Thursday, May 31, 2012

Up, Up and Away

Sweet Declan...10 weeks old
I was sitting at the park with the kids the other day and it is right across the street from the hospital and emergency room.  The helicopter pad sits within eye's view of the park.... I can't help but wonder about the people who possibly saw us leaving the ER that Valentines day.  Did they see the helicopter come in... did they see us loading... did anyone stop for a second and say a prayer for the family that was riding inside.   Were there little kids saying, "look...a helicopter!" as they pointed at us flying by?  I remember walking out of the ER...it was cold, but considering this winter, it wasn't terrible out.  My first thought was about keeping Declan warm from the hospital to the helicopter...however, he wasn't coming out at the same time.  They waited inside until we were inside the helicopter and once I seen him coming out I could tell they had him covered up pretty good.  I walked next to the pilot who was as tall, if not taller, than Nate... so to say he was a looming presence is an understatement.  He had his blue flight outfit (for lack of a different word) on and he felt very 'official' to me.  Two other flight medics were going to be with in the back with Declan.... As we walked to the helicopter, I tried so hard to remain calm, but tears and sobbing were inevitable.  The pilot, then placed his arm around my shoulders as we walked and in an accent I wasn't familiar with said, "We are going to the best hospital, with the best doctors, he will be in good hands."  We then loaded in and off we went.   Flying in a helicopter is different than flying in a plane... it felt like we were going to drop out of the sky at any time, plus we weren't very high up.  I could see cars and houses pretty clearly.  The pilot and I had some conversation, through my head piece, I could hear the medics in the back and what they were saying to each other.   There was about 5 minutes towards the end that I could no longer hear the medics in the back and I still don't know if they just weren't talking or if they shut me out of the conversation on purpose... The trip took probably about 20 minutes, but felt like hours... it was freezing cold and obviously I was in a state of shock so time stood still.  As we came up to Minneapolis/St. Paul International airport, the pilot pointed out the lines of planes waiting to take off.... He told me they were waiting for us to clear the air space.  They had been sitting there for who knows how long, giving us the ability to fly straight through.  I wonder now if the people on those planes knew why they were waiting.  I wonder if any of them said prayers for us... I wonder if any them were silently upset at the delay in their plans... I know this is standard procedure, but it still feels special... it reminds me that there is good out there... When we landed, the pilot helped me out and as we were walking in he placed his hand on my back and said something to me... presumably something encouraging and kind, but I have no idea what, I couldn't hear a thing.  That was it... that was our journey.  This memorial day weekend,  a helicopter flew over our lake house (which is directly in the path from the Spirit Lake hospital to Sioux Falls hospitals so to see a helicopter isn't unusual) I saw it and I ran out of the house... I kept thinking of our trip... I kept thinking of the family inside... I kept looking around at the people enjoying the lake, at the people playing yard games and they were oblivious to it... their lives continued, while someone else's was hanging by a thread.  Our family was having a glorious day soaking up the sun, while another family was feeling the frailty of life... I said as many prayers as I could for that family... for strength, for the doctors, for God's will to be done.  I had a mini moment of craziness! I kept thinking, 'today that person's life is changing.  Their tomorrows will never be the same....'


