George's Guardian's of Grace Projects
Saturday, October 22, 2011
We got to camp and Richard got his big buddy back from last year and we were so happy since he really connected with this young man since he too lost his brother. Many of the kids have lost a parent so camp tries to match these kids up with someone who had a similar loss and Richard's "Big" totally connected with him. He is away at college and they did not think he was going to come back but he did and I can't wait to see him and thank him...it is like he is becoming a part of our family. Actually, when you go there it feels like everyone there is just one big family, the kids, the parents, and the staff. I have never experience this type of love and understanding anywhere and I thank God for letting me find this wonderful camp.
They had done a camp for adults last year but the funding was not there this year for it. We parents all felt the need for it and I began to brainstorm some ideas. I may actually try to get a hold of the local SIDS groups and see if maybe we could work in conjunction with Comfort Zone to hold an adult camp for people who have lost their children to unknown reasons. It is something we need so desperately so we can get through some of our own issues so we can attend to those in our life who we are responsible for like our children. So ofter we just don't have any more of ourselves to give when the regular world collides with our world of grief. When I brought this up, they said they would be willing to work with me, so now it is going to be a lot of work on my part to make this happen but I feel it will be so great for so many.
The parent meeting ended and Hugh, Gabby, and I headed home. We did not have to take this mom back to the hotel so we went the way we had gone before up to camp. On the way home we finally got into an area I had recognized. At first I couldn't remember why I knew the area and then it hit me, wham like a brick wall. It was the route I had taken just days before George died to get him a medication for his reflux. His pulmonologist had prescribed him a medicine that needed to be compounded and the insurance wouldn't cover it and I had to find a place that was willing to make it for him. New Hope pharmacy was where I had to go and was about an hour away and the medication cost $75. We didn't really have the money but there was no way I was not about to wait to fight with the insurance company, he needed it and if I had to walk the world I would have done so.
George died only a few days later. When the police went through my house they took this medication to check it. Along with the medication they took all sorts of things from his room and even his baby formula. I will never forget coming home to his room being taken apart and they took his things...it was like stabbing me a second time. For some reason, I had to remake his bed with another crib sheet since they took his sheet and blanket and I could not bear to look at his empty crib any longer. After I made it, I slumped to the floor in front of his crib and just clutched the last few pictures that were given to us at the hospital and cried, not even able to believe what had just transpired that day and how in an instant the world I knew was gone. All of these things rushed through my head once I realized where I was. Coming home and finding all his things gone had hurt so bad and months later after they finished their investigation, there was that medicine, among the things we got back from the police. I just started to cry on the way home as my heart ached for my son, even though I have a peace in my heart now, nothing can ever stop the pain and moments like that.
We got back to the house and gave my mom the details from our evening. Gabby had gone with us and was all over the floor since she was tired of being cooped up in the van. She is a curious little thing and found the one bucket that had some medical supplies in it without it's lid. Being her nosy little self, she bee lined it over to the bucket and of course knocked it down. I started to pick up all the things that fell out and just stopped when I picked up a piece of plastic...it was George's baby bracelet from the hospital. That was enough for me for the day and I just cried as I pieced it where we had cut it from his wrist the day he got to come home after being born. Tears just rolled down my cheeks and I rubbed it in my fingers as if it was like rubbing his little hand. Hugh walked over and looked at me and without saying anything and tears running down my face I handed him the bracelet. Without a word he just hugged me close to him...he knew I was just hurting inside and missing my little monkey. Even now as I write this, tears are welling up again. I always thought that finding this inner peace would help the pain but it really doesn't.
Today I have kind of been out of sorts and lit the candles on his mantle and looked at his picture sort of in disbelief that this is really my life. I know I am blessed but that doesn't always cover up all the pain from all that I have been through. Hugh is busy working all day today so I think that doesn't help either. I rely so much on him on so many levels. He truly is my rock and I don't know what I would do if he was not in my life. Even though others don't always see him as a wonderful person, he will be nothing less than that to me. He loves me and the kids unconditionally and would give his life for us and I can honestly say he is my best friend...I may not have many friends but I now look at it as if I am the luckiest person in the world because I have Hugh. When everyone else has not understood or been there, he has no matter the circumstances and gives of himself unconditionally and loves me for who I am. If nothing else, God has truly blessed me with this sort of love, the love that so many people yearn for and never find. I have found a love like no other!
