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.

 

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

 

There are no rules. 

There are no rules for grieving a child taken too soon; no playbook, no bereaved parenting for dummies with step by step instructions on how and when to heal, no degree you earn that certifies you whole & healthy. I used to wonder why that was, before I experienced this kind of devastating earth shattering loss myself: why there isn’t a guide for what bereaved parents where going through in a world full with people more than willing to give you their two cents.

I don’t wonder anymore. Now, I know the reality of living without a piece of your soul, without your child by your side.

Now, I know.

I know that there is no right way to heal; no amount of DIY books or tutorials could get the steps right. There is no day marked in highlighter on the calendar in which you will wake up whole and completely healed. No passage of time that completely heals the scars losing a child leaves on your heart and mind. No time machine to jump into to take you back to the time before; the time before you learned the reality of child loss. A time before you and your whole world changed, before a part of your heart went missing from this world, a time when you recognized the person staring back at you in the mirror.

There will be days filled with heart ache and darkness. Days filled with light and hope (I promise you, they are coming). Sometime the darkness will overcome you and the sunshine in your world will be quick, overcast, and fleeting. And then, when you least expect it, the sun will shine through and hope will once again fill your heart if you choose to allow it.

So choose. Choose to open your mind, heart, and soul to the love and light in this world. Choose to see the rays of light shinning through the storm clouds. Chose to give yourself the grace to have heartache and pain as well as uninhibited joy; never ignoring either when they pass through your life. Chose to see the loved ones still walking this earth beside you ready and willing to take your hand. Chose to honor your child with every breath that you take by breathing and living, truly living, without them by your side.

This choice will not be an easy one. There will be days when you consciously have to put one foot in front of the other to complete the simplest of tasks. There will be days that seem to drag on, without end, even when you’re begging and screaming on your knees for the sun to set. But then, there will be days when it feels as if you and flying on the wings of your angel. Days when you can physically feel the light that is now a part of your child beaming down on you and shinning through in everything that you do: these days are worth every tear, every bit of heartache so embrace every day.

Embrace the bad days as much as you embrace the good because without either where would we be? Without embracing the pain and heartache that comes with remembering our children we’d be left in a world where our child doesn’t exist and no amount of joy or happiness is worth forgetting the sweet baby that once grew in your womb.

Everett’s Mommy

 

Everett,

You’ve taught me so much baby boy. I never realized how much someone can be a part of our lives without physically being here with us. You’re presence in this world, in our family, & with your siblings resonates with me everyday. I see you in everything that we do and all that we are; your short life impacted our world more than you will ever know.

I will forever be thankful for the signs you send us, reminding us that you are never far away. The forget me nots, previously unnoticed, that now seems to pop up everywhere; their tiny, but perfect blooms reminding me of your precious body we held for far too short of time. The way my mind automatically sees you when I watch your brothers at play: they are getting along better and better every day, quickly becoming best friends, you would be so proud. The way every kick your sister makes resonates in my heart, in my soul, and reminds me of the sweetest kicks I used to feel while you where growing in my womb. I know you’re watching over her as she grows; keeping her safe and healthy until I can hold her in my arms as I had hoped and dreamed to hold you.

Although I will always miss you and long for you in our lives, I know in my heart that you are where you belong, in the arms of the Angels causing unimaginable mischief; I am more thankful for that realization than you could ever imagine and I count down the days until I hold you in my arms again baby boy.

Mommy loves you Everett. Always & Forever. From this world into the next.

Mommy loves her baby boy. 

There is a song that has become a part of our bath time rituals since the day our oldest son, Jack, took his first nerve ridden dip. After he had successfully completely one of his first milestones, Daddy and Mommy softly wrapped him up in his hooded puppy dog towel from Grandma; a towel that is still one of our boys’ favorites, and squeezed into our tiny two bedroom apartment’s bath room.
As his sweet baby scent filled the air we snuggled him close and sang,

Baby boy,

Baby boy, 

Mommy loves her baby boy. 

Baby boy,

Baby boy, 

Daddy loves his baby boy.

Baby boy, 

Baby Boy,

We all love our baby boy. 

This moment and the countless nights to come spent singing verses of “Baby boy” that spiraled into our entire line of family lineage to our sons in front of our bathroom mirror are some of my most treasured memories. These moments are filled with love, laughter, and an unexplainable joy that could burst your heart. They are moments that make your eyes fill up with tears and erase every colored on wall, ruined shopping trip, cut short dinner, and temper tantrum ever thrown. Moments that make you wish you could stop time and live in them forever.

Tonight, as I gently rocked Lucas back to sleep in his nursery and softly sang”Baby Boy” until his body became heavy on mine I found my eyes filling up with unshed tears at the thought of yet another moment, another memory I will never get with his brother. In that moment I felt him. I felt our baby boy Everett surrounding us in his brother’s nursery, watching over us as I sang,

Baby boy,

Baby boy, 

Mommy loves her baby boy. 

Baby boy,

Baby boy, 

Daddy loves his baby boy.

Baby boy, 

Baby Boy,

We all love our baby boy. 

Until I hold you in my arms again,

Everett’s Mommy

I Will Carry You

I’ve been trying so hard lately to put my emotions into words. To live in my grief and not be ashamed of it. To stop pushing my emotion deep down inside and be honest and truthful with myself  and others about where I am at and who I have become since losing Everett, but as you can tell by my lack of posts lately; some truths just aren’t ready to be told.

So as I put pen to paper (or rather fingers to keyboard) for the first time this month, I share with you not my own words, but those of a fellow bereaved Mommy whose story struck a cord deep inside my wounded soul: written by Angie Smith in her book “I Will Carry You”, a book I would whole heartedly suggest to anyone traveling down this journey of grief, about the lose of her daughter and her journey through grief.

I felt like the wind had whipped through and knocked me down, deep down into a place I didn’t want to be.

A place where the answers are fewer than the questions.

A place where God seems hidden by the shadows of this broken life. It is an easy place to get comfortable because all your hurts are justified and the tears give way to doubt.

But even then, He never backs down. I am grateful for that love. It is the love of a Father who himself is well acquainted with sorrow. It is the love of a father who has lost His Son. He understands the ranting and the door slamming. The emptiness that wraps around you.

He knows. 

And he has only one request.

Bring it to me. 

Everytime the anger roars in your heart.

Bring it to me. 

Everytime you feel like nobody hears you.

Bring it to me.

When you think it isn’t fair. When you think it isn’t true. When you can’t think at all.

Bring it to me. 

Bring it to my feet and I will make an alter for your suffering.

As I read these words last night after a day that carried only turmoil and sorrow a lightbulb went off somewhere deep inside of my brain; He can handle this. My faith can handle this; He will never leave me. He will carry me.