Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Walk with Angels

April 16, 2011
Its Alumni weekend, so I haven't seen much of your poor daddy lately. He stays really busy this time of year and it all comes down to this weekend for him. Today was a beautiful day. We've been having some pretty amazing weather. Carolina blue skies, a gorgeous breeze, I am loving my walks lately with Beatrice. They are very therapeutic for me.
My walk today was absolutely miraculous. It still brings tears to my eyes as I write. I was brainstorming more ideas about the balloon launch. I still want to do it just for you, baby boy. I can invite just family and closest friends. That's all I think I want for this year. I want it to be really special. For some reason, I still have that lingering nudge to make it public.
It was very breezy on my walk, but it certainly didn't hinder Miss Bea. As we were walking the breeze caught a flower blossom and it rolled and skipped and tossled right beside us for a long time. I immediately thought of you! Are you taking a walk with us, Charles Patrick?
One thing I've always dreamed about is walking my babies in the neighborhood. We live in the perfect place for walks and I've always looked forward to that day. And here you are walking with your momma!
I got so tickled at this little flower blossom. It kept up with my every step. Soon the petal came to a rest and I actually got a little sad. As soon as it did, a little leaf picked up in its place. Hey baby! So we walked some more. Mind you, I never had to lose my stride, you kept right up with me. As soon as the leaf came to a rest, a little stick picked up in its place and rolled and toddled along the sidewalk with us. As the stick came to a rest, nothing picked up in its place. So I stopped walking.
Charles Patrick, are you gone? Come back and walk with mommy. I turned around and faced the wind and that's when I saw them. There were hundreds of leaves and sticks and pebbles and blossoms following me on my walk.
It wasn't just a walk with my son, it was a walk with the hundreds of children and babies in Heaven. It was your testimony to me that you are not the only baby in Heaven. I knew at that moment that my balloon launch needed to honor more than just you, baby boy. It was time to swallow my fears and create a public event. I imagined all those little angelic faces saying, "Please invite my mommy and daddy! I want a love note too!"
I promise you with all my heart that this truly happened. I didn't make any part up. The veil is very thin. I love the relationship I still have with you, sweetheart. You are not gone.

Idea Day

April 5, 2011
Today I call my Idea Day! I have fallen in love with Carly's blog. She is the sweet young lady who does the "Names in the Sand" sunset pictures. She also created a day called International Bereaved Mother's Day. It is the first Sunday each May, so this year it will be on May 1st. On her blog, she encourages others to hold events, even if it is just you and a few friends.
On my walk today with Beatrice, I thought of all the love notes my sweet baby has sent me: the shooting star on our way home from the hospital, the sun coming out from behind the clouds choosing his burial plot, the ladybug on the seashell, and the apple. That's when it hit me: let's send some love notes back!
A balloon launch. We'll write notes to Charles Patrick, roll them up and stick them in the balloons, fill them with helium, and send them to Heaven.
I thought about opening this up to everyone and creating an event on Facebook, but that made my heart flutter. I don't think I'm ready to do something so public yet. I'm still struggling with so much anxiety. I know a lot of people who have lost children who would love to send their babies notes too, but again, I think I'm too scared to create an open event. I don't know. Maybe. Something in my heart says, maybe. Is that you, baby boy? I don't know if I can do it. I'm just not strong enough yet. Maybe next year. But for now, I love brainstorming all these beautiful ideas!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Kisses from Heaven

April 1, 2011
Its our final Friday before Spring Break, so the kids at school were a little wild and crazy. I guess I can't blame them, I'm ready for a break too!! But regardless, it makes a hard day for this teacher. So it wasn't the "greatest" day, yet it wasn't horrible. I was especially missing my little man.... you!
Our afternoon was all out of whack because of Awards Day, so we were just sitting around waiting to be called to the gym for the program. Suddenly, one of my sweetest teacher friends ran into my room and she holds up an apple.

I gasp.
I look at her with my mouth wide open. Inside my head I said, "Its my son!" For some reason, I didn't say it out loud. I was afraid she would think I was crazy. But when I looked back at her and we both had tears in our eyes, I didn't have to say it out loud. We knew it was you, baby boy. I see your sweet messages. This one came loud and clear. 
At our school, we receive a Fresh Fruit and Vegetable grant that gives our sweet students fresh fruit and veggie snacks every day. This apple somehow made it to Mommy's school. This apple made it to Mommy's classroom. Who else would have been so meticulous to get an apple to a teacher? My baby boy, that's who! I am amazed at your miracles. Thank you for reminding me that you are always right here!