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Yesterday, for the first time in a long time I sat down and looked at George's pictures and this time shared them with Gabrielle. She sat quietly on my lap pointing at the pictures and smiling as we watched the photo montage on here. So often I sign in and hurry to just click new post and avoid the pictures because they have always made me sad. When he first died all I could do was look at pictures of him but as time went on it was too painful to even glance at them. The cups I bought with his pictures on, I would totally avoid and I would actually wash out another one before even using the one with his pictures. When I first got them, I used it every single time I had coffee or tea. When they talk about the valley of the shadow of death, they don't ever mention how dark and deep it can be and how very lost you can feel in it all.
Every single day I was plagued by the horrible memories of his death and could not even think about him without feeling as if I was being tortured to death. Throughout the day I would just pray to God to help me get through those moments when I wanted to just lay down and die myself. Yes, I had plenty to live for and knew I am truly blessed but the pain from George's death was so immense that it took over every single part of me. When others didn't seem to remember him or would just avoid mentioning him it would hurt so bad and I felt the need to let it know how disappointed I was in the support we were getting, or lack there of from others. Those feelings were real and at times warranted however somewhere in there I forgot that only I can make myself happy.
If others aren't supportive that doesn't mean I have to stop doing things in his memory or remembering him and loving him. I will proudly carry him in my heart and share him with those who care to take the time to show an interest in his life and our story but I refuse to try and make him mean as much to others as he does to me because I finally realized that is impossible. When others would not do anything or go out of their way on his special days, I was always hurt because I had put expectations on them and had hoped they would do what I needed. It would be nice of others but even if they don't, I have decided to no longer be disappointed in them because it just adds to the hurt. I am his mommy and that love is unique and was so special between the two of us and I really need to focus on that and be so thankful that I could love him the way I did and show him love while he was here. With him only being 4 and a half months old, not many knew him the way I did, I had an additional 9 months that no one else had so there is just a unique bond there and by allowing the feelings of others letting me down, I didn't realize in a way it was like letting George down.
Hugh had a rough day yesterday morning. He was heading to work and at 6:30am the phone here at my parents rang. I answered it with a lump in my throat thinking all the horrible things that could meet me on the other end of the phone since no one calls that early unless something is wrong. My heart and mind raced to my niece Mallory or that Hugh got into a horrible car accident or something of that nature. I was relieved to find that Hugh was calling to make sure that Richard was up for school...deep in his voice I could tell that something was wrong and there was something more to the phone call. As soon as I asked him if he was ok, the hysteria going on in his head found its way to his mouth as he begged me to just check on Michael. For whatever reason, he was having a panic attack and I started to talk him down from it, letting him know that it was ok to feel that way and I kept him on the phone as I checked each child for his peace of mind. With that he just broke down in tears and my heart just went out to him because I knew that feeling all too well since I get them quite often. Those moments are just torture to a heart already in such pain.
As I sat there walking him through this very difficult moment, I thought of myself and my own feelings that I have been battling since George died. It really put things in perspective for me and as the day went on, there were little things happening that all made me begin to rethink my feelings and work through them in my mind. Gabrielle had a lot to do with this feeling of peace too. She is getting her teeth and is very clingy and only wants me to hold her. When it really bothers her she will put her little head on my shoulder and start to say "awe awe awe awe" This simple little act just melts my heart but yesterday made me think of how George used to tuck himself under my chin when he was not feeling well and just cuddle up with me. I closed my eyes as I held Gabrielle and found myself thanking God in a way that I had never done before. It was a feeling of knowing what a wonderful blessing this little being was and I was truly grateful for being able to do that with George too and instead of feeling cheated of this I was so thankful for the moments I had with him and am even more than before when Gabrielle does this. Suddenly, a feeling of thankfulness for God walking with me and carrying me when the pain became to much for me to walk. Had he left me on my own, I know I wouldn't have been able to enjoy those little moments in a way that I do now.
