Sam is an angel that was brought into my life. Here is our journey back home...

Sam is an angel that was brought into my life. Here is our journey back home...

Sunday, April 29, 2012

In his memory

We are finally home after driving 370 miles, one way, to Faith's Lodge in northern Wisconsin. We had very different plans this time when we went. We went there to volunteer and participate in a tree planting in honor of Sam.

We arrived Friday early evening, tucked into our hotel in a neighboring town and the anticipation began. I  always get so excited when I have a chance to talk or go to Faith's Lodge. Lucas and I have found so much peace there. When we went in November we were there just the two of us for a week away from reality shortly after we lost Sam. I wrote about it here.

This time was different, we had Michalina with us.

She was elated with joy to be able to go to Wisconsin to see Faith's Lodge. She wanted to see where mommy and daddy stayed when we were "in Wisconsin". She was ready to go in her adorable shirt I made for her, special for the tree-planting occasion. A shirt that says, "My little Brother's an Angel"
I would love these shirts to be a part of Sam's Promise.
Once we arrived, Michalina was prepared to tell every one about her brother and tear her coat off to show her t-shirt to anyone who would look her way and listen. It still amazes me how much of a proud sister she could still be to a brother that is not even here. 

After I gave Michalina her much anticipated tour, Lucas noticed the pier sitting on shore. He of course could't wait to jump out of the car and tell Evelyn that he will do the pier. He suited up and began lugging what he needed to be in his glory of pier work.
The day was filled with love and hope of families who have all said good-bye way too soon. There was a brief beginning ceremony and the planting began. We headed to our spot to plant our Silver Maple that was assigned to us and began digging. Okay, I din't do any digging, Lucas did all the dirty work. I maintain the 4 year old that was not as into the tree-planting as I has hoped. 
Sam's tree is on a hill next to the lodge amongst many other tree's all in honor of a child or baby that has left this world too soon. Being surrounded by people that know exactly how you feel and how your life has been changed forever is something I have a hard time putting into words. Comfort. 

Spending a weekend with mothers, fathers, and siblings that know what it is like to be blind-sided by the most traumatic event is incredible. We had many conversations with parents where we exchanged stories, the feeling you get from these parents is normalcy, comfort, and understanding. Lucas and I were talking and we agreed that we can talk with parents like us and not sit in the uncomfortableness of feeling sorry for us or people staring at you trying to figure out what life must be like in two seconds you allow them to stare you down. 

Hope is what Faith's Lodge offers. Hope and Peace.

Here are a few news clips from the event. They were featured on Minneapolis news stations the night of the event. If you look closely on the channel 4 news clip you can see us behind the couple by Sam's tree. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Just when I thought...

Just when I thought I was through this part of grief, it hit me like a ton of bricks tonight. Strangers no nothing of Sam's existence.

Tonight I had Mom's Night at Michalin's preschool. We had a blast! She was so excited to show me all the work she does throughout the day. Moving from on thing to the other. Hopping all over the place in excitment.

As I sit there and watch her in her glory and glomming with pride, I sit there wanting to scream. I scan the room and begin to notice the mom's. The mom's that are ready to pop with their newborn babies at any moment. The mom's that are proud to put their bellies out there for all to see. The mom's with their preschooler's sibling in tow. The mom's juggling the unmanageable time between their preschooler and toddler that is starving for mommy's attention.

I try to remain focused on the reason I am there. Michalina. She needs a mom that is inthralled with all that she is doing. A mom that is free of grief. A mom that is free from the pain.

I struggle to give that to her. Even when I know it is what she deserves. My mind wanders. My heart begins to slowly crumble.

I desperately want to inform each and every one of those moms, Michalina is not my only child. I have a son in heaven. He was born in May. If he were alive he would be here too. 

I sit there in silence. Struggling to maintain focus on the sunshine in my world. She looks at me with innocent eyes, eyes that are suffering too. But she doesn't know it. She is unaware of the difference between her friends younger siblings and hers. Unaware that most babies don't live in heaven. Unaware that she has an angel next to her.

