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.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Eternal Love

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 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!
While you were sleeping I sat by you side
I watched over you and all the tears you cried
While you were sleeping I sat for a while
I touched your cheek and seen how you smile
While you were sleeping God sent me from above
To watch over and protect you with all of our love
While you were sleeping I heard you scream
Reliving the nightmares of the sights you seen
I didn't leave you to cause you this much pain
My life was done I had nothing left to gain
I feel so bad as I watch you weep
Knowing the pain and the grief so deep
If you only knew the extent of my sorrow
You would understand today and tomorrow
It is so sad to see you this way
If you could only hear the words I say
I would say don't weep for me
I am in heaven for eternity
The beauty and peace that I have now
If you could only experience this somehow
I know in your heart you would be
Free of all pain and grief for me

Author: Robert Walters Sr.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Change the Language of Grief

We need to create a new language for grief ... a language that speaks honestly of grief's pain and crushing despair. We need a language that speaks of the painful promise and of the hope that is cast by the memory of love given and received. We need to create a language of HOPE, not a language of grief.

Perhaps we can create a language where DENIAL is merely a river in Egypt and not a statement of despair or criticism. Denial is such a harsh and inaccurate word. It does not belong in the language of HOPE.

When we are faced with difficult steps on our journey, we sometimes wish to postpone our progress. We want to sidestep the painful step. Perhaps we are not yet ready to deal with reality or perhaps we feel afraid, unsupported, unskilled or unprepared to face the unfolding of a new life. "I WON'T deal with it!" "I CAN'T cope with it!" I DON'T WANT TO face it." Words that each of us has echoed again and again as we traveled the path of grief. And so, instead of facing "IT" (whatever "it" may be), we wish to move it to the side, placing it just out of our line of sight, slightly out of focus. For a time, sometimes, a looooong time, we can keep whatever we do not wish to deal with, out of focus. We can postpone reality, for a little while. It is easier to pretend, for a time, that my child is away at camp or my spouse is on a long business trip instead of facing the bitter reality of death. And yet, I KNOW what it is that I am pretending. How could I ever forget?

I would like to replace the word DENIAL with the word POSTPONEMENT. It is a more honest word. It accurately describes exactly what we do with a reality we are not quite ready to experience. We simply move that reality to the side, keeping it slightly out of focus, holding it there until we are no longer able to keep there, or until we feel "ready" to tackle the new reality. Before you can deny anything, you first have to acknowledge it and once you acknowledge it, you can postpone it until you are ready or able to cope. It takes a lot of energy to keep things out of focus for very long and so eventually, most of us run out of energy to keep things in FANTASY LAND. Slowly we bring whatever painful reality we must face back into focus and we begin the healing task of coping. DENIAL is a river in Egypt. It is NOT a lack of coping, but rather an accurate and creative way of POSTPONING, until I feel more secure, more skilled, more supported. Spring does follow winter and just as the daffodils rise to greet a new season, I, too, will move from postponement to acknowledgment and then to action. I, too, will, face my despair and my grief, in my own time. So, as we exchange the word DENIAL for the word POSTPONEMENT, let's forever ban the word LOST. We use that word to describe everything that changes. "I LOST my child." "I LOST my job." "I LOST my spouse, my car, everything!" We lose THINGS: car keys, houses, jobs, but never, never, do we lose people! They DIE or LEAVE, but we do not LOSE them or the love we shared. Our loved ones have DIED, but they are forever and always a living and loving PART OF WHO WE ARE! We CANNOT LOSE their love! As long as we are changing the language, let's think about replacing ACCEPTANCE with ACKNOWLEDGMENT. Acceptance, to me, means agree with and I will NEVER AGREE with what has happened to me! But I can work towards ACKNOWLEDGMENT of what has happened. As I begin to feel safer, more supported, more knowledgeable about the grief process and feel more skilled at grieving, I can allow whatever I have cast into POSTPONEMENT to resurface and begin then to resolve my grief. We can change the words we use. Let's make up a new language ... A LANGUAGE OF HOPE! Move away from ACCEPTANCE and run towards ACKNOWLEDGMENT! And then, perhaps we can change one more word in the language of grief. Can we get rid of the word RECOVERY and use HEALING instead? RECOVERY is a medical model word, designed to describe broken bones, not hearts. We recover from a broken arm or the chicken pox. We don't GET OVER the death of someone we love. We get THROUGH IT, one moment, one hour, one day, one hurt at a time. HEALING is a HOPEFUL WORD.

