Missing our baby boy

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Friday, April 23, 2010


As I sit here with tears streaming down my face, I can’t help but go over the grieving process…as I live the revival of the grieving process.

Yesterday was seven months to the day marking our loss. I’ve tried to let the day go – it’s not fair, to me or the memory of my son if I relive his passing each month.

Easier said than done.

That is the rational side of me. The side that says it’s normal to miss him and still grieve, but not to watch each month slowly tick by with each passing of the 22nd. The side that tells me I have a family that needs me to be okay, that I have a living son that needs his mother.

The mother side of me is slipping back to those first few months. The pain is intense again, and I have thoughts I wouldn’t dare murmur out loud. I’m angry and devastated all over again. And I miss our son so much that I just want to lay down, pull the covers over my head, close my eyes and cry until there’s nothing left.

I knew the grief would come in waves. I thought it would be shorter waves. I didn’t think I would be kicked back to the beginning at this point, but that’s where I find myself.

I hate this life and this reality. I hate the way I feel. I miss my son. I miss him so much. We feel him gone every day…I feel him gone every second of every day.

It’s like my heart is breaking all over again.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Today, I wish...

Today I just miss my little man...so much that I hurt all over, centering in my heart.

Today, I just wish I had held him...just once, for just one memory.

Today, I wish I had run my finger over the soft skin of his face, so I could have the memory of him imbedded in my skin.

Today, I wish I had just once put my face to his tiny head and breathed in his scent, so at night when I lay down I can imagine, for just a moment, that I have a piece of him with me…if only a memory.

Today, I wish I had nuzzled his hair, memorized each strand as it touched my cheek, so I could remember how it felt when I feel like I have nothing left.

Today, for the first time, I wish I had been stronger in the moment I needed to be.

Today, not for the first time, I hate myself for being weak and not wanting to look reality in the face.

Today, I just wish I could have that moment back. The only moment I had. The only moment I would ever have. The moment I can’t ever have again.

Today, I live and breathe regret with everything that is in me.

Nothing gold can stay

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

As I look up to the skies above...

As I look up to the skies above,
The stars stretch endlessly--
But somehow all those rays of light
Seem dimmer now to me.
As I watch the morning sun appear,
The shadows still don't fade—
As if the brightest light of all
Was somehow swept away.

Though I see the branches swaying,
And watch their dancing leaves--
The echoes carried on the wind
Don't sound the same to me.
As I listen to the morning birds
Sing softly from afar--
It seems to be a mournful tune
That echoes in my heart.

Another day has come again,
As time moves surely on--
But nothing now seems quite the same,
To know that you are gone.
The days and weeks and months ahead
Will never be the same--
Because a treasure beyond words
Can never be replaced.

The loss cannot be measured now,
The void cannot be filled--
And though someday the grief may fade,
Your mark will live on still.
For even with my heavy heart,
I know that I've been blessed
To have been the one who's life was touched
With warmth so infinite.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I’ll start this blog off with a warning – there will be triggers, particularly for those trying to conceive.

I’ve not once hidden my feelings on here, so it would be a shame to start now. It would defeat the entire purpose of this blog, anyway.

I discovered on Friday that John and I are pregnant again. This was unplanned, as we had decided to wait a few more months to actively try and had, these last few months, taken extra care to not get pregnant.

Nature found a way, despite the fact that I don’t feel ready.

I think I’m still in shock – days later – and haven’t fully digested the information. In my plan, I had a few months to mentally gear up, maybe look at baby things and get in the spirit – it’s hard not to get excited while looking at adorable little girl dresses, tiny baby boy shoes and all the neat toys and accessories that are out now. Then we would start trying, I would buy pregnancy tests, get excited at the tiniest hint of nausea and figure out a creative way to tell John when we got our positive.

My plans never work out…should have seen that one coming.

I feel almost guilty writing this – there are so many mommies-to-be out there who don’t get the opportunity to discover an unplanned pregnancy, many women who suffer repeated miscarriages, and those who have difficulty carrying their children to term.

