Saturday, October 30, 2010

Since It's Halloween

I made of list of things that scare me..... BOO! Ha ha.

1. Clowns (Have you seen the movie IT?? Enough said).
2. Ants, especially when they're in huge herds and you're running by and you see them on the sidewalk but you think it's pile of dirt until you get close and realize it's not dirt but actually a gigantic swarm of tiny, creepy crawly ants.
3. Driving next to semi-trucks. Sheer terror.
4. Hopping into the shower without letting the water run for a second. But who does that, that's just insanity.
5. Sleeping alone when Jon is out of town - surely the axe-murderers out there are aware that I'm home by myself.
6. Close-minded individuals.
7. Having to going somewhere early in the morning without having the opportunity to shower or brush my teeth.
8. Accidentally leaning a chair too far back and plummeting to the ground.
9. Playing any kind of sport where someone is watching me because I am neither athletic nor graceful.
10. Never having a healthy baby that we can take home.

Everyone is afraid of something (well, except Chuck Norris). I am often overwhelmed with fears, whether rational or irrational, that consume my thoughts and don't allow me to move forward or take action. But I have to remind myself I can't let fear control my life. As Babe Ruth said "Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game." Oh Babe, so wise.

So, what are you afraid of?? Is there something in your life that is holding you back from playing the game?? Don't let it. You miss out on 100% of the opportunities that you don't pursue. Just say yes!

Oooh, speaking of saying yes, I love this song!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Reasons to Laugh at Myself

Last night, I was frustrated with myself because I couldn't remember an important detail. My brain was not functioning properly. I was tired and grouchy, but I couldn't fall asleep until I remembered said important detail. I made a big sigh, and it came out like "Ugh!" Well, somewhere from the depths of my mind, "Ugh!" triggered me a memory from my past.

When I was 9 years old, I went to summer camp. Yep, I was cool even way back then. As a camper, we were required to "sing" little camp diddies on our way to and from our sweet camper destinations. Well, somehow "Ugh!" reminded me of one of those diddies, and I sang it in mind from beginning to end. The whole thing. I kid you not. Even down to the name of my cabin that year (Hernando De Soto, in case you were doubting me).

And then I just starting laughing (well, laughing on the inside, because my husband was already asleep - I swear he can fall asleep with zero effort, and I hate him for that but that's another blog topic). I couldn't believe how easily something so unimportant can be so fresh in my mind, as if it only happened yesterday, not 18 years ago.

So this little trip down memory lane got me thinking about other things in life I remember that have seemingly little effect in my life today. And I thought it would be fun to create a list. So heeeeeeere we go!

Things I Remember But Have No Real Reason To:

1. Camp songs
2. The entire scripts of Forrest Gump and The Princess Bride
3. My 2nd grade teacher's first name (Sally)
4. Every lyric of the N*Sync album 'No Strings Attached' (Oh, stop your judging)
5. What I wore on my first day of college, including jewelry.
6. The song we sang in 6th grade to learn the Spanish alphabet.
7. My first telephone number
8. The movements to "Macarena"
9. Almost all facts learned through watching Pop-Up Video on VH1
10. The exact place I was sitting when I learned Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston had broken up (Hotel Windsor lounge, KW was on my left, BS on my right, it was 1:05am)

Things I Should Remember But Can't For The Life of Me:

1. The framework of the majority of student developmental theories I learned in graduate school
2. Any phone number except my own
3. Pretty much anyone's birthdate. Months? Sure. Days? Fogettaboutit.
4. My 2nd grade teacher's last name.
5. The date of any dentist appointment I have ever made
6. The first time I met most of my friends from college * But since I can't remember the actual moment, I'm going to assume it's because we've always been friends on some cosmic level :)
7. Any mathematical formulas learned in high school

When first reading through these lists, you may pity me. How can someone forget certain details, and remember such trivial information? I don't have an answer for you, Magoo.

But I can say that sometimes it's nice to not have the weight of the world on my shoulders. As I go through the grieving process, I find comfort in the parts of my life that still feel "normal" as I adjust to what my new version of "normal" is without Jack.

Sometimes getting caught up in the mundane, ordinary parts of life can actually be a blessing. I like thinking big, and planning for the future, but reflecting on the past keeps me grounded. And I know I'm not the only one. Besides, who knows when that information may come in handy. Anybody need an idea for a diddy??????

Monday, October 25, 2010

To Write Their Names In The Sand

I found this amazing website while perusing the internet a few days after we lost Jack. To Write Their Names in the Sand is a memorial website for children that were lost too soon. The owner lives in Perth, Australia, a beautiful city which has arguably the world's most beautiful sunsets.

As the sun is setting, the team will write out the names of those who have requested to honor their precious little ones. They provide this service free of charge so that anybody in the world who has lost a child can have a special place to come and remember them. My little guy got a shout-out this weekend, and it was too gorgeous not to share.

To Write Their Names in the Sand

How fitting... a song about rain

I recently bought the James Morrison album - I love his soulful voice. Wouldn't you know that this is the first song I heard off of this album. The lyrics are so fitting, and they make me me smile, so here we go. Take a listen.

