when it all happens. The holiday was definitely worse than I ever anticipated it to be. I held it together for the boys and everyone else even though every single fiber of my being kept returning to think how bad I felt that George was not here. Faith or no faith nothing can ever prepare you for this sort of thing. You try to hold back tears time and time again. I can't tell you how many times I had to do that and felt that any moment I was going to have to give in and just cry or leave. Finally I got Hugh to go home and once at home just started crying inconsolably. My heart just hurt so bad and words don't even do it justice.
My younger sister came to my house just as she had a year ago and we sat in his room and cried just like we did a year ago. This time it was for my baby not hers. Could it really be that he was alive a year ago and now in an instant was gone with no warning or any answers? How am I suppose to live the rest of my life with this pain and never know again what it is like to hold him or kiss him as I forget what he looked like, sounded like, or smelled like? I don't expect answers and I know the answer is to just have faith and to keep pushing forward but there are days where often times it seems so impossible and unfair. Why do we have to be tested like this? I don't get it. Together we both just cried knowing that there was no way to change any of it and that there is nothing that anyone can do or say to make it better.
The kids and Hugh all seemed to truly enjoy themselves this holiday, as much as possible. For that I am grateful. They all happened to be blessed enough to have gifts to open due to the kindness of others and were excited and things for them were as "normal" as possible. Every part of me didn't want to do things the way we used to however I couldn't take that from them. We still went to church(I cried the whole way there and stopped the tears several times during service), they all spent the night at my mom's(I had to go home but returned in the AM for gifts), I went home to finish cooking(held back tears several times), returned to my mom's where they all got to do the traditional family gift exchange(I talked to my friend from Germany who always calls on the holiday and who wanted to let me know she was thinking of me, had to leave the room several times to not cry, and finally needed to go home).
A good part of the past few days I thought of and prayed for all of the parents knowing my pain all to well. So many people walk this path with me every single day. They too ache and hurt beyond explanation and my heart just breaks for them all. I know their pain all to well and no one should ever have to know it. Please keep us all in your prayers. The next few weeks are going to be difficult. We will begin planning Gabrielle's baptism/George's memorial day on January 29th. We finally asked people to be her god parents and are quite happy with our choices and look forward to sharing God's love with her as she gets older. The day will come with its own set of emotions however I can't think of a better way to spend the day.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
I see the countless CHRISTMAS TREES around the world below
with tiny lights like HEAVEN’S STARS reflecting on the snow.
The sight is so SPECTACULAR please wipe away that tear
for I am spending CHRISTMAS WITH JESUS CHRIST this year.
I hear the many CHRISTMAS SONGS that people hold so dear
but the SOUND OF MUSIC can't compare with the CHRISTMAS CHOIR up here.
I have no words to tell you of the JOY their voices bring
for it is beyond description to HEAR THE ANGELS SING.
I know HOW MUCH YOU MISS ME, I see the pain inside your heart
for I am spending CHRISTMAS WITH JESUS CHRIST this year.
I can't tell you of the SPLENDOR or the PEACE here in this place
Can you just imagine CHRISTMAS WITH OUR SAVIOR face to face
I'll ask him to LIFT YOUR SPIRIT as I tell him of your love
so then PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER as you lift your eyes above.
Please let your HEARTS BE JOYFUL and let your SPIRIT SING
for I am spending CHRISTMAS IN HEAVEN and I’m walking WITH THE KING.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
The other day she had her doc appt and the doc said that her head circumference was not plotting and that she was concerned about it. This is a doc from the practice that we will be leaving in the new year and George's old pediatricians office. We have decided to move the boys to a single practice physicians office for our own peace of mind. We had happened to have an appt with the new doctor for the kids since Richard and Michael have already been switched. They went to get their flu shot and she asked how we were doing and I told her about the appt we had just had and how they wanted us to get an ultrasound of her head. She then asked me if they took into consideration that she was 4 weeks early and I was not sure.
I went home and started my research immediately to find out what "normal" is. Fortunately, I happen to know a few NICU nurses who told me that as long as her head is bigger or the same as her chest than that was fine and how they tell what is going on with babies. Hugh had been devastated by the docs concern and needed more reassurance than I did I think. However, I became a ball of anxiety even more than before watching her closer than ever that day. We knew that she had a high chance of having Down's Syndrome based on a prenatal exam that had said she had a 1 in 130 chance to have Downs. Hugh and I did not mention this to people during my pregnancy since we did not want to have others needlessly worry...we were doing enough of that ourselves but had no intention of doing an amnio since no matter the outcome we were keeping the baby. I think it was also because we didn't want that to overshadow our joy since it was already tough enough with many of the emotions from George's passing. She was followed closely in utero and had no markers nor does she even look like she has it now but the small head thing definitely freaked us all out having known that her chances of Downs was higher. The rest of the day I was having a hard time with the panic attacks.
