Monday, February 25, 2013

Happiness is...

February has been a terrible month... it's the shortest month of the year, that felt like the longest month in history!  I swear I have been waiting for this wretched month to end since it began... and here we are, just mere days away from it being done and I can't wait!  I am looking forward to March and to Noah's birthday... but I am not going to lie, last March proved to be very hard for me.  It was tough because very, very slowly Declan's death was sinking in.  I was starting to realize what his death really meant for us (for those of you that have never had a child die, that statement probably sounds crazy, but for those who have I know you know exactly what I mean by that!!).  The fog of February was lifted and the heartache of settling into our 'new normal' was upon us.  I remember Noah's birthday (March 17th) and how incredibly hard that was for me to do... to celebrate life when my heart was broken by death was very difficult.  I remember sitting in the rocking chair later in the afternoon that day, holding Declan's blanket and crying my eyes out... feeling destroyed by the fact that I would never have my sweet Dex here to celebrate his birthday and feeling guilty for even having a party, but knowing Noah NEEDED to have one!  It was a such a tough month... and I am looking forward to it this year.  Looking forward to the warmer weather, looking forward to Noah's birthday and Easter.  I am excited... but I have some anxiety about it... remembering the suffering and pain from last year.... remembering where I was emotionally and where my heart was at.  I'm hoping the aftermath of the awful month of February doesn't linger and haunt me... so, in true Holle fashion I am making a challenge for myself... a "Happiness is..." challenge! Meaning for each day in March, I am going to find at least ONE thing that means 'happiness' to me and snap a photo of it. Thirty one days in March, 31photos of happiness to remind me how BLESSED I am despite our loss... to remind myself that I have NOT been forsaken.... to remind me that I could easily feel sorry for myself, but there many things to be thankful for and that make me happy! I just have to try and see through the clouds that sometimes blur my vision to all the wonderful things I am blessed with....

Are you up to the challenge? :) 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

This is NOT good-bye

I don't know if I have posted this song before or not... but today it is moving me... filling my spirit with hope and a longing for the day I WILL see my sweet Dex again.

Westlife - I'll see you Again

Death was never part of God's plan... my suffering was not a part of some evil plan He set against me.  Death is a result of sin and the devil.  I sin and you sin... to expect that I would be above hurt and pain is the result of my sinful, selfish nature.... because I live in a world filled with sin, I will experience pain and I will be hurt again.  I need to keep my eyes to heaven, my hope directed towards the promise that I am made for SO much more... that my potential will not be fully met until I walk through heaven's gates.  The day Declan left us was not good-bye...  and today, that knowledge brings me hope and gives me goosebumps for what that moment will be like.   

Monday, February 18, 2013

The last good bye...

Saying good bye is hard.... letting go of your child is beyond comprehension.  I can say with confidence that it was only with God's loving hand wrapped around us that were we able to make those crucial decisions in the when and how of letting Declan's spirit soar to its heavenly home... after we said our good-byes while he was living, while he was cradled in our arms surrounded by his entire family we stayed with him.  How do you leave?  How do you decide you've been there long enough?  How do you make the decision to say to the nurse... 'We are leaving, but please stay with him until he reaches the morgue?'  I can't tell you... I don't know how we made those agonizing decisions that day.  Walking away from his room in the PICU that night felt like a dream.  I would have imagined, at that point, that we had said our last good-bye.... but little did I know, we would be faced with good-bye a few more times that week.  On Friday, the 17th we were finally able to see him again and allowed to say good-bye once more.  Nathan and I held him... we ran our fingers over his soft skin and tried in vain to warm his little body up.  He was dressed to impress with little navy linen pants, a white and light blue collared shirt with a navy and pink argyle sweater over top.  He had a gopher stocking hat on, mainly to cover up visible marks from the autopsy... but when I first saw it, I couldn't help but remember the day I bought it.  Nathan and I had gone to a Gopher game in September and we were losing terribly, so I decided to go to the gift shop...  and it was clear on the other side of the stadium and people actually stopped me to ask if I was ok - I was out of breath and sweating and only half way there! (I have always been out of shape and WAY over weight during my pregnancies) When I finally arrived, I found these adorable little gopher slippers and a cute white fleece stocking hat.  It was SO cute... we were so excited, who knew that less than 6 months later, it would be worn to his funeral?!   Only our immediate family joined us that afternoon... in that good-bye.  It was peaceful and relaxed.... again, how did Nate and I decide that we needed to leave?  How again, did we determine we had been there long enough? On Saturday, the 18th we had our final good-bye... after visitation, the funeral director, Phil told us "it was time" and we knew that meant it was the last opportunity to see him before they sealed his casket up.  We stood there... holding each other, wishing the moment wouldn't end...  but the church was full and people were waiting. We knew that passing moment could only be brief.  One last touch... one last kiss on the his fat little cheeks and we turned and walked away, holding each other tightly as we did.... our last good-bye.  What I wouldn't give today to have made that moment longer, to steal just one more kiss and one more touch.  To want the impossible... to know what you desire will never happen again... it's frustrating at best and demoralizing at worst.  I can only imagine the reunion with Declan when I finally make it home.  I can see him now, running into my arms and for the first time hearing him say 'Mommy!'  What a joyous moment that will be... when there are no more good-byes!

Finally Home ~ Mercy Me

I have added this video before on my blog, but until I do make my journey home, I will be forever homesick.... 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

One year...