Monday, May 28, 2012

Declan's Memorial Stone

Today I sit and reflect on my weekend.  Memorial day weekend... a weekend to honor those who have proudly served our country and paid the ultimate sacrifice.  I thought about my wonderful husband and the sacrifice he made for this great country... thank God his sacrifice was not his life, but instead time away from his family.  Twenty two months spent away from his then 7 month old son... 660 some days away from first steps, baby giggles, squishy arm hugs and open mouth slobber kisses.  Time that he will never have back.  Memories he will never have. I think about that and how sad I once was for those lost moments, how crushed I was at the time stolen from both dad and son.  Over the past 15 weeks life has been put into a perspective I wasn't prepared for.  What once was so sad is not but a brief bump in the road...a detour on the journey of life.  My heart now aches for the memories we both are missing out on... for the first steps, first roll overs, first baby food adventures, first words and as all parents know this list goes on forever.... Nate missed 22 months of my oldest sons life, but he still gets to go fishing with him.  He still gets to sit at his football games and cheer him on.  He still gets to sit him down and have 'the talk' with him.  We have a life time of memories left to make with our living children.... it is the memories we know we could have had with Declan that pull at my heart...that make me sick with pain and shake with anger! It is the neverness that is overwhelming.... It is coming to terms, 15 weeks later, that there is no end to this.  The curtain can close there is nothing more to tell of his story, never will there be another story to tell.... we will come to a time when Declan will have been gone 1 year, 2 years... 5 years.... 17 years.... it doesn't stop at 15 weeks.  Next week will be 16 weeks.... it doesn't stop.  This death... this end of life continues every day that I am alive and I often feel smothered with that knowledge.  I feel beaten down and tired by the day to day reminders of our loss.... but somehow each day comes, I get up and go about my life.... I take pleasures in the small things.... a kiss from Courty and story from Noah.... I'm learning to say "who cares" to messes and "yes please" to play dates... each day holds something different... some crazy new emotion I wasn't prepared for or expecting... but I had been preparing myself for the first time I would see Dex's headstone.... I expected it to be hard.  I expected tears....but I am not sure you can ever be prepared to see your child's memorial... there are no words for how emotionally draining it was for both Nate and myself to see it.  It is beautiful and wonderful and exceeds our expectations and at the same time was gut wrenchingly hard to see.  "I lift my eyes until to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth"...we will get through this....


The toy tractors are from Noah's birthday cake this year.... The pinwheels are something I picked up because I thought they were fitting for a child. 


One of my ALL TIME favorite books to read to the kids is Guess How Much I Love You.... where the baby bunny is trying to have his dad guess how much he loves him... the baby bunny tells his dad all the different ways he loves him... but the father bunny always can 'one-up' him.  In the very end of the book, the baby says, "I love you right up to the moon" thinking nothing could be further than the moon and then he falls asleep... the dad bunny then says, "I love you to the moon and back." The kids and I say that to each other frequently... although Noah has gotten pretty clever with how much he loves me lately... and is hard to 'one-up'! 


Those are Declan's actual hand prints we had taken at Children's.  The verse in the corner says, "If tears could build a stairway and memories a lane, I'd walk right up to heaven and bring you back again."  



Friday, May 25, 2012

The last gift...

Tonight we are heading down to see the headstone.  I can't wait.  I have ants in my pants I'm so excited! It's really strange.  I think maybe because this is new and we haven't had anything new for Declan since his baptism really.... and buying something new for him is a privilege I no longer have.  I won't be able to buy him more clothes.  I won't be able to buy the cute little shoes I see in the stores.... I have nothing left to give him except this headstone.  This is my last gift to him... the last... the last anything and everything.  It breaks my heart because it is so final now.  Not that it hasn't seemed final for 14 weeks, but I had in my head that this would be the last thing and then it would be over.  The reality is there is no "over" but "new" things have subsided and we are left with what is still here... Memories.  Heart ache.  Love.... but nothing new for my sweet Dex.  I wish I could have given him more.  I wish I had something to be excited about that wasn't my son's headstone.  He would be 6 months old now... I wish I could be sharing with you that he was sitting up on his own or starting to walk along furniture.  I wish I was telling about new teeth and baby sounds.  I wish I could have seen just once Declan put his little arms out to me to pick  him up.  There are obviously SO many things I wish we were doing... but I suppose once again I am forced to deal with the life I have been given... which makes checking out my son's headstone about as good as it can be.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Lessons learned

You never know how strong you are
until you have no other choice.
Today we found out that one of Nate's coworkers son passed away.  He was 14 (maybe 15) years old.  There really is no way to explain how it feels to hear the news that someone else's child has died.  There is an overwhelming urge to go to them.  To hold them.  To cry with them.... but we both remember so very vividly what those first few days were like... they were precious, which may seem strange to use that word to describe the darkest days life can throw at you, but the precious thing about those days is that there is no expectations for you.  You could be in complete meltdown mode and that would be ok. Reality doesn't have to return during those first few days.  Time stands still, you are expected to be in deep grieving mode. You have no options except to draw close to those around you and lean on others to hold you up... but the 'other people' who hold you up are your close friends and family.  There will come a time for Nate and I to go to this couple and hold them, but today they need prayers and family support.  They need forgiveness for being moody, they need understanding for being 'out of it' and they need to be told to grieve however they want.  There is no "normal" grieving...there are no "normal" timelines....  I think Nate and I have developed a new perspective on life... on what is really important and we are working hard to make sure our lives reflect those lessons.... Love others... Support those who are hurting... Be accessible... Pray for healing for yourself and others...Fight for a cause... stand up for what is right... don't sweat the small things... above all, lift your eyes to the Maker and trust in Him.  I don't know what I will say to this mother when I meet her, but I trust God will give me words to say that will help and not hinder.   One truth in life... Children should NOT die before their parents...it's unnatural and devastatingly hard to recover.  Tonight I pray for those of us who have lived through the loss of a child...I pray for strength, courage and healing.

