Saturday, October 29, 2011

Chili Cook Off 2011

First of all:

Thank you for coming out today to help us raise money for Daniel's Park Pets. Daniel absolutely loved going to the park and playing on the swings-especially the swings! I think we ran more energy out during park time then he did! Eise Park is one of the parks we frequented a lot and one that Karen would take all the kids to. Your help today is bringing us so much closer to our goal of providing climbable park pets for all the kids to enjoy when they come to the park, and helping us honor such a terrific and special little boy. Your generosity, kindness, and friendship has sustained us all and we are honored and blessed to spend this day with you.
Thank you so much again!

Today was an absolute success on a lot of levels. Total we raised 1,600 dollars to go towards the park pets! When I heard the complete count I was absolutely stunned. The generosity of everyone is completely humbling. I don't think there will ever be enough 'thank yous' to cover just how thankful we are that a community can come together for one another like ours.

Most importantly, to me, today was about the fun we had. Going in to today, I was unsure about how I would feel. For each time we do do something related to Daniel, a little piece of me is sad because of the reasoning on why we are doing anything. And I knew beforehand the paramedics who responded to our call were going to be there to show their support. And while I am eternally grateful for their help and kindness, I know what they saw, they know what I saw and it isn't something that can be wiped away very easily. But, today, oh today was so nice. Yes, I did grow a little teary eyed when I was introduced to one of the paramedics but she was so genuine it didn't feel completely awkward. But overall, people were laughing, eating and just having a good old fashioned good time. The kids all got to play together and run around like crazy, Jake only had 2 mini meltdowns, Andrew was an absolute doll, the washers tournament lasted for hours and there was so much chili and baked goods! We got to see the MHFD and MHPD and we got to share in our memories of Daniel. And it was good.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'm having a really bad day. It feels like I cannot escape. Everything, absolutely everything, reminds me that he's not here, that I can't change it and life is moving on while I feel so still. I'm angry and sad that people are happy and I can't be, I'm angry that every book I pick up and try to read has some kind of death in it even when I absolutely don't think it could contain it, I hate that we still have to pick a marker out for his spot, that Christmas and his birthday are coming and I don't get him here with me, that I have to work tonight and I don't know if I'll be able to stand being there but I have to go because I have to work. I hate that I have to work so hard at being happy for others around me when all I really want to do is scream and hide. I hate that I pray so hard to see him in 1 dream just so I can hold him again and I don't know why God won't answer me. I hate that I am now a woman that has lost a child and can hardly focus on anything other than that. I hate sadness and feeling like this all the time.

I'm going for a walk.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A whole new level of grieving

I was talking to my Mother in law yesterday about the upcoming Chili cook off for Daniel's Park Pets and we ended up talking about Daniel and Ryan and her and me and all of us intertwined in this season of loss. Outside of God, my very best friend and my mom I haven't really spoken to a lot of people about what I truly feel. Yesterday opened my eyes to another's grief and hurt. I've been so consumed over losing my son that I'm just now really seeing the loss of a grandson, a nephew and a cousin. It's like new hurt is pouring in because I want to fix it all and make it better and it just isn't going to work like that. Each one of us is grieving differently and we're all on different levels and sometimes it's hard for me to remember that. This is all so new to me. For the first time in my life, I am experiencing loss on a really personal level. I guess I should be thankful for 25 years of growing up to be able to handle emotions of this magnitude? I don't know.