Why do I continue to feel the need to prove Sam's existence. To strangers. What do they care about my tragic loss? Would they care? Should they care? Do I look as different as I feel? Can a stranger see my pain? I want them to see. I want them to know. I had a baby boy and he was born May 9, 2011. Michalina has a brother.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Time STILL Doesn't Stand Still.

Can I just say how much 11 months sucks! I was never one to be down and out on the 9th of every month. Yeah, I would think about what he would be doing as he got older but 9 and 11 months has kicked my ass. 9 months, I have no idea why this hit me hard. 11 months, yesterday, has been really hard!

I don't know if it was a culmination of things yesterday or if it was the fact that I can no longer count his absence in months. My friend Rachel just blogged about this a few short days ago. She mentioned the same thing about her little girl, Kayla. Sam will have been gone for more than a year as soon as the clock strikes 12 on May 9th. This hole in my heart seems to be never ending and growing larger in diameter.

11 months also marks some milestones in his life. I can't stop picturing him walking and babbling in conversation with his sister. I find myself trying so hard to fill this gaping hole. 11 months is making me realize this hole is never going to be filled. It is my storm cloud that will follow me for the rest of my life. Until I am able to hold my baby boy again. Nothing will take the place of where my son's memories, hopes, and dreams were supposed to be.

11 months. It's been hard to try to find the balance between honoring my husband and my son's birthday. Both on the 9th. I want to honor my husband, his life, and his own grief. On the other hand, I want to drown myself in my sorrows and honor my son by dedicating my time to him.
It's hard. I have always carried this guilt about Sam being born on my husband's birthday. I feel like I took his son from him on the only day that is to honor him. All he ever wanted was a son, and I gave birth to his dead son on his birthday...Now before any one starts telling me, there's nothing you could have done, I know that. I know that I couldn't control when I went into labor or when Sam died. But there is still guilt. Guilt that I have taken the one thing my husband wanted more than anything. Guilt that I had his son on his birthday only to say goodbye never to say welcome.

11 months. I have been living this life without my son and soon it will be 1 year. I want to so bad get over the first angelversary hill. And yet there is a part of me that wants to stay right here for the rest of my life, never to have to endure the 1 year marker.

11 months. Yeah, my grief has changed. Matured. Tumbled. Evolved. My grief journey has been a path I never thought I would take. 11 months have past in this new life yet I feel so stagnate. I am disappointed that in 11 months I have not better honored Sam's memory, Sam's life. I had/have plans to do so much for this community yet I allow stuff to get in the way. Hold me back. Sam deserve a better mother. 11 months of not doing the boxes for the hospital like I wanted. 11 months that I have not contacted the hospital to do more for moms like me. 11 months that I have not started his non-for-profit, Sam's Promise. 11 months I have not contacted my state government to get them to acknowledge my son's life.

11 months it too long. 1 day is too long. 1 second is too long. I still want my baby boy back.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Her kind soul strikes again

Yep, she's done it again. Last week Michalina had a dentist appointment on a very WINDY Wednesday. Excited as she was to see the salt water fish in the waiting room she was even more excited to see the dentist, Dr. Scott. Just like any dentist he makes conversation with the patient that can't always respond because the have a mouth full of hand.

As Michalina does with anyone when she is super excited she was running her mouth and couldn't stop talking. So, whenever she got the opportunity to talk with out a hand or tool in her mouth she was talking-about everything. She shows him her "Sam bracelet" and tells him, "I have a baby brother named Sam. Yeah. He's in heaven." Low and behold he replies with, "I have a baby in heaven too. Do you think they might be friends?" Michalina doesn't respond. I guess because she doesn't get that response often so she was caught off guard because believe me she always has something to say.

