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, January 15, 2011

For Hugh

This is for Hugh who has walked this path of grief basically on his own being the stronghold for our family and trying to keep it together as our lives seemed to fall apart. He is a wonderful man, husband, and father.

Men Do Cry

by Ken Falk

I heard quite often "men don’t cry"
though no one ever told me why.
So when I fell and skinned a knee,
no one came by to comfort me.

And when some bully-boy at school
would pull a prank so mean and cruel,
I’d quickly learn to turn and quip,
"It doesn’t hurt," and bite my lip.

So as I grew to reasoned years,
I learned to stifle any tears.
Though "Be a big boy" it began,
quite soon I learned to "Be a man."

And I could play that stoic role
while storm and tempest wracked my
No pain or setback could there be
could wrest one single tear from me.
Then one long night I stood nearby
and helplessly watched my son die.
And quickly found, to my surprise,
that all that tearless talk was lies.

And still I cry, and have no shame.
I cannot play that "big boy" game.
And openly, without remorse,
I let my sorrow takes its course.

So those of you who can’t abide
a man you’ve seen who’s often cried,
reach out to him with all your heart
as one whose life’s been torn apart.

For men DO cry when they can see
their loss of immortality.
And tears will come in endless
when mindless fate destroys their


Author Unknown

O precious, tiny, sweet little one
You will always be to me
So perfect, pure, and innocent
Just as you were meant to be.

We dreamed of you and
of your life
And all that it would be.
We waited and longed
for you to come
And join our family.

We never had the chance to play
To laugh, to rock, to wiggle.
We long to hold you,
touch you now
And listen to you giggle.

I’ll always be your father,
She’ll always be your mom.
You will always be our child
The child we had.

But now you’re gone...
but yet you’re here.
We’ll sense you everywhere.
You are our sorrow and our joy.
There’s love in every tear.

Just know our love goes
deep and strong.
We’ll forget you never--
The child we had,
And will have forever.

Precious in God's Eyes

by Gail Fasolo

The lily only lasts a day
but God creates it anyway.
All that work to make a flower
then it’s gone, it had its hour.

Even though your baby died,
he is still precious in God’s eyes.
Your child came and made his mark
he changed your life and touched your heart.

Upon his death, to heaven he soared.
Here for a moment, now with the Lord.

Untitled Poem

It must be very difficult
To be a man in grief,
Since "men don't cry" and "men are strong"
No tears can bring relief.

It must be very difficult
To stand up to the test
And field the calls and visitors
So she can get some rest.

They always ask if she's all right
And what she's going through.
But seldom take his hand and ask,
"My friend, but how are you?"

He hears her crying in the night
And thinks his heart will break.
He dries her tears and comforts her,
but "stays strong" for her sake.

It must be very difficult
To start each day anew
And try to be so very brave--
He lost his baby too.

Author Unknown

A Mother's Job

I remember the day he died and I remember the days following and how I felt this strong need to do certain was my job as his mother to do them. There were things that I could just let others do, and I had to and was so thankful to be able to hand over those responsibilities so that I could do the things I needed to do as his mommy. In some odd way I felt as if I owed it to him and had to do them myself. There were so many things I was not allowed to do even though I wanted to do them so the things that I did want to do and was able to I did with all my heart as if he would really know how much I loved him by doing these things. I wanted the least amount of strangers involved with my son for the last part of his journey.

The very first thing that I did was remove that breathing tube. It was foreign to his little body and was not brought into the world with it. If I could have taken out his central line (a direct access to his heart) I would have done that too but it would have caused an issue. I know I was not suppose to remove the breathing tube(I didn't think about it until after I had taken it out, but it was considered "evidence") but I just had to and knew there was no way I was keeping that thing down his throat. I untaped it and gently removed it with such loving care...the one thing I had hoped would bring him back to life was now suddenly something I could not stand to look at but had to remove was my job.

Once I had him in my arms I sat there with Hugh and we rocked him and asked for a minister to baptize him. The minister was a stranger(we had not known our deacon was coming or we would have waited) but it was my job as his mom to have him baptized and dedicated to God. I felt so much guilt at that moment having not had it done when he was alive. Some insane part of me did and partially still does feel as if I had jeopardized his chances of going to heaven! I know it sounds stupid but that Roman Catholic part of me has a little voice in the back of my head telling me I should have done it sooner. I know he was pure at heart and had not had a chance to choose Christ himself but I do believe that God loves us all and that deep in my heart I know he is waiting for me in heave but those moments of doubt are something I still struggle with from time to time. I still however felt the need to have him baptized and we sat there with three nurses that day who cared for our family as they witnessed the minister baptize was my job.

I remember sitting there with him for a while but we did not stay all day long. I knew he was already gone and he had 3 big brothers at home who needed me to be there for him. My job however was not done until I sat there and rocked him and sang to him just about every single song I knew the words to. I would do that a lot of the time when he was fussy and I was the only one who could calm him down. After everyone left, I knew that they would take his little body away and do things to it that I did not approve of. I whispered in his ear and told him that I was sorry for what they would do but that I loved him and if I could have spared him that I would have but I couldn't. I still felt the need to comfort him even though he was not really was my job.