I really do believe he used that time of complete darkness to get me to trust him and allow him to be my eyes. Faith is nothing simple to have, and often times is easier said than done. Every day my relationship with God changes as he leads me to the place he wants me to be in my life. During this time, he ministered to my heart and cared for my wounds that no one else could tend to. By allowing this, he also worked through me to forge deeper relationships with some people and see the true colors of others. In all of this, he showed me how strong I truly am and really changed my perspective on things in this world. I always go back to the bible reading that we chose for George's funeral that talked about going forth to a mansion in heaven with many rooms. That passage was not one most people choose and yet it spoke to my heart and even more so the past few days. I know George is already there waiting and he is safe there and I am sure he has that beautiful smile on his face that I miss so much here.
Last but not least was a moment with Gabrielle I will probably never forget and was taken back by how something so simple could impact my life forever. Gabby has some odd love to drink from a regular cup especially ice water. She always makes a mess and is still really getting the hang of it but I usually just suck it up and let her have it and clean the mess later. This time was no different than any other however her facial expression was just priceless to me. She reacted just like George did when he was alive and excited about something. I had never seen her do this before and although she has looked like him before this time it was as if he was shining through her eyes and telling me to just love her and know he is with us. It was probably the most profound moment in my life, in terms of changing me for the rest of my life.
She is getting so big and often times when I would look at her I would wonder what George would have looked like or done had he lived. In this one moment it was like I got that glimpse but also a nudge on my heart from him to say just enjoy this for what it is and don't allow your heart to be filled with sadness for what I was not able to do. He will forever be the age he was when he died to me but somehow I found some sort of acceptance in that simple gesture she made to know it was ok be happy and although I will have bad days where I will miss my little boy. Somehow in all of these moments I found a way to look at the good stuff with him and the blessings of life again in a way I have not had in such a long time.
God lifted my heart from the darkness into the light and for that I will forever be grateful. My son has taught me so much in life and has made me a stronger person then I ever thought I could be. I thank God for him and the joy and love that I have for my little monkey just brings tears to my eyes but now they are not just of pain, they are tears of joy for all he has done for me in my life even in heaven. There is this compassion and general acceptance for the way that things are in life that I never had before and it is something I wish everyone had because it makes the horrible and tough times easier to handle. I have learned to trust God in a way I never have before and just place it all in his hands and know I am allowing him to use me as his tool to do his work no matter how much I may or may not want to or even think I am not capable of doing. Somehow, the one thing I never thought I would be able to ever do, I have found a way to do just through a few simple moments in life. I have learned to live here on Earth and LOVE my little monkey in heaven.
Monday, October 17, 2011
As the holiday season approaches, we are reminded of God's sacrifice for us and the blessing we were given on Christmas when he sent his only son to Earth. Having lost a child myself, I know this was no easy task and know how truly great that sacrifice really is. That being said, each year our family tries to do something special to help those less fortunate. We struggle ourselves and often need assistance to provide Christmas for the kids but we never forget that there are always those who are in an even tougher place. Our church serves dinner to the homeless in Camden once a month. As the weather gets colder and the economy gets worse, they are in even more need now then ever before.
How many of you walk to your closet each day to decide what shoes you will wear or coat you will wear? There are so many that don't even have the option because they don't own anything to keep them warm. Our family has decided to put together a drive to collect coats, shoes, blankets, and hats/gloves that will be taken to Camden to bring warmth to those less fortunate. Each year we want to do something special in George's memory to help others during the holiday season. If you happen to have some shoes you don't wear, old blankets, coats your kids have outgrown or ones you don't wear, we will gladly take them off your hands. These items can be any size, for male/female, or adults/children's. There is such a great need for these things as each night gets colder heading into the winter months ahead.
Please contact me if you have items that we can put to use. We are going to call those who do things in George's memory "George's Guardians of Grace" and this drive all items will be taken to St. Paul's soup kitchen in Camden. If you would like to even go further and volunteer your time to help serve, once a month our church goes as a group to help and they are in the process of redoing the kitchen are are holding a fundraiser at the Mansion in Voorhees. Should you like more information or if you would like to help out in anyway please don't hesitate to contact us.
Forgive me, Friend
If I don’t seem there—
If I seem a little distant
Or you think I don’t care.
My child has died
It’s hard to explain
My down-an-out days
When I don’t respond
Or I seem in a daze
My child has died.
I seem to be happy
When I suddenly cry—
The emotion overpowers me,
Hard as I try.
My child has died
So forgive me, My Friend,
When I can’t seem to give.
I’m doing all I can
Just to get up and live.
My child has died.
~ Gretchen Warren
TCF, Solano County, CA
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!