The conversation then turns to me. He tells me what a wonderful idea it is to have that for her and where I got it. I'm sure at this point my eyes where lighting up. It's not everyday you come across people in our community. I eagerly tell him about the bracelet and  how my husband made it for her at Faith's Lodge and what a wonderful place it is for parents like us.

Fast forward to the end of the great check up...

Every good kid gets a prize. So which one does my daughter pick for the extremely windy day? The balloon! A purple one, of course.

The purple balloon makes it to the car and is good company until...she tells me she wants to, "-send it to heaven for Meleah."

Side note and background: Meleah is another angel I have met on this grief journey. Meleah's parents have become close friends of ours. In fact Meleah and Sam share the same "park"; Meleah in the cemetery and Sam in the mausoleum. We pass by Meleah every time we come and go from Sam's park. You can read about Meleah's mom here at here blog.

Back to the balloon.

I tell her we need to let it go at home so it can escape the trees and power lines. We make it home and she can barely wait to send a balloon to heaven for Meleah. 
The pink flower and butterfly are also from Michalina to Meleah. She picked them out while shopping for Sam's Easter decorations. 

Such a compassionate soul at only 4! She never ceases to amaze me. The compassion and love this small child has gained since holding her still brother. Nothing I ever want her or any of my other future children to experience. She has not only gain a brother she has gained a compassionate soul. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The door

My morning began with Michalina calling out, "Emergency, emergency! Theres an ant in the bathroom."

In an effort to rid my house of the ants that seem to be taking over lately, I vow to myself that I am going to vacuum the whole house today. I was determined to suck up those sons of a bitches! 

I finish the downstairs and head upstairs to the second part of the battle. Yep! Ants upstairs too. Upstairs is done, then I came to the last room at the end of the hallway. I was faced with the door that has rarely been opened for the past 11 months. The door that sheltered the shattered dreams and hopes for my little boy. 

With vacuum in hand, I placed my hand on the doorknob, took a deep breath and opened it. Immediately, my breath is taken away (literately) by the rush of dreams that were supposed to be. I kept my head down and tried to focus on the carpet and the task at hand. Yeah, that didn't last for long. I quickly was being suffocated by the overwhelming should haves, dreams, and flashbacks. I am sobbing while I vigorously push the demon vacuum back and forth. I continue until my tears are blinding me from what I was in there to do.
I find myself slumping over his crib filled with his clothes that have been scattered about after my husband and I angrily looked for something to bury our only son in. I held a onesie that said "mommies little man" on it and cried. I wanted to see him in that onesie so bad. I wanted him to be in that outfit. I wanted to hold it and smell him. Instead I smell my detergent never tainted by the fragrant smell of a newborn. I shuffled through other clothes that I remember thinking, I can't wait to see him in this

A onesie that said Handsome just like daddy,
Daddy's little monster...

Clothes filled with dreams and hopes for a future that was never going to be. 

I began going through parts of his bedroom. I was ready for him. I was ready for there to be a newborn baby boy entering my family within weeks from when I diligently fixed and prepared the perfect space for him. I couldn't have been more prepared to bring home a baby alive.

I see the bouncy on the floor in the corner that is falling apart. I am swarmed by the memory of trying to put it together with Michalina the week before I gave birth to Sam. I remembered her and I put it together with the certainty that her little brother was going to be in it shortly. I remember how excited she was to help me and how it didn't matter to her that we goofed up and had to tackle it again to make sure we put it together the right way. 

And there it sits, still half way put together. Frustration of a very pregnant mother written all over it. Failure, it says, laughing and mocking me. 

I have been toy with the idea of opening his door for about a week now. I don't know why, but I have been wanting to go in his room lately. Today I just felt that I had a purpose that was not driven by curiosity of grief and sadness. It found me, still managing to wrestle me to the ground. In tears on the floor of my son's bedroom. 

I close the door and whisper, Mommy loves you Sam. I miss you so much. I'm sorry, I wanted to protect you. I love you. I love you.