To top off the already emotional day, I also found out that Declan's headstone has arrived and I have so much anxiety about seeing it...I know it will be awesome. I know it will add a finality to Declan's death. I know it will be the last big decision we have to make for our son.  I had to resist the urge to drive down to the cemetery to see it after work today. I am excited to see it (probably sounds strange to use that word to describe seeing Declan's headstone, but it's true) I am anxious to run my hands over the words and his photo.  I think its going to be breath taking. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Getting back to normal...

The last kiss Courty gave her little brother.
I was asked by a well meaning acquaintance today if things in my life were getting back to normal.  It is a valid question I suppose.  She meant nothing by it other than to be supportive and kind... but it is a hard question to get asked.  Not because it offends or hurts me, but because how do I explain to someone that I am not back to normal and that I don't anticipate ever being back to 'normal' actually.  Life is not as it once was.  My world has been turned upside down and I am left to figure out how to live in this life of my mine.  I am left wondering how to focus on work instead of letting my thoughts drift to my son.  I am left trying to figure out how to go about being a mom and a wife after losing something I love(d) so intensely. I am left wondering how to incorporate Declan into my life, while allowing myself to move on...and really how do you move on from that?  How does your heart ever recover? What is the next step in healing? Its been 14 weeks today.  There are times when I feel good... my heart isn't aching as much or I can make it the whole day without crying.  There are other days when I want nothing more than to have a baby again...there is the desire to hold a child of my own in my arms again... to smell that 'baby' smell we all love so much.  Then I realize I don't just want a baby.... I want my baby...back.  Then I have days when I can think of nothing else... nothing else!! Random thought after random thought of Declan streaming through my head and heart.  I would say I haven't had a "normal" day yet.... but who cares? I don't. Is that normal? Normal is as normal does I like to say (I believe Forrest Gump said that).  So for the question.... "are you getting back to normal?"  I don't think so....

Monday, May 21, 2012

A "soul" vacation

Vacations are good for the body... spending time with family who love you and support you unconditionally is great for your soul!  After spending a long weekend in California for my cousin's wedding, I am once again overwhelmed with how blessed I am.  I was able to spend quality time with some of the people I love the most in this world. There were a multitude of reasons to be thankful this past weekend.  The views alone were spectacular and were a great change of scenery... there were times when I would be looking over the ocean and I would get chills. I often felt surrounded in God's embrace and at the risk of sounding crazy, I felt surrounded by Declan.  I looked upon the scenery and was in awe of this world.... my heart was filled with admiration at what God can do.... so why couldn't I have felt Declan? Would that have been out of the realm of possibilities for God to do? I don't know think so... I know I felt Dex...I would be thinking of him, thinking that I could sense his presence and I would break out in goosebumps.  It felt calm and wonderful and satisfying.  Even though Dex wasn't with me physically, he was with me in spirit and in my heart.   It felt good to be on vacation... I didn't know how much I needed to be reminded of all the wondrous things that still exist.  I needed to feel overwhelmed by the worlds beauty.  I needed to be surrounded by family and remember that I am still me and am still loved.  I needed to allow myself and my soul to take a deep breath, to kick off my shoes, and to be free.  I needed to feel surrounded by God's love and Declan's presence.  As much as I needed that break from reality, I also needed to come home... I needed to wrap my arms around my children.  I needed to kiss them and laugh with them and remember that the BEST and most BEAUTIFUL things in this world aren't things at all...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mother's Day