There's only one more word I'd like to banish from the world of grief and bereavement. Let's get rid of CLOSURE, too. There is no such thing as closure in grief. The only thing that closes at the funeral or the cemetery is the casket! Perhaps we can speak of closing a chapter in our life just as our loved one closes a chapter in his life, but the idea of ending a relationship just because death "got in the way", is rather silly. YOU DON'T STOP LOVING SOMEONE JUST BECAUSE THEY DIED! WE WILL CONTINUE TO LOVE FOREVER. Those who have gone leave their footprints on our heart; indeed, our soul. THEY ARE FOREVER THREADS IN OUR FABRIC, MEMORIES IN OUR HEART, LOVE IN OUR BEING. THEY ARE NOW AND ALWAYS WILL BE A LIVING AND LOVING PART OF WHO WE ARE!

Yes, in this new century, we do need a new language. We are diminished by grief, replenished by love, held by hope. I want a language that reflects that hope, a language that reminds me of the coming spring and of the waiting dawn. I want a language that speaks to me of JOY REMEMBERED, OF LOVE GIVEN AND RECEIVED, OF LIFE LIVED, not lost. Join me in creating a new language that more accurately portrays the journey of grief towards healing and hope. Healing doesn't happen at all once not does a language get changed quickly. Just as winter ebbs and flows and the other seasons rise and fall on the tides of our emotions, the words we speak will continue to dictate our journey. Yet, it seems more hopeful to speak of postponement instead of denial, acknowledgment instead of acceptance and healing instead of recovery. MAY LOVE BE WHAT YOU REMEMBER THE MOST!

By: Darcie D. Sims, Ph.D., CGC, CHT

A Dark Place

I don't know how many people understand me when I say that I feel as if I am in a dark place. This by no means has any reference to anything other than to try and give an understanding for the state that my heart is in right now. The past few days have required so much for me to just get up and do the basics without falling apart and not cry. Tears have welled up here and there and there is nothing I can say makes me feel that way other than I feel like my heart is in just a dark place. It is kind of like being in a room with the lights on and then they suddenly are turned off and all of a sudden it looks so different and you are fumbling your way in the dark to make sense of the things around you that only a few moments before were as clear as ever. I think in general this is the path of grief but especially that of a parent who buried their child. The initial shock is like those moments where your eyes are adjusting and you can't see a thing and the rest of the time it is where you can sort of make things out and fumble a little less.

There are days and even months when you happen to have it together and then are hit with such a heavy heart that just hurts to even carry in your chest. There are times when the pain feels like someone is sitting on your chest and you have to walk around with them there. You cannot control any of it and there is no amount of medication that can get rid of the pain and you somehow have to learn how to live with it all. It is so hard to want to be happy and not have these feelings and yet have no control over them at all and just push through each day praying for the day it will all let up. The grief from the death of a child has to come in waves because there is no way that you could handle it any other way without loosing your mind.

Today it just broke my heart even more when I found Michael at our house while I was there grabbing a few things. His eyes filled with tears as he cried saying how he wished we could keep the house and didn't have to leave it. Inside he found his toys and the place we used to call home. His chubby little hands wrapped themselves around a few cherished toys I allowed him to bring back to my mom's house. My dad and Hugh have to still work on a toy room for them so we have not moved much of their toys. Michael was always our homebody who LOVED to be home so I am sure this is a huge change for him. These tears were the first from him over the loss of anything. I had to keep it together as tears came to my eyes trying to find a way to explain crappy circumstances to a four year old little boy. I promised to make his toy room special and would work hard on trying to get it done as soon as possible so he can have more of his things with him and hopefully feel less sad about all that is going on.

Through it all, I am so thankful for my children. They are all so very special and bring something different to my life. Today as I sat there partially in tears I held Gabby and her smile just melted that pain just enough for it to not hurt as bad. Michael always makes me laugh when I think there is no possible way to laugh...and his big brown eyes are so captivating and you want to know how in the world his little brain works. Joshua is the compassionate one and emotional one. When I look at Joshua, I look at myself as a child. The simplest thing can make him cry and he is very hesitant and always thinks things out and once he has something in his mind, he is not going to let it go and will find a way to make it happen. Richard is the child who tries to be strong for everyone but just one look into his eyes and you can see all the life obstacles who have made him the compassionate person that he is. George, even though he is dead, still touches our lives every single day and makes us not sweat the small stuff and appreciate the small things like a simple smile. He also had this special gift that could heal a broken heart, I know that he did that for my sister Tara and also did for me as he showed me how God could love me no matter what I have done in my life.

