welcoming 2015 with open arms

31 December 2014

I remember New Years Eve of 2012- Hayden had been gone for just over 4 months and I was still in such a dark dark place. The thought of starting a new year just hurt. I didn't want 2012 to end- it was the year of Hayden- and even though he died in 2012 and I was in the saddest time of my life,  it was also the only time he lived and to start a new year without him just didn't feel right. It was painful and sad and 2013 was a year I was not looking forward to. It proved to be a tough year- getting out of bed and functioning daily was rough- and I was in total depression. The following year I looked forward to and welcomed 2014 knowing that our rainbow would soon be coming. I looked at this new baby as a connection to Hayden- knowing he had a part in sending us this angel on earth. Part of me was sad to welcome another year without Hayden- and today I find myself feeling that as well. Its hard to explain- but New Years Day is a day to start fresh- welcome a new year-look forward to whats ahead. And I do- I really really do- but I guess there will always be that part of me that will have a pain in my heart at the thought of starting yet another year without him.
I am so excited for this coming year. It is another year I am into my pain and grief and each year I learn to cope and deal with it better. It will always be there- this I am ok with- but learning how to handle it is a skill that I am adapting to and know that with each passing year I will get better at it. 
I am thrilled to celebrate Hudson's first birthday in just over a month! He has brought so much joy to our hearts and to this home- and watching him grow is truly a blessing. Jackson will turn 6 this year and each year he somehow gets a little sweeter and a little cooler ;) and as he grows, so does our relationship. He is my best bud and I thoroughly look forward to 3:00 when I can pick him up from school each day and spend the rest of our day together! 
2014 proved to be a wonderful year of growth for Hayden's Heart. We gained so many more supporters and raised awareness and funds for CHD and for families fighting alongside their children. At our annual board meeting in October, we discussed our incredible growth the past year and how amazing it was. This little vision we had 2 years ago has developed into something I am so passionate about and truly cannot wait to see what 2015 has in store for our sweet Hayden's legacy. We have some pretty great things lined up that we cannot wait to share with all of you! Stay tuned....
And I am officially a broken record, but none of this would have been possible without all of you- you will never know how grateful I am for your unconditional love and support for our sweet Hayden and for Hayden's Heart. 
I wish you all a wonderful New Years- I hope you are all able to welcome it with open arms and that you, too are excited for whats in store for you in 2015!! And on that note- 2015?!?! How has it already been 15 years since the millennium when people were draining their bank accounts and stocking up on water just incase the world ended? (I knew we'd look back and laugh about that sometime!)

it's the most wonderful time of the year....

19 December 2014

From Thanksgiving to New Years the holidays are known as the most wonderful time of the year. A time for family- for giving, for eating, for sharing, for being with loved ones. 
Thanksgiving was rough for me this year- as I expect they will always be to some degree.  This was my third one without Hayden and my first with Hudson. Talk about bittersweet.  I woke up feeling empty and sad. But having a house full of happy people and kids, I tried to mask it. Made my famous (well Trader Joe's famous) pumpkin chocolate chip muffins- a favorite of Jacksons- and a spinach quiche- another tradition. Got Rob up, the oven on, and the bird in without skipping a beat. Then as I stood at my kitchen window attempting to wash the dishes from breakfast I just stood there with the water running over my hands and looked out the window staring at Hayden's garden. Still questioning why he isn't here. Why we didn't get that miracle so many people prayed we would. Why? 
Then the tears couldn't stay back anymore and I stood at the sink sobbing as the noise and laughter of kids surrounded me and announcements of what balloons were up next at the Macy's Day parade in the background. Feeling so incredibly alone and reminding myself that life goes on. It just does. I didn't expect everyone to stop what they were doing and start sobbing with me- their pain isn't that deep and I get it. But it's depressing to feel alone in a house full of people. It's even harder to realize that no one on this planet knows exactly how I feel. Not my husband, not my friends, family- no one. Unless of course you are another mother just like myself and your child was also taken way too soon. Then you too understand that the most wonderful time of the year isn't always so wonderful. I'm realizing it probably never will be since part of me is no longer here. 

I went out to dinner with some friends last week and two of us are mothers. We were chatting about how a mother does nothing in private- nothing. How a father learns to shut and lock the bathroom door but us mothers- we just don't. We may be needed in that 15 seconds- so we don't do it. And how for whatever reason a mother can calm any tear and fear of their childs- even moreso than the father. One of our friends made a comment about how we probably secretly love that we are the ones that the kids always prefer in that sense. How nice it must be. And truly- it is nice. I've thought of this so many times in the last couple of months and years. How Hudson will cry in his crib and the second I pick him up and put him in bed with me he's instantly back to sleep. How just my touch and my smell can comfort him. WOW. The relationship between a mother and her child is something out of a fairytale. It is such a beautiful thing- truly breathtakingly gorgeous. 
The relationship I had with Hayden while he was here was something I have never experienced before and it is difficult to even put into words. It was a love affair like no other. I have two living, beautiful children who I'd give my life in a second for, but when I say the relationship I have with Hayden was like no other- I mean it. His soul was deep, old. He and I would gaze at each other for hours in that hospital. So in love with one another anyone who walked in the room could feel it. It was magical, beautiful- irreplaceable. So I guess it should come as no surprise to me that I feel the pain a little more, a little deeper a little harder than anyone else in this world does. He is a constant on my mind and as much as I wish I could make this time truly the most wonderful time of the year, I just can't 100%. 
But would I change that relationship? Would I change being the mother- the other one on the end of receiving that unconditional, truly magical love. Even though my pain is deeper, harder and stronger than anyone else after loosing Hayden- I wouldn't change one second of it. I got to be the first person he locked eyes with. I held him as he came into this world and as he left it. The pain of loosing him is still and will always be an unimaginable pain that I never knew existed or that one could actually live with, but to be the one true love of his way too short life is a price I am willing to pay- and I bet my fellow angel moms would all agree.  
I am so sad for all us grieving mothers. No one in our lives knows how we are feeling. It took me 2 years and 4 months to truly come to that realization. Somehow we manage to keep trucking along and make the best of it for those we love- our living children, husbands, families, friends. We are mothers.  We make it happen. But its nice to be remembered- even if you don't know that level of pain because your children are still here with you- if you know a grieving mother- try to remember them on a Holiday and a simple message of 'thinking of you' could possibly change the whole outcome of their day and if nothing else- at least it will let them know that even though they feel alone, they aren't. 
After expressing the pain of feeling so alone on Thanksgiving, a friend sent me some ideas to make sure that doesn't happen next Thanksgiving or the next Holiday. The last two years I have struggled with what to put in Hayden's stocking- do we buy him things? Leaving it empty just feels much sadder...This year for Christmas, Rob, Jackson and I will fill Hayden's stocking with pictures we have drawn of things we (or Santa) would have gotten him for Christmas.  We will put them in his stocking this week and then while we open our stockings Christmas night, we will open Hayden's too and remember his life and his place in this family.  And even though I wish this wasn't the way it had to be, I look forward to starting this tradition for Hayden with our family. 
It is my third Christmas without Hayden- and my first with Hudson. Again terribly bittersweet. But having him in our lives definitely bumps up the sweet factor. And even though the holidays are at times unbearably tough, I am a mother. And I will do the best I can to make this the most wonderful time of the year for Jackson, Hudson, Rob, and yes...for myself too. 

3.12.12 - 8.16.12

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