Mother's day came and went... I was nervous and anxious about the day and I can say it went as good as it could. I was lucky because Nate and the kids allowed me to do what I wanted... which was to be away from civilization, away from people and secluded in my own world, surrounded by my family... and that is just what we did.  We woke up and after a nice breakfast, decided to go canoeing back by the farm I grew up on.  My dad and Nate got the canoe ready and slowly and carefully Noah, my mom, myself and Nate got in and started our trip. It was so peaceful. When I was little we used to go canoeing often, but I hadn't done it in years and it provided me with the much need quietness and solitude I was craving.  We saw a beaver, a muskrat, and lots of different birds.  The world looks different from the river... The green is more vibrant, the trees are old and large and you can't help but marvel at this world we able able to live in. You can almost forget your troubles...almost. It was perfect. I was able to take in the beauty that life has to offer and I was able to reflect on me...my life as a mother... my losses... my living children.... my husband.... it was just want I needed.  When we were done we made our way back to the lake house and did some fishing. As long as someone will bait my hook (or at least cut the worms in half for me) I am good to go.... sitting on the end of the dock, with little distractions and the sun beaming down on my back, I was again able to reflect on this new life we are leading.  I was able to spend time in prayer and in deep 'Declan' thoughts.
Here fishy fishy...
Although my heart was a wreak, I was thankful that I was able to enjoy the day.  I was thankful for my family who allowed me to sulk at times, cry at times and be down right moody at times.  I was thankful that at the end of the day I was able to appreciate being a mother. I was thankful that I found pleasure in the small things... the canoe ride, fishing, swimming... warm hugs, butterfly kisses, I love you's, the "mom watch this..." comments...the taco house.  When we finally made our way home, I walked in with a heavy heart, but as the kids, Nate and I gathered in Noah's room for our evening prayers I realized just how much I have to be thankful for.
My three babies...
  

Monday, May 14, 2012

Feeling Cheated!

While I was shopping the other day, I walked past the baby section.  As I stared at the clothes, I noticed a little navy blue onesie that said "My first 4th of July" and I just stood there...  tears clouding my vision and getting upset that I couldn't buy it.  I realized I was angry... but there was more to it as well.... for a few weeks I've been experiencing this feeling, that comes and goes and lingers in the pit of my stomach, but I haven't been able to put my finger on it.  My first thought was that I was starting to finally 'lose it'... that I was slowly unraveling and as they say "coming undone!".  It was scary and no matter what I did, I couldn't seem to shake it... but while I was standing there at Kohl's, looking at their newly remodeled baby section and that stupid onesie, it became clear to me.... I feel CHEATED!  I feel wronged. I feel like the butt of a bad joke!  It isn't fair.  I didn't deserve this.  I want to plead with someone to change our situation... I want to grovel at the feet of God, to beg Him to give me my son back.  I want a different answer!  What does a rational person do when you know what you want isn't possible?  How do make your heart and your brain get on the same page?  How do I get passed the feelings of anger and unfairness?  I have no answers....  I am like a blind woman, walking with my arms out and my feet slowly inching out in front of me... hoping I don't fall on my face, but moving forward none the less, slowly but surely...inch by inch.  Thankfully, the 'sane' part of me continues to outsmart, outwit and out last the part of me that would like to 'lose it'... luckily, for me, God is helping me cope... He is my guiding light and is my voice of reason.  I think God understands my feelings... I believe even He thinks I've been cheated.   Once again, I am reminded that life isn't always fair... life doesn't always (or hardly ever) follow my 'plan'... I've got to figure out how to deal with the cards I've been given... to try and make the most out of our tragedy. Good golly that could take a while!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Getting through....

Today was tough.... today we surpassed a milestone I wasn't ready to pass.... at 10:15 tonight, Declan passed away 12 weeks and 4 days ago. He was 12 weeks and 4 days old.  I knew the day would come.  I didn't know how I would get through it. I spent alot of the day reflecting... thinking of the moment he passed.... the room was quiet and Nate and I had made the decision to take out Dex's ventilator. He were both holding him, with Noah as close to us as he could get.... our doctor removed the tape, took out the ventilator and we just held him.  We showered him with as much love as we could his last moments of life.  I didn't look at anyone but Declan, Nate and Noah.  We were surrounded by family and hospital staff that in our short time there became like close friends. There was no sounds beside the random sound of the heart monitor.... after a few moments Nate asked the doctor to shut off the monitor so we wouldn't have to listen, it was like a reminder of what we were losing.... The doctor watched the monitor and finally came over and did a check for herself and confirmed that he had passed away.  No one moved.... the only sound was of sniffles and heartache....we stayed there, held in the moment by disbelief, shock, extreme heartache and the desire to make the moment last a lifetime. 


