Last night was such a rough night. I had recently read an article about the use of Orajel and other teething medicine causing sever problems and even death. It talks about how most of the time it isn't even tested via autopsy and all sorts of other things. This article made me pull out George's autopsy to see if they had tested him for this since I knew we had used these products with him. I cannot remember if it was that night that I used it with him but I knew he was in a lot of pain and had said if he was still acting funny in the AM that I was taking him to the doctors(he never made it)
Not knowing why your child has died is one of the most agonizing things when having to cope with their death. Part of you wants to know why they are gone and what caused them to leave and I am one who feels this need to know, especially because he was laughing and playing with me the night before, only to find him dead in the morning. I knew something was up with him but did not feel it was something to worry about. I've researched numerous things over and over again. His autopsy report has become engrained in my head for the most part as I read through it each time, I wonder if there is something I am missing that would give me an answer. There are pros and cons to knowing or not knowing for that matter. If it was something like suffocation or overheating, as the parent you would blame yourself. Should the reason be medical you could than accept their death and although it wouldn't fix it, somewhere in you there would be some relief. Being a parent with no answers leaves you always wondering and trying to not do the same thing again but since you don't know what it was exactly, you avoid everything and try to do everything you think it might be. There is no way to learn from your mistakes(if that is what it was) or to find solace with it being a medical problem.
In my heart I know George had Mito but not having it in black and white always makes it hard. He had MRSA in his little body and an ear infection along with an infection in his lungs but it was not enough for the medical examiner to say that killed him. I don't know what killed my son and it just hurts so bad and I wonder all the time what it was even though knowing means nothing other than some insane peace of mind...it won't bring him back. Somewhere in there is the fear of it happening all over again and wanting to prevent it but knowing you can't because you don't know what took his last breath and stopped his heart. I will always wonder if I had worked harder on him and done CPR the right way from the beginning if he would be alive and with me now. Every part of me feels at times that I let him and my entire family down by not being able to save him. I feel like I let him down and always cry and tell him I am so sorry I could not save him and bring him back to us. It is so hard to know that I was not there for his last breath or heart beat when in fact I was there when he came into the world. In some aspect I really feel like somehow I let him down and didn't do my job as his mommy. I couldn't fix it even though if it were up to my heart and the want that I had he would still be alive.
My mom asked last night to read his report. I have never really shared this with anyone because I feel it is kind of personal to me and I don't want anyone else to carry the same heavy heart I do. Part of me was hesitant but something in me just couldn't say no and I left it in her hands by saying that she can't undo it once she reads it. I'm sure that curiosity got the best of her and also her own need for closure so she read it. We briefly discussed it and as always, tears just streamed down my face with the thought of what they did to my son and how horrible my life became that day he died. In her own way my mom tried to comfort me and she also felt her own set of grief as she finished reading this report. Often times there are just moments that don't need words and empty space is ok but my mom being who she is, feels the need to try and make some sense of it even if she is trying to do it for me, I often thing she is also doing it for herself as she tries to wrap her own head around it all. Although, I had wanted to keep that report to myself, I knew that she needed the closure and that she was hurt initially by me not wanting her to go to get it so I put my own need to keep it to myself aside and let her in on what she had wanted for some time.
The tears and pain just made sleeping last night almost impossible. Finally around 2am I went upstairs and slept in Richard's bed since he is away right now visiting my aunt and uncle in Maryland. My mind kept going for a while wishing that I could have changed things and that he was still alive and all those horrible images of that day. People say that eventually the good memories will replace the bad but they are all horribly wrong. Nothing in the world can ever erase or even lighten the burden of such a traumatic situation, you are constantly haunted by the images even though they do not run your life. Even though I can see his smile in my mind, right behind comes the image of his limp little body that Hugh handed me and the surreal moments that followed when he was pronounced dead and holding his lifeless little body. Nothing I can do could ever erase those memories even though I would do anything to have them gone and just remember the good stuff.
Even though my heart breaks over his loss, I really am so grateful for our children. Looking at Gabrielle just makes my heart smile through the tears. She now does things her brother never did and yet I see him living through her. She cannot replace him but she does bring a different sort of joy with her that we have never experienced before. I watch her play with her big brothers and although every part of me wishes George was here, I know she would not be here if he had not died. There is a painful reality that comes with that knowledge and in some way you feel like you are cheating on the child that died. You know they would want you happy but there is some reservation about being happy and trying to keep that fine line more defined so that you are fair to both children. You don't want the rainbow baby to feel as if they were just a replacement for their dead sibling but rather they know how much more special they are due to the new appreciation of life you carry because of the death of their sibling.
This whole process is so hard and I wish we didn't have to do it but I can't change the past no matter how much I want to. You try to move forward but I'd be lying to say that part of you will always live in the past because when your child dies. There is no future or even present with them in it. Anyone who says different surely has not lost a child and does not understand the feelings that come along with it. You don't allow it to rule your life but some part of it defines you as a person and will forever be in the past unlike the way you once lived. I believe it is because your children are part of who you are and were created out of a love that cannot be destroyed. They also live on in heaven but we have no reference to that here on Earth so you will always feel their presence but the only tangible thing you have is the memories of the past and some part of you feels like you need to hold onto it with both hands. You have already given up the joy of hugging and kissing them but you never give up loving them...a parent's love is eternal!
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!