It is so hard to deal with sometimes since I sit there replaying the day's events that had transpired with George every time. Those images don't leave and we are left with these terrible feelings now. Hugh and I were talking tonight about it all and how hard it really is to be dealing with the anxiety and how we both happen to have it. I have had a harder time with it I think since I am home with her the most and feel responsible for her safety. To me it feels often times as if I had let George down. I fell like I should have been able to save him and how I had just done things wrong that day and wish I could have changed them and maybe he would still be alive. I really blame myself a lot for his death even though logically that really isn't the case. I am also sure that these hormone changes are not helping me with all of this along with the impending full moon headed our way this week. Sometimes I feel like I am loosing my mind even though I know that this is all very common for parents who have a "rainbow baby"
Yesterday we went to my mom's for a while because I find it hard to be home by myself also. I feel like I have it more together when I am around other people and have less anxiety about being alone with her should something happen. On days that Hugh works long hours or late at night I just can't stay here alone the whole time because the anxiety gets worse and I seek refuge just to know I have others also keeping an eye on her. I am so grateful for the fact that we live around the corner from my parents. They have been God sent. For a long time after George died my mom and I had struggled with our relationship and there were days that went by where we didn't speak. I knew she just wanted to fix things for me and trying so hard she would often say things or do things without realizing that they were more hurtful than helpful. Even though I knew she was really trying, I was just not able to cope with that and handle his death too. So much of me was being drained just to wake up every single day and function, I just didn't have anything else left in me.
Recently, things have changed quite a bit and I am so thankful for it. Now we are slowly but surely working on our communication again. We have probably talked more in the past few weeks about George's death lately than we have the months prior combined. I think that some of that can be attributed to Gabrielle's birth and the opportunity to begin talking about things and the fact that she now just acknowledges my pain rather than trying to fix something she can't. It is the worlds most helpless feeling to not be able to take this sort of pain for someone. I look at my boys and their pain and would carry it for them if I could but I can't. Somehow just validating it and listening works better than trying to take it away and I feel like that is what my mom and I have just started to realize. I'm glad to finally have my mom back and to slowly be finding the new me and being able to communicate and live as this new person because I am forever changed and have had to learn to live again just in a different capacity. Forever part of me will be missing and I will always have a sad spot in my heart but it cannot dictate who I am or what I do but it definitely was for quite sometime. That is totally normal but when you know you don't want it to be that way but don't have the energy to change it, that is when things are even harder. Not only do you loose a child, you loose part of yourself and trying to live that way is no easy task.
Gabrielle has truly been a blessing on so many levels. All children are gifts from God but "rainbow babies" have a special place in this world for their parents/family and bring them something that no one else can. I hate the technical term that they use for these children "Subsequent child" and prefer to look at her as a rainbow from the bible that brought hope and promise to the world after God flooded the earth. I feel as if she has been our rainbow shining through the storm we have weathered this past year. I plan to paint a rainbow in her room since I hadn't done it before but feel a strong urge to let her know how special she really is to us and the hope and joy she has brought to us in just one week.
I have watched as she has transformed much of our family. Last night I was at my parents and my dad came in and sat with us to just talk after he got back from a party he went to. Part way through a conversation, he went and got his camera to take a picture of her without being prompted. She was sound asleep and I could see in his face the love he had for her, I can't tell you how much that really means since he was always working when we were younger. I almost started to cry as I watched him do this because he did not do that with the other boys much nor us as kids, so it is very emotional to see him do things like that. My sister Tara has come around a lot more than she used to. I really missed the relationship we had as kids but life just sent us our own ways for a while and now it seems to be bringing us back to a place that we both yearned to be at for many years. My sister Michelle has really softened herself a lot and our relationship has changed too. I am so thankful for her and all she did for us the days following George's death, something I could never repay her for nor do I know if she realizes how much it truly meant to Hugh and I. My brother and many others have also changed quite a bit and have learned that life truly is too short and to cherish the moments you have.
All of my family has really been touched and I am so grateful that even after some difficult times that we are all stronger and better people because of it all. I think that we are coming closer together each day and putting aside differences and really considering one anothers feelings and thoughts even if we don't understand them, something we never did before. I am also grateful that they love Hugh too and often times think of him and send him messages or just try and find some way to let him know that they are thinking of him too. George was not just my son and that although they are my family, they are his too and they are there for him should he need it. Sometimes just simple acknowledgment or a listening ear truly mean the world to someone.
I hope that in the near future we can get through all this anxiety. The other thing that I hope is that Hugh can mend some fences with his own family. I know they too just don't know what to do or say and often times it is probably the reason that they don't call him back or know what to really say or do for him. It is such a touch subject and is so common with so many other families who have lost children. They had issues prior to George's death and to expect that to change was probably selfish on our part. These circumstances cause so many issues because you expect certain people to be there and sometimes it just isn't what they are capable of and in turn causes animosity and heartache when that person falls from your pedestal that you put them on. It is really unfair to everyone involved but sometimes you don't even realize you are doing it until quite a bit of time after the fact and the feelings put a wedge between you. Not everyone responds to things the way we think or would like them to do.
Please keep us in your prayers as we continue to walk this path that is being brightened by our own personal rainbow!
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!