They are all what keeps Hugh and I both going each and every single day. If there was any way to take away their pain we would. I would carry more than I already do if it meant that they were free of worry and heartache but I can't. Standing by and watching others suffer is one of the hardest things in the world to do. I know that this is how so many people feel where Hugh and I are concerned...watching onlookers wishing to fix it all but unable to. Keep the prayers coming for I know we are not alone and God is with us and only He can do something about this all. He is guiding us through the dark places in our lives right now. This is when faith is needed the most and putting it in his hands becomes the hardest thing to do but is also the most necessary. In this dark place I am keeping my faith and following God's guiding hands.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Rough Days

Well apparently, it has not just been a rough few days on me. Hugh has been getting short with people and I've been the same way and didn't realize it was all stemming from missing our little guy. Poor Hugh had such a hard day today. I saw him standing at the mangle where we keep his ashes looking at this little family tree photo frame that we were given by a friend which has all our family members pictures hanging from the branches. The pain was just written all over his face and nothing had to be said. I left him to his own space to grieve in his own way but I was feeling the same way and nothing had to be said.

My heart just broke for him, knowing all too well his pain. Life has surely dished us some huge life challenges. Today we began working on the legal stuff for the house and I just lost it and started to cry as I had to go with Hugh to the house we once called home. I know we need to be where we are now but it doesn't make it any easier. The heartache is still there and the pain from loosing the house compounds our grief in such a unique way. It is like a shell when you walk in the front door now but it is still like walking away from our son and loosing him all over again. Hugh and I have both been feeling this a lot lately and have no way out so we have to push forward through it even if we don't want to or don't like it.

I know for me today, all I wanted to do was lay in bed and forget the whole day and the rest of the world. My back has really been bothering me these past few days which does not help but the emotions of all that we have been through has just really taken its toll. I am so sick of having to be strong and push through all the tough things in life. So often I feel as if I have had my fair share of life obstacles and pain and I wish God would see this and pick someone else to challenge besides my family and I. We just need such a break from all this pain and suffering in our lives. So many times we have tried to get out of this hole only to have someone to dump more dirt in on us and having to constantly get out of these things. Having to be strong for so long has just been so hard to do all the time that I just don't want to do it anymore.

Together the two of us went over to the house and began going through it. Looking at the empty rooms and all the things that we still have to do just became so overwhelming. Also, just thinking this was the only place our son knew as home and that we were having to leave it all behind. There was this terrible empty and sinking feeling as I tried to "be strong" and focus on the task at hand that I could not avoid. Hugh walked around aimlessly as I worked, he was just so lost and you could see it in his face. My heart broke for him as I knew exactly how he was feeling. We both know we don't have a choice in the matter and have to push forward but it doesn't make it any easier. I wanted to fix it but I can't and that is such a hard thing too.

We came back to my parents house and the reality was just there, all that we had we are loosing and the life we had created together no longer exists. The loss of our house and the loss of our son has just taken its toll and I want my life back when I was oblivious to this sort of pain and loss. I want to just cry and scream at the top of my lungs. I'm so over all of this and this horrible road that I want no part of and had no choice to wind up on. My heart is breaking and breaks even more as I watch my husband hurt and fall apart in his own way too. I know there is good in all of this but that doesn't help get through the bad of it all or the fact that we have to do this even if we don't want to. I feel like I am a little kid being dragged away kicking and screaming.

Getting past this heavy heart is just so damn difficult and I am so tired of it all. I don't want every single day of my life to have to have some sort of pain in it. Watching others around us not have to struggle, I find myself jealous and resentful for all that we have had to endure. Other people will lie, cheat, or steal and their lives are not nearly as difficult. People can plan their lives and it works out that way and when I do that, nothing works out that way. We face judgement from those who have no idea what has happened in our lives and the world we live in is just so unforgiving. It is as if we have to always live with our guards up because the minute we let it down another obstacles is thrust upon us.