But, this is about me. So, with a respectful nod of acknowledgement to those unfortunate women out there who struggle with similar issues, I’m forging ahead with what I feel.

Which is funny, because I am unsure of how I feel. I really don’t know. I’m not elated, excited or exactly happy. I don’t feel pregnant in the way that I should – morning sickness, dizziness and a strong sense of smell are all present. The joy is missing. The grief is still there.

I knew I would be grieving for Brayden still, be it a month or year or ten years from now. I didn’t expect it to absolutely eclipse any happiness I would have in a future pregnancy. I didn’t expect to receive congratulations with a frozen smile and a not-so-believable lie about how I’m excited, too.

Because I’m not excited, and it breaks my heart to say that.

I really hate that I feel this way. I’ve been trying to shake it, doing everything in my power to change my way of thinking. Nothing is working. I feel less than happy – in fact, I feel almost nothing. Void. Empty. If I’m honest with myself, I don’t expect this pregnancy to carry out – like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I would suppose those feelings are normal. I would also suppose that it’s me just protecting me on some level I don’t understand and can’t change. It doesn’t mean I like it – I just don’t get it. It’s not fair to the new baby, and it’s not fair to me.

John is more than excited, which lifts me up just a little. To see him so happy after what we’ve been through means the world to me. Why, then, can’t I be that happy? I just feel…nothing.

It’s only been six months, but it’s been a lifetime. I’m not scared like I’d thought I’d be. I’m not nervous. I’m not anything. I’m here, and I’m pregnant. That’s about the extent of my thoughts at this point.

I’m not sure how to snap out of this. I just feel…sad. What’s wrong with me?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Daddy's grieve, too

I’ve been so focused on my own grief, I haven’t really given much thought to my husband.

He was the strong one when we lost Brayden. He fielded the visitors and phone calls. He made arrangements with the funeral home. He made sure I had plenty of ice and pressed on my stomach when I coughed or sneezed. He squeezed in the hospital bed and let me cry and cry when I couldn’t sleep and needed his arms around me. When he wasn’t doing that, he slept in the fold out chair beside my bed and didn’t leave my side.

When we got home, he ran the errands into town so I wouldn’t have to go. He made arrangements before I got home to have the nursery door secured shut, so I wouldn’t once have to walk by it and see it empty. He learned how to cook entire meals, pack lunches, do laundry, and shower and dress a third grader. He endured buckets of my tears without shedding any of his own.

He put up with my listlessness and sporadic bouts of sadness, grief and anger while being my rock. He never complained. He never got thanked. I asked him a few times why he didn’t cry – the responses usually varied between “guys grieve differently” to “I suppose it wasn’t real to me yet”.

These last few months have been difficult for us. While I’m nowhere near being over my grief, having to go back to work so soon after losing our son was very hard for me. I was a little resentful, even though it wasn’t John’s fault. It was a practical decision for our family. Still, it hurt to go.

I’ve seen a change in John these last two or so months. He’s ranged from clingy to angry at the slightest thing, and I had told myself that it was the transition from being a full time worker to nothing – it’s big change, and takes serious adjusting.

A few weeks ago, he added drinking to the list. The man I married was never a drinker. He would get angry, drink and pick a fight…usually over something small. A few times he left, coming back hours later even more angry. I just didn’t understand it, but I put up with it for a while.

It all came to a head last week. We had a fight to end all fights, and I seriously considered that maybe we were done, or at the very least needed to a separation. It was all just getting to be too much to handle. I was stressed as well, and thought he was acting rather selfish with no thought to our family.

The other night, the day after we had our biggest fight of our marriage, we talked. That’s one thing we have always been able to do until recently. We stopped really talking to each other about the things that matter – how we feel and how we are truly doing. I had a list of bottom lines I was going to hand to him, things that needed to stop, and behaviors that needed to change. I was prepared to hear a list of his own, and ready and willing to see if we could come to a meeting point to make things work.

What I got during our conversation was a surprise. I walked away feeling ashamed of myself for not giving him what he needed, as he tried to do for me. For not keeping in mind that I’m not the only one who lost a child here, but rather one half of a whole that did.

