Four years without you...

16 August 2016

Oh sweet Hayden...

Its been four years since I last held your tiny hand, kissed your swollen face, and held your lifeless body in my tired arms. The day we said our goodbyes to you will always be the saddest, most tragic day of my life. I still remember that day like it were yesterday. I remember feeling like I must be in a nightmare- this couldn't possibly be my life now. I had no idea how I would live without you or how it would change every part of me. How loosing you would alter me so intensely. How every day I wake up and you are still the first thing on my mind. Sometimes I smile, sometimes I cry- but I always, always think of you.

I think of your smile, your eyes- your sweet little body laying next to me. Your little legs kicking and your arms going- your excitement at the start of a new day together.

I think about how old you would be now- if you were still here. You would be four (almost four and a half!) years old- would you still have that same infectious smile and soulful eyes? Would you wake each day with the same excitement as you did when you were a baby? My mind always says yes... You would love the simple life we live- spending most of our days in this house just playing and being together.

If time allows, I start to reflect on the life you did have- the good, and the bad. The days we spent at CHOP- just me and you- and all of your care takers, of course. Those days are oddly my favorite to look back on. While most were hard, and at the time I hated being in that place, they are what I think back on most and smile. We spent so many hours just sitting together, listening to Sara Groves, or lullabies we grew to love. I'd just hold you for hours on end- talking to you, snuggling with you- singing to you. Doctors and nurses would come and go- but otherwise we were on our own planet in there together. We'd play with your favorite toys- work on your tracking and wait as patiently as we could until daddy and Jackson would come to see us on the weekends.

Jackson was the coolest person in the world in your eyes. I have so many memories of you just watching him play and talk and you just smiling up at him. The love you had for each other was mutual- and so beautiful. He couldn't wait to play with you- he had it all planned out. He still sometimes talks about how much he misses you- his playmate. And if possible, my heart breaks a little more every time he brings it up.

Your little brothers know you well- we make sure of that. Hudson includes you in everything we do- we sing songs with all our families names- and he always adds you. Whenever we talk about going some place, he always asks if you will be there too- and our response is always the same 'Hayden is always with us'. We say that because not only do we truly believe it, we also feel it. Greyson is learning all about you, too. He sleeps in your cove in our room, and every time he wakes from a nap, we pause at your big photos and say hi to you- he smiles so big and reaches out to touch your face- every single time.

Its strange living a life without you in it. Even though you only existed on this earth for 5 months and 4 days, you left such an incredible impact on my heart and without your physical presence, life often feels voided. But you have gifted me so many wonderful things, I often feel guilty when I have my own personal pity parties. Life is so full around here- between your brothers and your foundation- our hands are full- but my heart just isn't. Although time has healed some wounds like so many said it would, the void without you here seems to never go away.

Sometimes I feel like you were all just this great big beautiful dream- were you real?

Of course you were real- you are real. You are my second child- my hero, the boy who fought so hard to stay here in my arms.

Reliving the last three days of your life is pure torture- year after year. The memories of those events haunts me so deeply- I can't escape it. I still can't figure out God's plan- though I am desperately trying to.

I remember the extreme pain that started inside of me the day your code went off. I never knew a pain like that existed. Every time I look back on that night I see myself in a ball on the floor in that hallway screaming-the start of my real- life nightmare.

And then a different, deeper pain filled me the night before you died when I tried everything I could to get your EEG to show some sign of life. Your fathers' face and shaking his head 'no' is another visual that I just can't get out of my head. Defeat. We had lost. It was then that I realized it was over- you were gone. Just like that, you were gone.

The day you left this earth an even deeper pain filled me, one that is still inside of me and will always remain, this I am sure of. A pain so intense, so excruciating, I still to this day cannot believe I survived it. No doubt I have your brother and daddy to thank for that.

Walking out of that hospital without you left my insides on fire. That fire is re-lit whenever I put myself back in that moment. Another visual of me collapsing in the hallway wailing for my baby. Your nurse holding you on the other side- probably sobbing too. It all just seems so unreal- an impossible reality that yet somehow is. I am still trying to figure out why a mother should ever be asked to live a life without her child. Where is the surgical process to fix MY half a heart?? There isn't one- because its impossible to fix.

Four years ago today my life and everything after it was drastically altered- and not in ways I planned for. I wish I could go back in time and change it all- change what happened to you- to us. What I wouldn't do to change it...

But since I can't...

Thank you. Thank you for choosing me. Thank you for bringing me such purpose in life and teaching me the value and meaning to my life. Thank you for teaching others those same values and meaning. Thank you for making me a better mother. Thank you for continuing to show us your love through the signs you send to us and those around us. Thank you for guiding me in your legacy and pushing me in the right directions. Thank you for giving me the strength to survive this awful tragedy that has happened to our family. Thank you for being my hero and my inspiration. Thank you for choosing me...

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