Life has just not been fair and I am just so upset about that and so is Hugh, I can see it in his eyes. He has tried so hard for so long to provide for our family and to watch it all be flushed down the drain just eats away at his heart. People will constantly talk to me about jobs for him and I know he just can't even fathom facing another rejection from another employer or to take the added stress that comes with a career change. Right now he is just surviving and breathing and I think that is all I can ask of him and for me to have to handle all the other stuff just adds to my already full plate and I just want to cry. When I don't know what else to do, I cry, when Hugh is in the same situation, he just gets short and nasty even though he doesn't mean it. This is probably the lowest we have ever felt in our entire lives. Having no control over any of it just adds to the helpless feelings of wanting to do something but having to accept things for what they are and where God is placing us in our lives.

I don't get it and I have no idea where in the world God's brain is right now but I guess it has just got to be in his hands. Sometimes I think he is napping on the job! He has heard me yelling and crying and being upset but then again he sees the bigger picture, not me. In all of this, I thank him for the blessing of our children because they are what help us both to get through this all. Gabrielle's smile, Joshua's hugs, Michael's "Love you", and Richard's kiss on the cheek are the very things that keep us going. We are so very thankful for them because when it all seems terrible one of them always makes it "not so bad" Today Joshua said "I know someone here didn't take their happy pill" when Hugh snapped at him and it just made me smile through my pain and sadness and Hugh did too. We are trying to make this our home but it won't ever really be that for us but we will have to just be grateful for a roof over our heads and the support of my parents. Somehow all of that doesn't take away the fact that makes you feel like a looser and disappointment to those around you.

As the next few days go by, please keep us in your prayers. We are missing our little monkey so much right now and feel as if we are saying goodbye all over again. These feelings may be right or they may be totally wrong. They are real and raw and I always said I would be honest on here to give others a real insight to it all, not the fake face and front I have to put on daily to live in the world that was once familiar and is now a total foreign land in which we live. Thank you so much in advance for the prayers, we need them all.

Author: Robert Walters Sr.

Lost In Another World

Lost in another world sometimes you feel
Your life isn't the same it doesn't seem real
So many changes happened so fast
If you had a choice you would go back to the past
Finally reality has begun to set in
And you think of what could have been
The days ahead that you looked forward to
The dreams the children that would be new
All vanished into oblivion when tragedy knocked on your door
Little did you know it would alter your life forever more
You have fought many battles during your life
Nothing could have prepared you for this strife
Now the biggest battle of your life now begins
The anguish, the grief and all the emotions within
Create havoc and devastation you find it hard to survive
So you wish for the past when they were still alive
Now you are faced with days and sleepless nights
You are plagued with nightmares and you relive the sights
How long does this last there is no set rule
There is no book or no special school
The dreams and the future you looked forward too
Has lost its meaning since I lost you
I don't know how many years I have to live
There is plenty of time to learn how to forgive
When my time on earth is finally through
Then I will finally be re- untied with you

Mind Games

Do you really ever find peace of mind
When out of the blue the images unwind
Without a thought your mind wanders there
To a place and time you can't really share
Those questions still haunt you with no reply
Some peace of mind if you just knew why
You would find no note not even a clue
The shock of your life was about to come true
The sight of what you were about to find
Is not etched deep into your subconscious mind
The pain will subside and the grief will lessen
As your mind plays games as you keep on guessing
Sounds are heard but no one's around
You look for a sign but none to be found
Your eyes will see them in every face you see
Your heart still breaks it feels so empty
Some days are good some days are bad
All you can remember is the memories you had
As you search your mind to find these thoughts
Those last sights you seen leaves you distraught
Days have come and days have went
In your heart they are heaven sent
This is all you have left to cling to
This isn't a dream this is true
Your faith is torn you expected mercy
You can't understand why this happened to me
You are lost in this world and out of control
All you can do is pray for their soul
You ask for blessings from God up above
To welcome them to heaven with his pure love

Author: Robert Walters Sr.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Beautiful Pictures Taken of Our Family

The Pain These Days

We have been so busy with moving and remodeling that it seems as if I have not had time to sit down and even breath let alone think of George. Often times I wish that it really was the case because the pain just never stops. The loss of a child is such a unique beast and what you think you would do prior to loosing a child is thrown out the window the minute you do. There is no rhyme or reason to any of it and the pain never goes away like so many people promise or say it will no matter how much you pray it does. I still think of him daily and my heart still aches for him as it did the day he died, it is just a different ache that has matured with time and the sad reality that my life must go on without him in it.