Some days I think I have it together and can manage to conduct myself like a "normal" person and then a flashback of that evening hits, or I have a conversation with someone, or a particular song comes on the radio, or I catch a certain smell, or see a special T.V. show of Daniel's and I just go into a tailspin and I'm not good for much of anything for a while. The whole month of December I'm dreading. Christmas and what would have been his 4th birthday are not going to be good days and I've accepted that I'm going to head into those with a heavy heart. It's the unknowns that really throw me for a loop, though. Sometimes I think of what it would be like to have 1 day when I don't cry or remember the accident and then I think, if that was erased for a day, then my good memories of Daniel wouldn't exist for that day either and ultimately, I know I can get past the bad memories because I have so many more good memories.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Daniel's hands

A day after Daniel passed away Ryan and I were out getting much needed supplies from Target and washing the car. I was sitting numbly in the passenger seat during the carwash, still in complete shock, when all of a sudden I looked up at my windshield and noticed a handprint on the glass. All I could do was stare at it. I knew for a fact it was Daniel's. He was constantly wanting to climb into the front of the car and touch everything. That was one of my first signs that God and Daniel were with us and were always going to be with us. And I cannot let it go. My windshield desperately needs to be cleaned and I cannot do it. I love those hands of his. I need that handprint right now. My time in my car is everything to me and having his handprint beside me gives me courage to make it one more day, to be thankful for what God has still graced me with, and a gentle reminder that even though I cannot see it always, I know it's there and it's a comfort. (Kind of reminds you of something else, doesn't it?)

Daniel's hands told so much about him. Whenever he would get nervous or antsy he would start to curl his fingers up. His battles with eczema would flare up on his fingers and he would absently scratch at them. Whenever we held hands I would always "squeeze, squeeze" and he would squeeze back. That was my signal for "I love you". He could stick his little fingers into any childproof doorknob cover and open it. Most of the adults that came to our house couldn't even work the covers. He could use those hands and work my iPod touch (and throw it in the mop water) or maneuver Ryan's iPhone. He picked up on that so fast. Whenever I was pregnant with Andrew he would take his hands and place them on my belly and talk to "baby Andrew". Whenever he got really animated about something he would raise his hands and shake his head. I find Jake doing the same thing now :)

During our family visitation before the funeral, his hands were one of the last things I looked at before we stepped away. They were laying so peaceful on his lap and he was cradling a tiny cross. I committed those hands to memory because they were so much a part of him. I miss those hands and I miss him so much. I thank God daily for the knowledge that I am saved by Him and because of that love, I can rest assured that one day I will be able to hold those little hands again. And that, dear friends, is a thought that comforts my mother heart.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


I went to a beautiful wedding of a coworker this past weekend. It was a great testament to love and forever. It was also a wonderful reprieve from-well, everything. I got the chance to release stress, laugh and spend some time with my brother. (When did he grow up?!) I was given little nuggets of happiness throughout the evening and even managed genuine smiles; as opposed to the ones I wear when I leave the sanctuary of my home. I felt a little more me and I've missed that me. I pray she gets to stay around a little longer because Daniel never did like to see me sad.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


A few weeks ago I was entertaining the idea of working in pediatric hospice. Really, it was more of a curiosity of what was offered. I googled and came across two programs offered in St. Louis. What I found was something I never would have even considered. A perinatal palliative care program is offered through one of the programs. The concept of a group of professionals working with a family that is carrying a baby who is known to not make it through the pregnancy or through birth really stuck with me. Perinatal death almost feels like a taboo subject. People are afraid to talk or think about little infants passing away so early. And it's unfair to the families of those that will experience it. So often it feels like Moms and Dads that come in to deliver are shell shocked and have no idea what to experience or what to do once their baby is born. My heart breaks for those families.

This morning I had a preliminary interview for a volunteer position with the Wings program. Initially, the rep for Wings knew I was interested in pediatric hospice, but once we started talking about how I came across the program, I mentioned my real interest was in perinatal palliative care. The response I got from the rep blew me away. Apparently, this is a program that hasn't really taken off because there hasn't been that person to help. She almost acted shocked that I would consider volunteering to help the program. But her shock quickly gave way to excitement over the fact someone wanted to help. All along I was thinking, "how could I not want to help"? This subject is dear to my heart because of work.

