I remember...6 years ago

24 August 2018

I awoke with a heavy heart this morning... 6 years ago we buried you...I remember so much of that day. I remember waking up again in shock thinking I can’t believe this is really happening. I remember my neighbor coming over sitting on the couch with me crying so hard he couldn’t talk. I remember putting on the same black dress I had worn to my grandmothers funeral years before. I remember walking into the cold funeral home with photos of him everywhere - and still feeling like this must all be some big mistake - some awful nightmare. I remember taking Xanax and hoping that would numb me just a little. I remember holding onto his lovey as each person approached me - begging this little plush animal to bring me strength from Hayden. I remember seeing so many people come through that line - people from all over the country that I never expected to see. People who drove long distances just to hug me and say ‘I’m so sorry...’ people who came to pay their respects to our family and to a baby boy whom they never met - but who touched them deeply.

I remember my aunt walking up to me. She’d traveled from Canada - and she too had a baby die 20+ years ago from HLHS. I remember sobbing loudly and finally releasing all the pain inside - she too knew that pain. I remember the whole football team coming through - and I remember feeling bad for them - how awkward that must have been for them and how foreign.

I remember being at the cemetery with our family and close friends. I remember standing there and not being able to move once the service was over. I remember my best friend coming over to me and putting her arm in mine and physically walking me down to my car - Rob’s best friend did the same for him.

I remember being at the wake - or whatever you call that place afterwards - and taking another Xanax. Needing some more numbness. I remember trying to make that part of the day a celebration of life - hanging his clothes on a clothesline, his photos all over, favorite toys, baby book... I remember going in and out of confusion - like a fog - all my favorite people from all walks of life were in one room - and I loved that - but hated so badly why.

I remember the hours and days that followed - wondering how I was going to make it through this. How I was going to go to sleep each night and wake up each day without him. I remember wondering when this pain in my chest would ever lessen. When I would ever live a life full of happiness and joy again. I assumed I never would - and was trying to figure out how to accept that. 

All of these memories flooded back this morning before I even opened my eyes - and I could feel tears streaming down. And then I opened my eyes - and my eyes saw the most perfect sight - my rainbow, my sidekick lying next to me. A few seconds later he opened his eyes and said 'Mommy its just me and you!' And we cuddled for a minute. Soon after he asked me to come with him. He pulled me into our cove where we had just gotten a new couch since moving Greyson into the boys room and he snuggled with me on the couch - telling me he loved me so much, giving me hugs and reminding me how beautiful my life is. Reminding me that I live a life full of joy and happiness and that the acceptance I have in my heart isn't about living without it - but living a life full of it. In that moment I felt tears again - and not just for missing Hayden, but also for deep deep gratitude to God for blessing me with this child - this life I live. Full of love - full of joy - full of memories of a boy we lost, but will never forget. 


16 August 2018

There are said to be five stages of grief – denial, bargaining, anger, depression and acceptance.

Over the past six years I have found myself in and out of the first four stages – often times overlapping a few at once. The first two – denial and bargaining – played a huge role in the first year or so after loosing Hayden; but after time, the shock of not waking up next to him faded. And with that progression, bargaining to get him back also declined.

However, anger and depression have found their way back to the surface intermittently over the past few years. At times I could see them coming from a mile away and almost prepare myself, other days it would come out of nowhere, like an unexpected punch to the gut and when it came it would (and still does) hurt like hell.

Acceptance though, that always seemed to be the stage that I thought I would NEVER reach. How would I ever be able to say that I accept his death? Accept that a doctor made an irreversible error that ultimately took his brain – and life – from us??

It wasn’t until recently while in deep conversation with a fellow bereaved mama that I realized that accepting his death didn’t mean I was saying that what happened to him was OK, or that I was moving on – but rather I have accepted that this is where God wants my life to be right now. And while I do still wish that it weren’t, that he were still here, that I never had to learn what it meant to accept Hayden’s death, I DO accept my life for what it is, and not only do I accept my life – I truly LOVE IT!!

I can say without hesitation that I truly have a beautiful life. It’s not perfect, and it has pain, but whose doesn’t? I have a husband who works so hard for this family – he works to keep us fed, keep us healthy, and keep me home to raise our family. He would do anything in the world to make me happy, and his love for me is larger than life. And yes Hayden died, but I have THREE living boys who make my heart burst – and make my head ache, if I’m being truly honest – but I wouldn’t change it for anything. I get to spend each day with these beautiful gifts – and I realize that’s exactly what they are. Thanks to Hayden and the lessons he taught me while he was here, I fully engulf myself in them – and they make me laugh and love harder (and maybe drink a little more wine) than I ever knew possible. Beyond my sweet little family, I am surrounded with a plethora of stellar people – both from my past and my present. Again, I know that all of them are gifts – and I truly take none of my blessings for granted.

I am approaching my six-year mark since the last time I held him in my arms. I’d be kidding myself if I didn’t acknowledge that it will most likely be just as painful as every other year reliving that awful day – but there is such a feeling of peace that comes with my pain this year. The peace of knowing that although great tragedy has touched my life, so have great blessings.

I feel confident at this point in my journey that I have overcome the stages marked Denial and Bargaining. I know that I will no doubt still have days where I will experience Anger and Depression, especially around his birthday and the sadness of not having him here to celebrate, as well as his day of passing which creates the deepest feelings of anger and depression of all. The reality is my child died. A part of me died. That’s real. But knowing those feelings will pass and knowing acceptance in my heart has not only begun, but is burning stronger every day leaves me with peace – even amidst my pain – and gives me hope that with each passing day the peace and acceptance will become stronger and I will continue to live a life full of gratitude right alongside my grief.

3.12.12 - 8.16.12

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