I went to lunch the other day with a friend of mine and for the first time I sat down with someone face to face and told them how I really felt the days following his death. We talked about the odd place you find yourself in and how often times you are the one having to figure it all out for other people too. So many people are used to depending on me in these types of situations that when I needed it the most I felt so very abandoned. I watched as other people lost loved ones and how so many people came to their aide and felt as if Hugh and I were kind of left on our own, especially after the dust settled. For everyone else it was as if once the first few waves of shock were over, it was over for them.

There were certain people who were here for us and I thank God for them every single day because I think without them we would both be a mess right now. Certain people walked out of their comfort zone and have reached out to us not even knowing our pain directly but have been able to partially imagine what it would be like for them if they lost their child and what they would want done for themselves and for those individuals, I cannot thank God enough because it really means the world to us and helps us to cope every single day as we deal with that huge void in our family. For the gross majority though, our son's death is over for them and their worlds have gone on spinning as if nothing has changed, and for them it hasn't. Part of me would be lying if I said I was not jealous for the naive lives they now lead and yearn for my own piece of that like I had before my life was forever changed.

Following his death we were in so much shock and the immediate pain is like being in a car accident and being placed in the ICU on all sorts of life supporting equipment and being paralyzed. The road ahead is long and you will just never be the same even though the pain you feel will eventually change, it never goes away completely from something like that. You have your visitors to the hospital who are all praying for you but eventually while on the road to recovery, you are often times left with a small core of people and even strangers, like physical therapists and others, just to depend on survival and learning how to do it all over again. This is the life of a bereaved parent...we will never be the same and have to find comfort in others who have been where we are in order to just make it from day to day...often times these people are complete strangers and faces we will never see in person.

Initially we had people who made meals for our family but if I am honest there were more people who did that sort of thing for my grandparents death than for that of our son. I had really thought we would have had more support there than what we did. A good chunk of the people were there more for my mom than for Hugh and I and were the same group of family that showed up for my grandparents funerals. I watched and help with a local family where the mom died and part of me was jealous of the outpouring to this family as they did not have to make meals for months following her death because so many people pitched in. In our case, that really was not what had happened and having to function after the death of a child when you have other children is just almost impossible but something you have no choice in. We did have a few people make some meals following his death and I cannot tell you how grateful I was for those few here and there.

Somewhere along the way however I learned that it was my own personal wishes and expectations that I had placed on so many others and that I had failed them by doing so. For a long time I had a lot of heartache that also came with disappointment in so many others and it just ate at me in a bad way. I wanted people to recognize my pain and give the same support that they did to others but did not realize that often times others just cannot live up to our own personal expectations and limitations that we put on them. Yes it is sad and I'd be lying if I said it didn't hurt but I have also learned that there is a greater appreciation in those who do go out of the way to make a difference in your life even now, months later. On occasions I have asked others to let me know how much he meant to them by just writing down a memory or a short statement of how he changed them and gotten nothing or just one or two. People don't realize the true need of a bereaved parent, to know that their child made a difference in this world and when others don't see your pain you feel invisible and the pain is even much greater.

Personally I am going through a tough time as we say goodbye to our home and move forward without him in our lives. Change isn't bad and I believe this is really where we are meant to be but it doesn't make it any easier. In fact, the whole situation is harder than ever anticipated on my part. I actually have come to hate the phrase "Let me know what you need done or if I can help" It is an easy way for someone to let themselves off the hook and feel as if they have done something or have a way to say I told you to let me know when you don't call but are just generally frustrated by a situation. I can barely breath and often times don't know what it is that I need, how in the world am I suppose to figure all that out and find time in the middle of it all to call you and ask you for your help or to see if it fits in your schedule? Prior to all of this I said the same thing and really meant it without realizing that what the person needs is for you to take the initiative and just watch the kids, make a meal, leave a little thinking of you note, or just be there in any capacity. It has become such a meaningless phrase over the years for so many of us and we mean it however don't ever take the initiative to react and do something for someone in need who doesn't even realize they are in need.