Tonight, he has been gone longer than he was here... tonight my heart is heavy. Tomorrow is mother's day... how do you 'mother' a child who is no longer part of our world? How do I find the strength to celebrate when my heart is broken and bruised? In honor of our son's life and to help our pain, we spent a part of tonight at Dex's grave. We released floating lanterns as a way to acknowledge the day, the moment... to acknowledge his life and our heartache. It turned out amazing and was a peaceful, quiet, special way to recognize what we have loss. Afterwards, Nate and I had a moment to ourselves and had our release of pain... lots of tears, lots of 'why's' and lots of reassurance of the love we have for Declan, our other children and for each other.  We will get through... we have not been left alone.... God has provided us with great friends, great family and a faith strong enough to move mountains!





video
Short video of our floating lanterns...  thanks to my dear friend, Erica, for finding these lanterns and getting them for us! 


Getting ready for send off!
Up, Up, Up they go...
Watching as they float away...
here but a moment yet etched in forever



Friday, May 11, 2012

Forget me, Forget me not...

I stumbled across this photo today...for some reason it pulls at my heart strings... maybe because I am battling an internal war of trying to hold on to memories and the reality of forgetting...or maybe its the other way around... maybe I'm scared Dex won't remember me... he only knew me for such a brief moment in time and I know nothing I gave him here on this earth compares to his heavenly home.... I suppose I can only worry about what I can control and the only thing I can control is my ability to never forget Declan... not even when I'm a hundred!


Missing you a lot this week and always little man...
Love you to the moon and back!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Love Wholeheartedly

I heard this song the other day, or maybe even on my way to work today... anyway, going down grief's journey makes you notice things differently than you once did.  So I was listening to this song, and the lyrics said something like "My universe will never be the same, I'm glad you came."  I am pretty sure the signer is not speaking of a child/parent relationship in this song, but like I mentioned, I hear songs differently that I once did... and all I could think about after hearing those few words was how glad I am that I had Declan.  How much more fulfilled I am because I am his mother....and as the song says, my universe will NEVER be the same.  I'm glad he was a part of my life... he has permanently changed me.  I am a better person, a better mother, a better wife because of the lessons that little boy taught me.  I wish he was still here....I would have liked more time with him, but I would NEVER trade a second I had with him for anything...nothing!  I don't want to think this happened for a reason... I don't want to think 'something good will come from it'... my son died, I didn't lose a job or go through a divorce! No matter what comes of this, it will not make Declan's death ok... HOWEVER, I am trying to look at the positive side of my life... I am trying to rise above and look to the lessons taught by losing someone so wonderful.  I'm trying, everyday I am trying... and no matter how I feel, no matter the ache, the pain... I am so thankful for the 12 weeks and 4 days I was able to love him, able to hold him, able to marvel at the wonderment of life... I am thankful for every second, every minute, every spit up, every breath, every dirty diaper, every waking hour, everyTHING I had with him!  My heart love wholeheartedly, without question and without fear of the possibility of anguish!  What a gift he was to me, continues to be to me and will always be to me!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The 12th week

A flower cannot blossom without sunshine,
and man cannot live without love.
Flowers whisper what words cannot say


I have been so blessed to have many friends and family who have supported me through my journey of grief.  I have cried on their shoulders, looked to them for laughs, and have flipped my lid while they listened. In the midst of my storm, God has given me these people to use and turn to in my time of need.  This week has been hard, it is the 12th week... Saturday IS 12 weeks, 4 days...  Declan was 12 weeks and 4 days old when he passed away.... meaning, the first day that Declan will have been gone longer than he was present in my life will be mothers day.  What a cruel, unkind trick....it doesn't seem fair... but what does lately!? Thank God I have friends and family who have shown their support for me and without having to be reminded of my anxiety about this week, have sought me out to make sure I am doing ok!  Thank you to my many many friends and thank you, Jen, for the beautiful flowers you gave me yesterday! I have found myself staring at them multiple times when I am experiencing overwhelming emotions!  I am humbled by all of YOU....

