Happy 1st Birthday Baby Boy

As many of you know, this last Saturday, July 30th, was our sweet angel Everett’s 1st birthday in Heaven. As we spent our day as a family focusing on the many lessons his short life taught us we were reminded to take every moment we are given and cherish it as it’s our last.

It is hard to put into words what it feels like to celebrate a precious life taken from your family too soon and although we chose to focus on celebrating his life and not mourning his death it was still one of the hardest days of my life. A day, that I’m sure as the years go on without him will continue to bring just as much joy as it does pain.

Despite it all, I can say this, we felt him. We felt him in every moment we spent as a family on Saturday soaking up the time we have together in his memory. We felt him there with us honoring his first birthday as we made him a cake and his brother’s picked at it just like he would’ve for his smash cake session if he would’ve been born alive and well into our arms. We felt his light and laughter there with us as we sang him Happy Birthday and sent up his 1st birthday messages on a balloon to him in Heaven; sending all our love and kisses along with it. We felt him as we tucked his brothers into bed that night answering seemingly endless questions about their brother that continue to bring tears to my eyes and joy to my heart.

No matter where we are, no matter what we do, we will always feel his presence, he will always be a part of our family, he will always be celebrated. Everett may be our missing piece, but his memory will never be missing from our lives. Our children will grow up knowing and loving their brother awaiting them in Heaven; celebrating his birthday and honoring his short life here with us.

Happy 1st Birthday: Mommy loves you baby boy.

Always & forever.

From now until eternity.

 

The worst day of my life.

Lucas1yr-52.jpgA year ago today we found out we had lost you. It was, and still is the worst day of my life. A day I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. A day I wish no other parent would ever have to experience. A day that existed because of the evil in this world; an evil that even in it’s most powerful moments will never outshine the light your short life brought into our lives.
 
Three days later, on your birthday, after endless tears and sorrowful goodbyes we kissed your sweet lips for the first & last time. In this moment, we found out the true depth of a parents love; a love that reaches far beyond our comprehension and binds your soul to ours, a love that will forever remain with us; making us ache for you by our side until we are reunited again, a love that is more powerful than anything ever created on this Earth.
 
This weekend we will spend in honor of you baby boy. No longer mourning, but rather celebrating the light and love you brought, and continue to bring into our lives. With your brothers by our sides & your baby sister in my womb we will celebrate everything that you are and everything that you forever continue to be ❤
 
Mommy loves you baby boy.
 
Always & forever.
 
From now until eternity.
Everett’s Mommy

I will always reach for you.

Some mornings I wake up and I reach for you; even after almost a year without you, even after another life is growing inside my womb, even though your sweet cries never got a chance to wake me from my sleep. My maternal instinct kicks in and reminds me that you are missing from our lives and I wake, reaching for you.

If only my arms could reach far enough, pull you down from the heavens, whole and healthy and bring you back into our lives. We would live our lives here on Earth as we’d dreamed; with three ornery boys and one little princess by our side, whole, happy, no longer reaching for a piece of our family just out of our grasp.

Until our hands meet and you are back in my arms again I will always reach for you baby boy. 
Everett’s Mommy

Father’s Day with 3

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I imagined this day a lot differently. With a house filled full of knee high little boys running around chasing each other and a little one crawling behind. With giggles and laughter and yes, a few tears because boys will be boys & your brothers always play too rough. Your first Father’s Day with us would’ve been filled with hand print artwork for Daddy and lots of new foods for you to try.

I imagined taking our yearly Father’s Day pictures with you tucked tight in Daddy’s arms staring at him wide eyed. The tiny little details I would’ve captured and cherished forever of the bond you two had quickly developed; your tiny hand holding his, your sweet smile, and the way your eyes would light up around him. (I like to think my boys are Mama’s boys, but when push comes to shove they choose Daddy everytime!) But instead of these moments with you; we held our Everett Bear in your place and placed angel wings instead of hand prints on Daddy’s yearly Father’s Day art.

More often than not I forget to recognize the pain your Daddy went through when we lost you & the strength and courage it took (and continues to take) to push back his own anguish & carry his family through the storm. Your Daddy’s selflessness is remarkable; the love he has for you and your brothers is never ending. I see the same light in his eyes when he holds our Everett Bear as I do when he holds your brothers, the same unceasing love, but their is indescribable pain there as well, a pain that will follow us through our life here without you until we are reunited again. A pain none of us could bear without your Daddy by our sides, holding us together through it all.

There are no words for the gratefulness I have for having your Daddy in my life to pull me through the darkness and push me into the sunlight day after day. For loving a man who continues to love me even after seeing me hit rock bottom in my grief time and time again; for never giving up & never letting go. For loving a man who loves our son whom he will never get to hold on this Earth just as fiercely as he loves our children who walk beside us day after day. Our love is the kind of love that only comes around once in a lifetime & the family that love has created is the most precious and priceless kind of gift.
Everett’s Mommy

 

Finding his place in this world

Snuggled up tight to our Everett Bear, a routine that has become a big part of my Sunday morning ritual, taking time to just be in my grief. Letting myself be sad or happy or lonely: whatever the emotion of the morning without him brings. A time together I cherish; a time to just be in his presence, in his memory; time alone with my youngest son, my baby boy.