I went to the funeral home on several occasions to make decisions no parent should have to ever make. We had to sign papers to allow someone to cremate our little boys perfect body. That was probably the hardest thing I had to do. I went to the store with my mom and aunt to pick out his last outfit. They called and asked me to choose an outfit for him and all I could do was look through his closet and feel as if nothing was fitting enough and I knew I wanted to have him wear a baptism outfit so I went to the store. It was such a surreal feeling to be walking the mall looking for the last outfit I would ever buy for him. Everyone around me had no idea the torment I was feeling inside as I hunted from store to store with my mom and aunt in toe looking for the perfect outfit...that was my job.

It snowed many of the days following his death and it was pretty bad. Despite it all, we could have waited to do some things but there was no way I was going to let snow get in my way. My older sister drove Hugh and I to and from the funeral home on several occasions. The hardest was the day that I would see him for the very last time. Hugh and I went along with my two sisters and Bill, a friend of ours, to see him for the last time. The minute they called to tell us he was "ready" I felt the need to go. We had asked people to go with us and invited anyone who wanted to go but many people opted out other than those I already mentioned. I remember knowing in my heart that I just couldn't be there for Hugh as I saw my son for the last time and asked Bill to come to be there as Hugh's support since there was no one else going for him to lean on...I still think of how hard it was for him to do and how strong he truly is because although it is hard for me I have many people for support who call or stop by. We all saw him and hugged him and touched him for the last time. I remember turning to them all and asked them if once we were done, I could be the last one to be with him and have a few moments alone...I had a job to do.

I sat there and held my little boy's head in my hands as he laid on the funeral home's table. He was in his beautiful outfit I had bought for him just hours before, covered in the blanket I purchased for him as a Christmas gift weeks before(it was a blue quilt with scriptures sewn on patches), and a stuffed Precious Moments monkey tucked under his arm I had also purchased a few weeks before as a special gift from me to him(for anyone who doesn't know I love Precious Moments and always have). We sat there, just the two of us. I cradled his beautiful head in my hands one last time, kissed him as tears ran down my cheeks, and just sang him his special song. Every single part of me wanted to stay there forever and it tore me apart to leave him there alone on that table. I knew I couldn't stay forever but that I had done all I could do for him as I left him for the very last time...that was my job.

The only thing left for me to do was finish planning his service. I knew exactly what it was that I wanted to do. He was such a wonderful and happy baby, I didn't want it to be sad. That of course was unrealistic so I wanted it to be as happy as possible. I kept it together, even when things didn't go as I had initially planned(the service was canceled due to snow, I still had to endure questions from the police, and a lot of other things that just were not what I had expected them to be.) At night I would return home alone to give myself time to fall apart in the silence, I could be myself there without guilt. The very first time I returned home without him, I went in and made his bed. The police had taken everything from his bed and it was just an empty crib with a mattress, a sad and sick realization that no baby would be coming to be sleeping there ever again. It was a room I had created with such love before he was even born, it now was cold and empty. I would sit on the floor in his room and just cry, feeling so helpless, but having a need to make things as right as they could be...that was my job.

His service came and things just fell into place. I had decorated the hall and church the day before with the help of my sisters while my mom watched the boys. There were balloons and monkeys all over the sanctuary. In the hall below each table had a theme for all the holidays and life events I would never be able to celebrate with him. Some part of me felt like it was my last chance to give him a party or celebrate anything so I wanted to do it all! There were pictures of him everywhere(I am such a photo bug) with the one at the front of the church that my mom and I had gone to get blown up that showed his personality, big blue eyes, and infectious smile all captured from one wonderful moment in time just a few short weeks before. Hugh stayed with the boys(God bless him, he was and still is my rock) while I went out and made the arrangements with my family to make the service as special as it could be...that was my job.

I stood there in front of everyone that day and spoke of this little person who had changed our lives only 4 and a half months before and brought so much joy. Hugh sang our special song with a group of people from the choir and I sang a brief section of it myself in my eulogy. It still amazes me how one little person can change the lives of so many. Most people didn't know him the way Hugh and I knew him since he was so young but he still touched them in some capacity. How do you sum up the life of one person into a few minutes? I remember praying and asking for the right words and I was surely answered as the words just flowed. I had to share him with the world that day in just a few was my job.

We walked outside to the memorial garden. There in the ground surrounded by snow was a hole in the ground. This would be the resting place for my son. I had known before what would happen but I was so unprepared for the actual moment. There were some ceremonial words spoken and the deacon handed me the tiny urn that held my sons ashes. I had thought they would be the ones to place them in the tiny grave but I was wrong. Suddenly I was washed over by disbelief and a wanting to escape that moment in any way possible. Just as fast as that came, I pulled it together in my head and mustered up the strength from way deep down to be the one to walk my son home in one final act. I bent over that cold dark hole in the ground and although I did not want to, I poured some of his ashes into his grave as tears just ran from my eyes. Behind me Hugh followed with the dirt that had to finish creating the grave. The shovel was left for anyone to place dirt too. Later after everyone else was done, I went back myself and put the last bit of dirt on my little boys final was my job.