Monday, May 7, 2012

Tears, Tributes and Butterflies

My Little Butterfly


Releasing our butterfly!
Today a little butterfly flew by me.  I thought to myself, 'where have you been lithe guy? You came into this world as a cocoon, all by yourself and blossom intone this beautiful butterfly and fly off to see the world. What you don't realize little butterfly, as you flutter through your days, is how you touch those around you in your soft gentle way. You don't realize the wonder and awe you create around you.' He fluttered his wings towards me as if he was waving good-bye as he headed towards the horizon.  He looked very happy and content as we went on his way, as if to say to me, "don't worry, I will be ok." I was sad to see him go, for he had touched my heart in such a way that knew life would never be the same.  He had left an imprint on all the beauty life has to offer.  I knew each time I looked at another butterfly or horizon I would remember our moment in time when it was only him and I.  I knew I would be a better person all because this little butterfly flew by me one bright sunny day. 
© Barbara Ann Rogers

Looking, but certainly not touching!
We released butterflies at the Tears, Tributes and Transformations" bereavement service on Saturday. They lingered just a moment, but long enough to create amazement at their beauty.  It was a terribly sad service. Each family was allowed to light a candle and read their child's name and after that there was a slide show.  Beautiful faces that will always be remembered, but never again seen. I didn't want  Dex's face to float across the screen, but it did.... there he was, beautiful, smiling, full of life... creating a deep ache within. It was gut wrenching to be surrounded by the families of the other children's whose lives ended way to soon.... I wanted not to be there....I wanted to be sitting at our house, watching movies with my family, listening to the rain against the house... I wished I wasn't part of this group... I wished I could be the one looking on with sadness at someone else's pain. The reality is, however, that this life of mine is real.  My nightmares are true.  My child did die.  I am not able to be on the outside looking in...I have to accept what I have been given.  I have to deal with the loneliness, the constant ache, the hurt I feel... the families at the bereavement services have experienced pain that echoes mine... they have walked my walk and traveled this journey.  My grief is not unique to death's healing... it's only unique to me.  As we watched our butterfly fly away, I could understand the correlation between butterflies and death... I understood the analogy perfectly.  While I gazed to the heavens, with the rain falling softly I realized that like the butterfly, not everything was meant to be kept.... somethings... some people were meant for far better places than here.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

The painful path

Today is a blah day...the skies are gray, the air is damp... we will be heading up to a bereavement service for children who passed away at Children's hospital later this morning.... the weather is fitting to my mood.  I feel yucky. I feel lonely.... which is funny because I am not alone, the kids are here, Nate is here... but I feel alone.  There are times when having your spouse with you in your grief is very comforting, but there are days like today when we aren't in the same place... and that makes grief very lonely.   To be lonely when you are surround by people is strange.  It feels different than I've ever felt.  Days like today are tough... I don't want to feel this way, I don't want to be surrounded by people and have such a heavy heart... I want to laugh, I want to play football with Noah without an constant ache... but all I really want right now is to be comforted in someone's arms... to be held while I cry, to be told it's ok.  I want relief from this pain.  I want relief from my fears.  I want to get off this roller coaster of emotions and feel like my old self again.  I want a lot of things... but what I am trying to remind myself is that going through the grieving process makes me super sensitive, makes me read into situations more than I should, I over analyze every comment, every action... I came across this Bible verse today, Job 6:2-3 "If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales! It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas - no wonder my words have been impetuous." I have to remind myself to look to Him for support... there, in the Bible, are the answers I need... but the truth is reading His word, living my life for Him... is great, but I am still pained.... but His word is where I find my hope.  His promise that I will one day see Declan again... healing with God doesn't provide a promise that the path will be pain free, just that in the end it will have been worth it.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

When there are no words

What is there to say today? There are no new words... there are no new feelings. I feel like a broken record...  I miss my son. I wish he was still here.  I wish today we were celebrating his 23rd week of life instead of his 11th week of passing.  I miss his little fingers grasping my hands.  I miss his nose and his sweet little chin.  I miss his voice... he was just starting to babble and it was a beautiful sound.  I miss his smile.  I miss his soft hairs rubbing against my face.  I miss the folds of fat on his arms. I miss his chunky legs, I miss his sweet belly button.  I miss every single thing about him. My heart aches for him.  The hole in my heart, in my life, seems to expand and contract... somedays it is so wide I can hardly function, other moments it's tolerable.  There is no predictions with grieving.  Healing takes time and doesn't always follow the path I think it should.  Healing hurts.  Loving someone so completely and passionately makes us so very vulnerable to heartache and heartbreak.... loving someone opens the door to suffering.... which stinks, but if I didn't suffer, if my heart wasn't destroyed it would mean I never loved.... and I have loved, still love and will always love Declan.  Now if only my love were enough to change something...