This time together is often filled with tears and prayers that I know can never be answered. But this morning brought a new light, a new hope, an almost unwelcomed acceptance, an unwavering knowledge, that this is the path our family was meant to walk; a path that guided us to a place without a piece of our family here on Earth with us.

A strange kind of peace fills my mind, my heart, my soul with this realization. Our life, our family, will never feel whole without you by our sides, but our missing piece is finding a way to reach his place in our family from Heaven to Earth; finding a way to be by our sides and walk through this life with his family even if he can’t physically be here growing beside his siblings.

I see you baby boy, I feel you in our home, by our sides, and I know that you will always be here with us; guiding us through our lives without you until we meet again in Heaven someday.

I love you baby boy. Always & forever. From this life into the next.

Everett’s Mommy

Our Angels are everywhere

When our oldest son, Jack was barely a few months old he experienced his first death in the family. A close cousin of mine passed in a very untimely manner. To lose such a vibrant life at such a young age rocked our family to the core and sent us all racing towards Colorado to be together and support each other through the time of grief that followed. In the days following her death we spent a lot of time with her family in her childhood home and I spent much of that time longing and wishing for my cousin back so that she could meet our first born and hold him in her arms as she’d hoped to do.

The afternoon after our final goodbye to her I laid Jack down in a pack and play in her Dad’s study. I still remember this moment like it was yesterday; sitting in the dinner room with her family and mine and hearing Jack laughing, and I mean really laughing, at just a few months old. I rushed over to the study to try and capture the moment on camera for his Daddy and peaked into the room to see him laying in his pack and play reaching towards the ceiling laughing and wiggling like he was playing with someone. In that moment, peace rushed over me, and I knew in my heart that Jack was meeting his 2nd cousin for the first time just as we had both wanted. This moment is one I will forever hold dear to my heart; I will always remember the peace I felt in the presence of an Angel.

There have been so many moments since we lost Everett where I’ve longed for a sign like this from above. To feel his presence here on Earth with us and more often than not seeing his brothers playing without him often breaks my heart and sends tears streaming down my face; intensifying my longing for their brother like nothing else can. Like any mother who’s lost a child, I dream of the day my boys get to meet their youngest brother and I get to hold all three of my boys in my arms and experience what our life would’ve been like had Everett lived.

Last night, I got to experience a glimpse into that future with Everett’s brother Lucas before I ever thought possible. Hearing Lucas laugh, play, and giggle while he was suppose to be sleeping is no anomaly, but hearing him speak his brother’s name is a sound I’ve never been blessed with; he often points to our Everett Bear or snuggles him tight and almost religiously chants, “Bubba, bubba, bubba”, but never have I heard Everett’s name come out of Lucas’ mouth. So, of course, as soon as I heard this I immediately grabbed the monitor from my bed side table and watched as Lucas seemingly played with a sibling only he could see. I watched as he tickled thin air laughing hysterically as he did so. I watched as he shared his beloved Mickey with a brother only he could see. I watched as he talked and shared with Everett and felt the same peace I experienced at my cousin’s house after she had gained her wings wash over me as tears of joy filled my eyes.

This experience could’ve been many things, but I choose to believe the scene I witnessed through Lucas’ video monitor was his baby brother checking in on him.  I felt his presence, his peace wash over me. There were no bright neon signs flashing “Angel”, but my eyes were open and I know what I witnessed. I truly believe our Angels are everywhere if we just open our hearts, and our minds to witnessing their presence in our lives.

Everett’s Mommy

8 months and counting…

Absentmindedly looking at our calendar this morning I realized what day it was; the 30th. I never thought I could despise a date so much, something as simple as two numbers marked on our calendar can destroy my entire day and send me reeling back in my grieving process. I’ve come to love months without this date in them, months that don’t scream a reminder of what we’ve lost at me every time I see a 3 and a 0 nestle beside each other. I don’t need that added reminder; not a moment goes by where I don’t long to hold you in my arms, your life, your death are unforgettably a part of me.

I know it won’t always be like this, I know one day this date will pass by without a second thought of the pain it once brought and we will celebrate your birthday without searing pain running through our hearts, but for now little one I embrace the pain, the anguish, the sometimes seemingly unending trail of tears that accompany remembering you. I embrace them because they are a part of me, a part of you and with great love comes great pain and Lord only knows how great my love for you is.

Let the 30th no longer be a reminder of your death, but of your life baby boy. And every month lived without you one step closer to holding you in my arms again. (Thank you Bean for that beautiful reminder.)