As I left the building, I was nervous and excited and in awe. In awe because just this morning I had prayed that God would lead me in this venture. I prayed I could do something but also keep my family in priority. I prayed that He would use me to the best of my ability. And look where it's taking me. When I had returned to work, I had entertained the idea of looking for a new job but nothing ever seemed like a good fit. And lately I've been realizing that maybe my time as a Labor and Delivery nurse isn't done yet. Maybe this new venture in conjunction with my job is where I am supposed to be going. The possibility gives me goosebumps.

Friday, October 7, 2011


Had a moment-a long moment- when all I wanted to do is question why today. Why Daniel? Why us? Why couldn't he have been spared? Why do I have to answer "how many children do you have" at work multiple times a night? Why were these children spared and not mine? Why did You do this? And of all places where I could have broken down, it was Lifeway bookstore. Surrounded by the comforts and reminders of God's grace and love. But maybe that is why I questioned why...Because I was surrounded by His grace. Because He wanted me to be comfortable enough to throw these questions at him. Because He wanted me to be raw and open-so He could show me this. I was looking for a children's Bible for Jake (and found a really cute, rhyming Bible that he is going to love) and came across it. Ironic that I found it in a Children's Bible:

"Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet, I want your will to be done, not mine. Then an angel appeared from Heaven and strengthened Him."

Luke 22:42-43

It took me actually sitting down at home to grasp the entire truth of it; literally I had to write down what I was feeling for it to dawn on me. And it all goes back to God perspective. (Thanks Kevin for having this in Sunday School) If Daniel hadn't passed away, everything would be exactly the same. I'm not saying before was bad, but now is...different, not lukewarm. (And all I can do is explain how I feel about the new normal. These are purely only my thoughts.) But now, we have so many people rallying together, working together. People who may have never met. I'm reexamining my relationship with a lot of people and making it better; and I didn't even know it needed better in the first place. And I'm becoming closer to a lot of great people. I'm more patient. I'm more sad but stronger because of it. I'm taking more time out for God and taking time out in general to just be in the moment and not constantly running around. (Ryan would still say otherwise; he hates watching TV with me because I do multitask, but I promise I do just sit more) I'm not as afraid to be more vocal about loving God. And that is just me personally. I can see changes in others too but it's not for me to comment on, but they're good changes.

Daniel leaving Earth is hard. So hard. But Daniel's legacy and his love is still here and working on so many. My will and want is obvious; I want him in my arms, but all of these changes in myself and others wouldn't necessarily be happening. It's a lot to think about and have sink in for sure. I mean, I have days when I just can't completely grasp all of it, but look what happens when I do give myself over, He shows He's here. It's wild.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


These past few days have felt like a vacation-a vacation away from my constant heart ache. I got to spend an amazing Saturday with my very best friend and her family and my boys at this amazing pumpkin patch in Arthur, Illinois. It was the perfect Fall day. I got to see the Amish out and about and living their lives (and for those that know me, you know I love me some Amish-and their bread) I found out Jake loves chickens...and bees...and hay mazes...and apple cider. Andrew can sleep practically anywhere and still wake up happy and God certainly does have a creative imagination when it comes to making gourds and squash and pumpkins. Rach and I can sit in silence or she can fall asleep next to me in the car ride back and it isn't awkward at all because she and I are just that close. And I certainly know Daniel was watching over us that day because in the midst of petting the animals, I heard a train whistle. The only of the day.

And who knew that cleaning up dog poop with Ryan could make me laugh so hard? Or that Jake has this new dance that is absolutely hysterical? Seriously, going to have to video tape it. And when did he grow up into a little boy? And seeing Daniel's spot and all the love that surrounds him. (Ok, that is a little bittersweet and made me cry but it's a reminder of all the great people that love us) And Andrew's smile. Oh my goodness, his smile. It could melt even the coldest of hearts. He is just so special.

I've been trying so hard to really see the bigger picture in all of this-God's perspective and not my own over Daniel's death and I think these past few days have been a small bit of God's grace. It's ok to live again because life is truly special and has so many wonderful moments that I can take with me as memories.