All of this said, I personally have been struggling with George's loss a lot lately. God I miss that little boy with all of my heart. Our family lives each day with a missing part and that is truly the hardest thing ever. We are constantly on the go to make all the moving stuff happen but by the time we have a moment it is in bed where the emotions just come rushing in. Not talking about or ignoring the pain just really makes it much greater. George's birthday coming up does not help any and part of me just keeps thinking of it and how hard the last one was and how much harder this one is going to be. When I feel lost and lonely, I miss him the most...he knew my heart like no other and even without speaking,spoke to my heart. After you find that sort of thing, it is the hardest thing to loose. The pain never goes away, it just changes. If you know someone who has lost a child, no matter the time that has gone by, let them know you are thinking of them and their child by a note or a meal or just anything, it will mean the world to them I can promise you that!

For Those Of You Who Believe You Could Lose Your Child Tomorrow and Still Be Who You Are Today

In response to those who have not lost their child yet believe they could and would grieve a certain way, at certain times, would schedule it around their lives and ultimately get over it and move on, I wrote the following:

Time moves on. It always has and it forever will.

What you do not understand, is that a lost parent does not move on with time. Like an antique watch, whose owner forgot to wind it and its gears ground to a halt, a lost parent stops at that moment in time, however, no winding will ever begin the gears turning again.

Nature, and the cycle of life, prepares you for the death of your grandparents, your parents, aunts and uncles and even siblings and partners. Nature, along with the cycle of life, says that time stands still for no one and naturally we live, learn, love, grow old and ultimately die. This is natural and expected and so we are somewhat prepared. This is life and everyone dies.

Everyone but your child...

The cycle of life says that a child buries their parent. Period. Even though children die everyday, still, it only happens to others, not to me, not to mine. Your heart says that it is an impossibility. And even after the impossible has happened, your heart and mind refuse to accept it. Why? Because it is not natural. It is not a normal part of the cycle of life.

Do we not create our children? Do we not physically and even emotionally create our children? Are they not true, physical extensions of our own being? How do you think you could possibly go on and be the same as you were if half of yourself is dead?

Why is it so hard for some parents who have not lost a child to understand? Why do some of you insist on pretending you know and can relate to what we are going through and what we feel? Why do you assume you would act any differently? Why is it so easy for you to assume that we can and should just get over it and move on? How can you believe that it is even possible let alone probable?

If you have a bereaved parent in your life and you believe that he or she needs to get over it and move on after a little bit of time has passed, please do something for them:

Look at your child today. Stop what you are doing and thinking and take a moment to really look at your son or daughter, no matter how old or how young they are. Close your eyes and imagine, really and completely imagine, never again for as long as you live seeing their beautiful face, their incredible smile, the mystery in their eyes. Imagine, never again, not for as long as you breathe wrapping your arms around them and giving them a hug. Imagine, really think about it and imagine, never, not even if you live to be one hundred years old, never again hearing the music of their voice say, "I love you mom" or "I love you dad."

Try, really try to image planning your child's funeral and then standing there next to a gaping hole dug into the Earth while your child's casket sits there waiting to be lowered into it and then buried.

Really try to picture yourself in a cemetery, kneeling over your child’s grave on Mother's or Father's Day, talking to and kissing a headstone that lies over your child's Earthly vessel. Or speaking to an urn that carries your son or daughter's ashes!

And for those of you who believe that our dead children are in a better place, answer this one question to yourself and answer it honestly:

If it were possible, would you trade your child for one of ours because they are in such a better place?

I personally do not find even the tiniest bit of comfort in that thought, and it is not because I do not believe in God! It is because Larry was just beginning his life. He was young, healthy, happy and just starting to live life. There was still sooooo very much he had to experience and he was just on the verge of spreading his wings and flying.

Please do not expect a bereaved parent to magically wake up one morning and be returned to the person they once were. It cannot and will not happen. It is an impossibility.

I met a friend last week who lost his son TEN years ago. His words to me were this, "We are heading into our tenth year without Jason but it is still as raw today as it was then. It never gets easier."

Do not think you would know what to do with, or just exactly how you would handle, the pain and sorrow of being a lost parent. Even those of us who belong to this horrid, unwanted club do not know these things. We just do our best to get to the next moment, and that is all we need to do...

Tammy Brown - Larry's Mom

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