Don’t get me wrong on this – he still acted like an ass. It doesn’t excuse his behavior. It just explains it.

I asked him what was wrong, and he started right in with all of his gripes. Our 9 year-old son back-talking too much was irritating him. My attitude wasn’t the best after work, he wanted me to smile more and hated that he couldn’t make me. He didn’t feel like he could control our situation or contribute to our family. He was frustrated and he felt useless. He couldn’t do anything getting a job when there were none to be had.

He couldn’t change the fact that our son was gone forever.

At that point, his face crumpled and he completely lost it. For the first time since we lost Brayden, he cried. And cried and cried. Sobbed while he talked.

He wished he had made me go to the hospital sooner…three days, he said. If he could go back and change it, he would make sure we went in three days before we heard no heartbeat.

He said he hated that our doctor was always on vacation and never there for appointments or our delivery. If he had been around, maybe he would have known something was wrong.

He cried when he talked about his friend with three beautiful boys, and said that was suppose to be his life…OUR life…and it was unfair and wrong that we were denied our chance to have it.

I wrapped my arms around him, completely stunned that all of this was pouring out of him. Of course, I was crying at that point, too. As he cried into my shoulder, he kept saying, “That was my boy….he was my boy…my son.”

And I let him cry while I told him it was going to be okay. I didn’t realize how ready John was to be a father until that point. I’m unsure of when he realized it himself.

The last few months, I really envied John his cool head. I felt very alone in my grief, and resented the fact that he didn’t join me. I thought Brayden didn’t mean as much to him as he did me, and took him at his word that it just didn’t feel real. Turns out, he didn’t feel that he could join me in my grief...so, he put his own sadness aside until I was on my feet again.

I read that men process their grief differently, and that in some cases they will realize their grief months after the fact. I don’t know at what point I stopped thinking that applied to my husband.

I don’t know at what point I forgot I was one half of a whole, that his needs became non-existent or that he even had any.

We ended our conversation with promises, and feeling closer to each other than we had in months.

And I slept better that night than I had in a long time.

I don't know what the future holds for us; but, right now I'm more than ready to find out. Because I know we'll do it together.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


We had our son cremated. Neither my husband or I have family plots at the cemetery and I couldn’t stand the thought of Brayden being buried all alone in the cold and the dark. Besides, I’ve always had healthy dislike for cemeteries…they are so sad to me. I didn’t want my baby in a place I felt was warped in sadness…our situation was sad enough. So, that left us with little option given the way we felt.

Now, we are faced with what to do with his cremains (the proper term for cremated remains). There are a number of things we can do. We discussed and discarded having his ashes made into diamonds – completely inappropriate, and just a tad weird in my opinion. We talked about placing them in the ground and planting a tree – which was our original idea, but we are unsure if we will rebuild or move in the future, and I don’t want Brayden to be left behind if we decide to go.

And right now, I really hate that he’s in a little box.

When my mother passed away, my grandmother kept her ashes in a box on our fireplace mantel. For over twenty years, that’s where it stayed. I’m not okay with that. I don’t think it’s healthy – remember your loved ones, but let them go.

We talked about having a little memorial and spreading his remains in a beautiful spot on a mountain or in the river. The thought clogs up my throat and makes me panic. I would literally have nothing left if we did that. Nothing of him left, just things that were intended for him.

I found a couple websites that make beautiful jewelry that hold tiny amounts of ash or hair – they seal closed, so you can keep a small piece of your loved one with you forever. I’m considering it, as it would let us have a memorial service and I would still have a tiny piece of him to keep with me (literally, as morbid as it is). Deep down, I don’t think I’ll do that either. I don’t want his ashes hanging from a chain on my neck.

I’m not one to create a shrine of him in our home. I won’t make a mantel and put his things there and torture myself by looking at it everyday. That would be too hard, and again, unhealthy for me.

So, I’m still left with very little options. Maybe I’m just not ready to let him go.

Maybe I never will be.

I won’t let him sit in that little box for much longer. I have a decision to make, and with summer almost here…little time before our window of opportunity closes on us.