March 27, 2011
You know sometimes it would be nice to have pleasant dreams of you. I love the idea of Carly's site. I love her dream that she had and what has come about from her dream. I believe Christian inspired her to do this great thing for all us grieving mommas.
My dreams are different though. I wish so badly that I could have such sweet and pleasant dreams. I guess I have an advantage that I feel so close to you in my day dreams. But I've been cursed with terrible night dreams of you.
I can't write about them. They are difficult to think upon, but I don't dream of you alive if that gives any inclination of what my dreams are like. I guess that's my biggest problem. I have a horrible aversion to the word "dead." I don't want to say it or even think it. I hate that word. You are not dead, you just simply are not alive. My baby was not born dead, you were born sleeping. The word dead just needs to be taken out of existence, don't you think, Bubby? I can't even say the word dead when I'm referring to flowers. This whole grieving process is weird, sweetheart. I sure do miss you.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Names in the Sand"

March 23, 2011
Sunday, while we were at the beach, Carly Marie Dudley, a photographer in Perth, Australia, opened name requests for "Names in the Sand." It is a memorial site for babies in Heaven. She also has a baby boy in Heaven named Christian. Nineteen months after his stillbirth, she dreamed of him playing on the beach. As she approached him, he ran off and had written his name in the sand. At that point, she created this memorial site. She writes an angel's name in the sand and takes a picture of it at sunset. She says,
"At the end of the day, all the children of Heaven come together and paint the colours of the sunset."
On Sunday, I was able to request your name and today the most beautiful sunset is posted on her site. My sweet boy. You're an artist like your mommy and a perfectionist like your daddy. So beautiful. 



Monday, November 26, 2012

The Healing Trip

March 18, 2011
Today is a Tear Soup kind of day. Daddy and I took a spontaneous weekend trip to Surfside Beach for what we call our "Healing Trip." This month has weighed heavy on my mind. March is considered Trisomy Awareness month. Ironically, today, March 18th, is Trisomy 18 Awareness Day (3/18 - 3 copies of 18th chromosome). And here we are going on a beautiful trip. At least I hope it is beautiful. I am sad to leave you baby boy. It is strange how I've become attached to your grave. I visit you every afternoon and I just stare at the little muddy outline of such a tiny grave. It just doesn't seem right to have a grave so tiny. Nobody should have to bury a baby. It has become such a special little place for me. I would have never guessed I would be spending so much time in a cemetery.
But I guess, honestly, there's no need to be sad. You are going on this trip with us. So after school today, we pack our bags and head for the beach. We take the back way, which was a bad idea! We got a little turned around and then our GPS took us to the beach on a small country road that was uninhabited for miles!! My nerves are getting the best of me. I get very nervous being on such quiet roads. You never know when something might go wrong and there's no where to turn to for help. We finally get the keys to our condo and realize there's no water. A midnight phone call to maintenance and the water gets turned on. Mommy and Daddy were so awake at this point, we went and bought our groceries for the weekend and finally hit the hay at 3:00 in the morning. Phew! What a long day. There will be plenty of time for sleep tomorrow, I suppose.