Today happened... it came.  I was dreading it, fearing it actually.  Trying to figure out what we could do that would honor Declan.  That would help our broken hearts in their healing.  

We decided we wanted to give back to those who helped us... to those who fought for Declan's life.  We brought lunch to the St. Peter police department and enjoyed their company as we got to know the police officers and the detectives who assisted in Declan's care.

We talked about this day last year... we talked about the impact it had on all of us.  We laughed, I cried... it was wonderful to meet them and to embrace them! 

Officer Ryan has kind enough to allow me to hold his hands... to hold the hands that assisted my son's heart to beat... the hands that helped ensure that my family and I would get to have our moment with Declan... that we would get to say our good-byes to him while he was still present in this world. 

After lunch, we took a tray of baked goods to Noah's school, South Elementary to treat the staff that work there.  We have felt nothing but support and love from the teachers and other personnel that work there. Noah's teacher last year and his teacher this year sent us special notes to let us know they were thinking of us. 

After dropping off the goodies, we brought another tray of deliciousness over to the emergency room staff here at Rivers Edge hospital in St. Peter.  When we arrived at the reception area, we told our story to the young lady working the desk, another lady over heard our us talking and said, "I remember you, we were just speaking of you this morning."  She was kind enough to allow us back to the ER to meet one of the people that was working that terrible day... we came in and she came around the corner, she put her hands over her mouth and said "Shut up" with tears in her eyes... she recognized us in matter of seconds. She told us that she thinks about Declan every day.  It was fabulous to meet her and to know he is remembered! 

We ended our day by going out to supper... coming home, getting the kids tucked in and chilling out with each other.  I didn't know what to expect about today... I wasn't sure how I would feel... but I couldn't have asked for it to be any better.  Meeting the police officers and the Emergency room nurse, solidified that there are great people out there who do the right thing, even when they don't have to.  To all the men and women who worked so hard to give us one last day with our son, Nate and I say THANK YOU! 

This photo was taken on Valentine's day last year, around 6:45 in the morning. Clearly, we didn't know if would be the last one of our beloved Declan and his brothers and sister, but thank God we took it. 

A glimpse into our day a year ago at this time...

A brief look into our 365 days of healing... 

Play therapy in early April 

Butterfly release in memory of our lost loved one

Floating lanterns on Memorial day

Family vacation 

Running for Declan at the Color Run

Declan tattoo... I refuse to sink

Hope Rocks concert - benefit to support Faith's Lodge

Adding new hand made decorations to Declan's grave site

"Celebration of life" floating lanterns gathering with over 80 friends and family members supporting us on Declan's 1st birthday

Preparing for Valentines day by being at his grave site

Sending unending love to our son 

Giving flowers to our little man... 

We miss you and love you Declan Lloyd, your memory will never be forgotten... 


The promise

To me, there is nothing 'happy' about today... there is NOT one reason to celebrate. Valentine's day never was that important of a holiday to me, but it holds even less value now.... Now it is the day my son died.  The day my life as I once knew it ended... the day I realized that life can change in the blink of an eye... the day life knocked me down and laughed in my face.... but slowly, after time I have come to realize that because of God's LOVE and God's gift - God's promise to me that I will see my son again.  My hope that the pain of this world will end and we will reunite in Heaven is now where I draw my strength.... the promise I hold on tightly to.

Monday, February 4, 2013

One day at a time.... STILL!

The time draws down... the seconds tick away... and before I know it, that day will be upon us.  The day that changes nothing, but is a big deal.  Not the type of anniversary I would have imagined ever having... but here I am. Sitting. Waiting. Wondering what that day will be like.  Trying to figure out how to make it something more than it will surely be... something that is impactful and brings joy to his memory... Something that helps me forget the pain and remember the happiness he brought to my life every second I knew him.... to remember how his smile was beautiful and his laugh was contagious!  How his brother and sister adored him and how he was just starting to talk and he had a bit of a raspy, deep little baby voice.... I can't believe it's been a year since I last saw him.  I can't believe it's been a year since I held him and rocked him and nursed him.  I am still pissed that this has happened to us, to my baby!  There are times, when I look around at all the babies out there... all the moms and all the expectant mothers... and I feel like I drew the short end of the stick.  Statistics happen to other people, not me... I guess I didn't realize that when they say every six babies out of 1000 will die of SIDS that my children were included in those numbers.... I guess I always thought they were talking about other people's babies, not mine.   I'm a little numb still, a little in shock still, and still in disbelief... why did this happen?  Why... the dreaded question.  The one with no answer... but the lingering question that haunts me.  I will never know and as I have said before, even if I did know, it would never be a good enough reason for me.   One thing I do know... I approach the one year passing of our sweet Dex with some bittersweet feelings.... part of me is anxious because we will no longer be the newly bereaved parents... our 1 year is done and it feels like now people expect us to be old pros at this grief thing... almost as if society's permission to still be mourning our son is gone.  I feel as though I am waiting for someone to say "it's time..." and I don't know how I would handle that.  I don't know how to move into year 2... I'm not sure what to expect.   I should probably just stop and reflect on the ol' standby motto that is actually the best advice ever given.... 'Take it one day at time'  I need to allow the next couple weeks to run their course, to allow my grief to come to an ugly head... to scream, cry, get frustrated, get pissed, and to allow my son's presence to fill my spirit and in doing so remember his smile, his light and the beauty that he brought into our lives and see if I can reflect his light out to others.