I got a call today from the SIDS foundation up in North Jersey. How I remember that I used to dread these calls since they would come during times when they "good" moments in the beginning. Now I find that these are welcome calls where I can talk to someone who understands and tells me I am not loosing my mind, that what I am feeling is "normal". Linda has become a welcome voice on the phone for me now, not a dreaded one. I think it is because the grief for us has changed.
Every day is not consumed with George's death like it was in the beginning. Now it is living with moments of sadness scattered throughout the day rather than the other way around. It isn't living like it was before he died, it is a different kind of living. All that said, it was a welcome call this morning as I talked to her about Gabrielle being born and my anxiety over her well being. We discussed the boys and how we are now finding that their grief is just now coming to the surface and even for Hugh and I sometimes it feels the same way.
She gave me some tips for the kids and trying to help them. For Richard she was glad we started to get him in counseling. The little kids there are not many resources for so she told me that the things they have said are normal and to give them short answers rather than detailed things. I will never forget when Josh looked at my mom and I a few weeks ago and said it was because Hugh put to many blankets on George that he died. My heart just broke as I had to find a way to explain something that I don't even have answers for other than that isn't the reason he died. I don't know why he died so I don't have the answers. The other day he had a panic attack while Gabrielle was not hooked to her monitor and he had to have her "plugged in". We found out that he feels the monitor will make it so she doesn't die. My heart just breaks that he has to even have thoughts like that. As his mom how do I make it better...I can't and that is the sad reality of it all! I can't fix any of it.
I personally have had such bad panic attacks and anxiety lately. On top of it I keep having these horrible flash backs of the day he died. Sleeping doesn't get me away from any of it as I have horrible dreams about it all too. It seems as the day comes closer the worse they get and the more frequent they come. As I spoke to Linda, I told her about them and she assured me that it is very common and that at some point that they will subside but to keep talking about them or writing about them. She told me it is just like post traumatic stress disorder and that moments like this will come and go and that sometimes people take years to get through it since our brains tend to turn off things that are painful and traumatic and give it to us in small doses in order to protect us from the pain. I have to agree on many levels to that. Often times I said this all seems like a dream and even now there are times it still does.
Last night I had a dream about preforming CPR on George. I could save everyone around me but not him. Every part of me feels as if I had let him down by not being able to bring him back that day. I feel as if I let so many people down that day. I will never forget Hugh's hopeful face as he handed George to me that day. He kept looking at me to save him and fix him like I had been able to do with other medical things that had happened to the kids. I knew he was gone the moment he handed him to me but kept trying hard to bring him back. We got to the hospital and I watched them work on him and kept seeing the hope on his face as they worked on our little boy. With no bleeps on the screen, I knew that it was not going to be a good outcome. We watched as they placed lines and breathed for him trying to restart his little heart that no longer beat in his little body. I stood there knowing the reality of what was transpiring before my eyes as he stood next to me holding on to hope.
The moment came when they asked us if we wanted to hold his hand. Hugh looked so hopeful, not really understnading they couldn't fix him either. He didn't reailze that they were still making his chest rise and fall with every pump of the bag attached to the breathing tube that lined his delicate airway that stopped taking breaths a long time before. The doctor actually had to tell Hugh he was not breathing on his own and the hope left his face. He still held on hope that they would fix him and I could see that small amount still left that I had to turn around and stomp out as gently as I could. I remember saying " they don't ask you to hold their hands unless they are calling it. Hugh he is gone." With that they stopped pumping air into his chest and the doctor turned to Hugh and just said "I'm sorry" with the most heartfelt hug and compassion one person could ever muster as they face this situation. I just stood there holding my little boys hand and kissing him knowing that his heart no longer beat in his chest and his eyes were forever closed...I would never get to see him smile again or look into those loving blue eyes that had trusted me with his well being.
I remember it finally sinking in and the reality of what had just transpired before my eyes wash over me. There was a moment where all I could do was apologize to him and to Hugh saying how I should have saved him. Why didn't I go in his room sooner when I had first come upstairs? Why didn't I do CPR right? Why didn't we change his sleeping habits? Why wasn't I more forceful with the doctors? If I had done any of these things differently, would he still be alive? I don't know. Why didn't I pray harder? Why did I give in so soon? Why did I pray for God's will rather than tell him what I wanted? I wanted my son and I wanted him to still be alive, would it have changed if I had told God that instead of listening to my head?
I remember searching for a clock to see how long we had been there...every second had seemed like an eternity. When I finally saw we had been there for over a half hour I asked God for a miracle and to bring him back to me but knew that was not how it was going to work. Had I already missed my opportunity for a miracle by not having enough faith and listening to my head? They were still working on him, I remember saying to the nurse that it would be selfish of me to keep him here. He was out for so long and I didn't know how long he was in cardiac arrest before we found him. If they had brought him back at that point he would not have been the baby we knew and although I would have given anything to have him back, it would have been for me and not for him. That realization was so very hard to come by...my son needed to be let go, how was I suppose to do that as his mother? I was suppose to fix him and save him but I couldn't.
After all was said and done, I held my son's lifeless body in a blanket made by a stranger. They asked us who we wanted called and I didn't know how to answer other than "Call my mom she will take care of the rest of it." Hugh and I sat there with the little boy we had brought into the world just a few short months before so full of life, now dead in our arms...how did we get there in such a short time? I just kept kissing him and rocking him and not knowing what else to do, no one tells you how to love your child after they die. That is really what we have had to learn and why I feel that things have changed, we are slowly learning how to love our son who returned to heaven much earlier than we ever thought he would. We did not think we would have to say goodbye to him but it would be the other way around. Instead, we held many dreams and hope for his future that in an instant were crushed to dreams of a little boy playing with the angels and who God would hold in his arms and tell him about how much we loved him rather than the other way around.
I can replay those moments over and over again in my head and every single part of me doesn't want to. What I really want are the good moments to take over the terrible bad horrible moments of that day. I pray for a day that I am not tormented by his memory but rather just find joy instead of deep rooted pain and sadness that come with the memories of how he left us. Maybe there will be a day that things won't hurt the way they do now or creep up unexpectedly as they do now. I hope that someday we learn how to love our son in heaven rather than here in our arms like we had hoped to. God surely had different plans than we did.
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.
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!