March 19, 2011
BEAUTIFUL DAY! We woke up and got out on the beach early. It is a little breezy, but when your body has craved the sun all winter, its easier to feel the warmth through the breeze. Daddy and I sat on the beach and talked a long time. I love those kinds of conversations with your Daddy. We wished we had our 4-legged baby girl with us. There were not many people out, so I know she would have behaved.
I sat and looked at the beautiful sparkling water and wondered about how different my life would be if you were here. I definitely wouldn't be on the beach getting a "sun tan," but I'd trade it for my boy anyday. I miss you so much. I've called this our "Healing Trip." Its a trip for Mommy and Daddy to be together, away from everyday life, and heal. But no relaxing, beautiful day on the beach would compare to the life I could've had with you. I'd take a recliner in the NICU by my baby's bed over all of this. It would be a hard life, but it would be worth it...
...for you...
You have a big mission to fulfill in Heaven. That, itself, makes me feel like an honored mother. Sadly, it still doesn't change the fact that I just plain miss you. 
As lunchtime rolled around, more people came out. A rambunctious little boy threw his beach toys down right beside us and hollered, "Right here, Mom?!?!?"
His mother yelled back a frustrated, "No!" Heehee. Of all the wide open beach that surrounded us, he was ready to throw his toys down and start playing right next to us. As close as could be. Daddy and I just giggled at him. They went to a more open area and set up camp. I liked watching the kids play. The hyper little guy ran down to the water and goes, "Mom, there's starfish everywhere! There's millions!!"
I waited a little while before I went down to check out the starfish, when what I really wanted to do was jump up and go running to the little boy and say, "Let me see!!!!"
I can be as bad as the kids sometimes. I was amazed at all the starfish. There really were millions; he wasn't lying! I picked one up and held it bottom side up in my hand. Did you know that he has little feelers that line his underbody? What a neat discovery. I imagined discovering this with my curious little angel. I watched his tiny feelers on his underside as they wiggled and squirmed. His little feelers got slower and slower and then stopped. Oh dear, I just killed the starfish. I really am not sure what I was thinking. I don't know if I want to laugh or cry. Luckily, I laughed. I am on a healing trip, recovering from a tragic loss, and here I am killing starfish. Whelp, he's a goner, so I'm keeping him. A sweet little souvie for you, baby boy! Haha!
I take our starfish to Daddy and told him I was going on a walk down the beach. 
This walk on the beach was the most amazing walk I've ever taken. I felt you right by my side. I talked to you as we walked and I could just imagine you stopping and looking at all of the interesting shells, even the ones that really weren't interesting. That's when I saw it. Something I have never seen before. A ladybug was sitting on a seashell. Have you ever seen such a thing? I knew instantly who put that ladybug there for me. He's playing with mommy. I have never seen a ladybug at the beach in my life. Especially right here on the shoreline. After quite a while of marveling over this amazing thing, I told our ladybug goodbye and that's when I noticed the others. There were at least 7 or 8 more ladybugs on the wet, packed sand. My sweet angel, did you think I wouldn't see? Oh, I see you, baby. 
You've opened my eyes.
I couldn't stop smiling as I walked back to Daddy. It was the biggest, most genuine smile I've ever felt. My baby made himself known to me today. He is here, he is right here. 
I get back to our beach blanket and admire my small collection of shells and starfish. What neat discoveries. I imagined discovering these things with my curious little angel. I would have loved to teach you things and teach you how to love and appreciate the Earth. Lots of tender mercies today. And a bit of a tender bottom. I should have known better than to spend so much time in the sun. But I'm still loving every second. 
**On a sad note, back home, a group of children ages 5 to 11 from a local church near and dear to my heart went to a park in Spartanburg to ride the train for its first run of the season. The train derailed and took the life of the pastor's 5 year old son. Twenty others were hospitalized. My heart is broken. And just like that, the sick feeling is back. My heart aches for each of them. Especially that sweet momma.**

March 21, 2011
We're headed home from the beach today. Yesterday was much too chilly to get back out on the beach. We just went shopping around Broadway at the Beach. We got home today around 1:00ish. I went straight to the cemetery to visit you. It was a beautiful sunny day. I took you your starfish and placed it at your grave. It sits with your dinosaur snow globe from Aunt Summer and your secret valentine. I realized that this is not a "Healing Trip" but a "Healing Journey." I realized I will never fully heal, and I found some peace with that truth. Before, I wanted my wounds to heal because I don't like that sicky, sad feeling. I realized that I'll always have the scar from my wound. Yes, it heals, but you'll always remember and you'll always have those sicky, tear soup days. But I'm going to be okay. You are right here, baby boy. I can almost smell your sweet baby breath in the breeze. I found some healing and each day I'll find more, but the truest, complete healing will come the day we meet again. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012


February 21, 2011
One of the most thankful ideas that I received from a fellow mother of an angel was the pinwheel. You have two matching pinwheels. One is in our front yard by the tree that you like to "play" beside. The other is by your grave. It connects us. I love that feeling.
Today is a windy day. This makes me smile a big smile. I wonder if your pinwheel is blowing? Maybe you are proud of me for being brave at my first day back at school. It was a great morning with the kids. I visited your grave right after school and boy oh boy were you blowing hard! 
I wanted to cry and be sad. I don't want to cry to others, I'm certain they are tired of it. But I don't want to cry alone, it makes me feel out of control. Instead I just hold it in. Ugh, sometimes that just makes you feel worse. 

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