-Everett’s Mommy

8 short months ago today we held your precious body and kissed your tiny lips for the first and last time on this Earth. We said goodbye, knowing it wasn’t goodbye forever. We love you Everett Charles and you will always be remembered as our missing piece. 

Please join us in sharing your loved ones story and/or supporting those we have on the Forever Beat in Mine Remembrance Wall: https://www.facebook.com/foreverbeatinmineremembrancewall/ in honor of our sweet Angel born sleeping on July 30, 2015. 

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It was one of those days today where a simple conversation with a stranger at church brought me to tears, but for once, my tears where shed not for my own loss, but for anothers.

It’s the simplest of questions that often comes up in small talk, “how many kids do you have?”  This seemingly innocent question often makes you cringe and sends your head reeling with a thousand questions when you’ve experienced the loss of a child. Do I turn this pleasant conversation to an awkward end and tell the truth or do I lie and live with the guilt that accompanies denying my third born son that grew in my womb for 20 short weeks?

With a deep breathe and an aching heart I chose to answer truthfully and use the time I had left in this conversation to honor the life of our sweet Everett. Much to my surprise, the truth which is often met with an awkward apology and a swift goodbye, was greeted with the genuine love and understanding of two hearts that have shared the same pain. Not only did I receive validation for the increasingly aching pain I still feel 9 short months after losing our angel, but I helped to give another grieving Mommy the courage to speak her truth to a complete stranger.

I’ve learned so much from this brief encounter at church today and healed even more from it.

Loss Mama’s,

You don’t have to close your heart to the hurt that can come from sharing your child’s life. That pain, that isolation doesn’t have to be yours and yours alone to bear. There are so many other women out there experiencing the same anguish, the same mind numbing heartache just waiting for someone to reach out and help pull them out of the darkness even if just for a moment. So look around you and keep your eyes open for other women like you struggling to live a life without a part of their heart.

Everett’s Mommy

On Dancing in the Rain

There comes a point after even the most devastating loss whether it be days, weeks, months, or years later when you reach a cross roads. You wake up one morning and say to yourself, “enough is enough.” At this point you have a decision to make, do you give up, do you allow this unimaginable loss to destroy you? Do you succumb to the searing pain in your chest? The blood boiling hate & anger? The soul crushing devastation? Do you allow evil to win? The devil to claim your soul?  Or do you turn your soul over to the Lord; choosing light, choosing love, choosing life: choosing to rise.

I choose to rise. I choose to have faith. I choose to place my life in His hands and surrender. 

This isn’t to say that the storm isn’t still raging inside of me; this kind of storm never dies, but only ebbs and flows with every breath I take. But only that I am willing to learn to dance in the rain, let the lightening run through my veins, and proclaim His glory louder than the thunder piercing my eardrums; allowing Him to energize my soul every day for the rest of my life.

This point for me came one bright sunny Saturday morning when I looked in the mirror and was disgusted by what I saw starting back at me; not the superficial reflection mirrors are meant to depict, not skin and bone, blood and marrow, but the part of my soul only He can see. It was dark; clouded over by hate and anger; stained, and what I believed to be irrevocably shattered. But worst of all it was HIDDEN, not only from my friends and family, my husband, my children, myself, but from the One who should see every part of my heart and soul, the One who will always accept every part of me, the One who accepts me for who I am, no matter what; it was hidden from our Lord in an effort to hold onto some sense of control, some sense of empowerment through the storm my life had become after losing you.

And right then I realized, since losing you, I’d lost my direct line to my faith, the one thing that could help me piece the broken pieces of my heart and soul back together again.

That’s when I decided. I will surrender; whole heartedly, with everything that I am and everything I am going to become. I will place my life in our Lord’s hands and accept that He and He alone can help me through the hole that I’ve dug. 

I am a loss Mom, a Still Mother, a still birth survivor, but I am also so so much more. And lately, I’ve been letting the bereaved mother part of my identity consume me, hiding behind my grief, let it shield and protect me from a world I no long recognize; a world now tainted by child loss, still birth and miscarriage statistics.I will not allow my life nor my families to be definied by our loss. It is a part of who we are and will forever be; just as Everett is, but it is does not define us.  I refuse to let Everett’s still birth be my death. I refuse to let his life be remembered that way, I refuse to do anything, but honor him with every breath I take.

So from now on, I give my life to you Lord, take my hand and guide me; lead me to where I am meant to be.

 

We survived

Life gives you two choices when you suffer a tragedy: give up or survive.

I woke up this morning and realized, WE SURVIVED.

Somehow.

Someway. 

By God’s grace.

We survived.

The Holidays have came to and end, 2016 has begun, 2015 is over and here we are as a family, not completely whole, but not completely broken either. We made it to the other side of our first Holiday season without you. We survived.

Here’s to surviving without you baby boy. God only knows I’d rather have you here by my side, but for now, for the rest of my days in this lifetime, I’ll survive.

-Everett’s Mommy