As days went by and my grief changed I sat there and still do, trying to do things to make my son proud of me or do things in his memory. I can't just let his death be that...death...I feel as if he can still live on through us and still make changes in this word somehow. We are working hard on putting together "Gift of Safe Sleep" packages together for new parents to be handed out at our local hospitals. We want to have people donate Halo seep sacks/swaddlers or give monetary donations on the 29th that will be put in these packages. We want to make safe sleep affordable for everyone and plan to put together an opportunity for people to trade in smaller sizes for bigger sizes and help those who cannot afford a crib/bassinet obtain one for their baby. I have gotten a hold of our local SIDS foundation and they do seminars for nurses that give them credits towards their license that I am going to look into getting offered at the local hospital on the Mother Baby floors. I want to also work on infant CPR being taught to parents at no cost...everyone should know how to save their child, not just because they can afford a class. There are some things that I didn't know until after George died and wished I had. His memory will live on and instead of looking at all these things as my job, I am now looking at them as my gift from my little monkey!

He gave me the gift of life! In all of this he has taught me more things about life than I would have ever learned but most of all he taught me every moment counts and we can all make a difference in the world. Just because it seems small to some it may seem huge to others. I know his job here is done but that I have more to do in his memory. It is my gift to him since he taught me something that is immeasurable. He taught me how to live!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Pictures From Friends

These two pictures just touched my heart. We recently did a photo shoot with a friend of mine from high school of Gabrielle for newborn photos. She did an awesome job and another friend took two of the photos and added special touches. Both of these wonderful women have touched my heart in ways they will never truly know.


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 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 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.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Walk to Remember

I walk to remember the steps you'll never take.
I carry you with me as I firmly plant my feet.
Our trek started so long ago,
before my belly swelled.
You were a love that grew
like butterfly wings that beat.
Your gentle flutters then became kicks
upon which I would dwell.
And I would talk to you, sweet babe,
about the world you soon would meet.
The sun always shown upon us then-
when you were in my womb.
And I was eager to show you the world,
that would have been your home.
How you'd have loved the sun shining-
blue skies without a cloud.
The autumn leaves turning-
the snow falling all around.
The flowers in the summer-
would have filled your eyes with smiles,
And the rain that might have fallen
would have caused you great surprise.
You would have traveled far with me-
holding me by the hand.
And I'd have shown you all I could-
more than I can imagine.
You hold my heart tightly now,
as though we're holding hands.
How far we've traveled little one-
and my life with you has been sweet.
For I carry you in my heart as I firmly plant my feet.

by Kathie Rataj Mayo

Quote for the Day

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The f...riend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares
~ Henri Nouwen

Missing My Little Monkey

I have not been able to really find it in myself to update this page in almost a week. My heart has just been so heavy lately although I do not show it. I've tried to keep myself busy and not think about the immense pain that I carry in my heart right now. I'm exhausted on all fronts and am just about able to survive the days as they pass.

Richard's birthday was a very difficult day for me since it was the day last year that we took our very last family picture. I know it doesn't seem like a big deal but it truly was heartbreaking. We will never have a family picture with all our children in it EVER. The thought of that makes the knot in my throat that holds back tears harder to choke down with every thought and breath I take. Each day inches us closer to the end of our first lasts...what is left after that other than pain and great sadness? It just gives others another reason to feel that we are doing something else wrong by feeling as if we should be moving on with life.

I believe that you move forward but not on for many reasons but because you have no choice in the matter. If it had been up to me I would have crawled in that hole with my son the day he left, as would just about every single other parent that has said goodbye to their child to soon. I don't want this pain or sorrow in my heart but somehow it is the only thing left of him along with the memories of him but everything else just isn't the same anymore. It isn't that I don't find joy in things and am grateful for all that I have, however none of it is ever going to be the same and will always carry some sort of sadness or yearning to have him here.

I miss him so much and would give anything to have him back but know I can't and I don't have any say in it at all. That being said we have to still live and try to do our best at finding a way to do it with this forever sadness that we will always have. That in its own right is probably the hardest part. It wasn't suppose to be like this, my life was not suppose to turn out this way, why? I don't know why and the prospect of the rest of our lives being this way is just so sad and overwhelming.

Part of it is definitely hard with Gabrielle looking a lot like her big brother. On a regular basis I don't think much of it but as I look at pictures there is no denying it at all. There will be a day when she no longer looks like him because he never passed 143days of life. It will leave me wondering how much he would have looked like her instead her looking like him. Wondering what he would look like or be doing is not something that can ever be escaped. There are kids that were born around the same day that I watch growing up but not my son, he will forever be a little boy to me. I will always be missing my little monkey!

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