You see life is a crazy thing

There'll be good times and there'll be bad times

And everything in between

And I don't know which ways it's gonna go

If it's going to be a rainy day

There's nothing we can do to make it change

We can pray for sunny weather

But that won't stop the rain

Jack's Story... A Little Bit of Rain

On September 22, 2010, my world was shattered...

My husband and I had to say goodbye to our son, Jack Benjamin. No parent should ever have to say goodbye to a child, especially a child who was so loved and so wanted.

I consider myself to be a very happy and optimistic person. Sure I've had struggles, but I always prefer to look on the "sunny" side of life, and things usually turn out okay. However, losing Jack will remain a mystery to me for as long as I'm on Earth. Everyone told me "Everything happens for a reason." I know they meant well, but I don't know if I will ever see a "reason" for losing my baby. But since I cannot change what has happened, I have to get through the pain so that I can live the life that Jack would want me to live. We know now that Jack wasn't meant for Earth, that he was an angel all along. We just didn't know that then, and we had been excitedly planning for the life we thought we were going to have.

I have crawled through tremendous amounts of grief by reminding myself daily that I am still blessed. I am married to the most sincere, loving, sweetest and funniest man in the world. I have an amazing family on both sides. I love my job and feel rewarded by it almost daily. And I know that I am lucky for all of the gifts given to me in my life. There will not be a day that I forget about my angel, but there are still reasons to smile. And I know that our lives were made that much better for having our sweet baby boy in them, even if only for a short time.

So now to the title of the blog, "A Little Bit of Rain." Since most of my close friends and family know the story of how we lost Jack, there's no need to mention it here. But I was so inspired about what happened a few weeks later that I felt I needed to write it out. The more often I acknowledge the wonderful things in life, the easier the journey toward healing will be.

A few weeks after losing Jack, Jon and I had to return to the hospital, to the very site at which my dreams and hopes were lost. We had a follow-up appointment with our doctors to talk about the "future." Being in those little rooms again was simply awful. My blood pressure shot up, and at any moment I thought I was going to toss my cookies.

However, the appointment went well. What happened to Jack is what they consider a "lightning-strike." We had a 0.05% chance of it happening before, and a 0.05% chance of it happening again.  To look at it another way, we have a 99.95% chance of having a healthy baby in the future. Funny how un-comforting statistics are when you're the 0.05% on the tragic side.

After losing a child, the next child you have is considered your "rainbow" baby. I guess the phrase "After the rain comes the rainbow" is supposed to be of comfort to women who have lost their babies. Right now, this seems wrong. But since our loss, many women have come to me saying that they too had lost babies in the past. Though they miss their lost babies, they thank God every day for their rainbow. I know how powerful this is... my amazing husband is a rainbow baby, and I thank God every day for him. But that day I couldn't think about the rainbow. All I could think about was the rain.... I wanted Jack back.

Earlier that day we got a call from the hospital chaplain... Jack was ready to come home. We had until 4:30 when they closed to pick up his ashes. We got to the office at 4:44. I was distraught. Jon knocked and knocked and knocked on the door, but no one answered. I was ready to give up, but Jon refused to leave, knowing that our son was right behind that locked door.

We walked over to the information desk, and I mumbled through a tremendous amount of tears, "We need to pick up our son." The poor receptionist must have felt terrible, because she immediately paged the on-call chaplain, who graciously rushed down and opened the door for us.

We walked over to the Chapel and sat down. I was amazed at how tiny and light the box was. I don't know what I expected, but holding a tiny box that contained your hopes and dreams was a little too much for me to handle. It still felt so surreal. Surely this couldn't have happened to us.

We cried for a long time. I told Jon the night before that I felt guilty that I couldn't talk to Jack. I talked about him all the time, but never directly to him. So there in the hospital Chapel, mommy and daddy talked to Jack. I was happy that he was finally able to hear me.

We drove to the hospital separately, so after we pulled ourselves together, we headed in opposite directions. As I walked to my car, I felt empty. I felt guilty for talking to the doctor about the future when all I wanted was for that future to include Jack. I was happy that I was able to talk to him, but sad that he wasn't still in my belly, kicking away.

As I walked through the parking lot, I felt warm rain on me. Perfect, I thought; Rain to match my mood. I thought it was odd that it was such warm rain, since it was a chilly day. But I walked slowly, letting it rain on me as I cried.

I looked around me, and I noticed that it didn't really seem to be raining anywhere else. The sun was out and it was so bright, and there was nothing else in the sky except a few white clouds. It was so bright, in fact, that I looked up to see if I could see a rainbow, but I didn't.

I got into my car, and also noticed that there was no rain on any cars except my own. I even had to use the windshield wipers, but all the others cars were dry. There was also no rain on the ground.

I sat in awe for a second, still crying, when I finally realized that I had received a "sign" from Jack. The warm rain was just for me, and I truly believe that it was him letting me know that he heard me talking to him. I was certainly not a person who believed in things like that before, and I am also not a person who needs to ask for signs in order to know that miracles happen. But that experience was exactly what I needed. I knew he had made it safely to Heaven, but I was happy to know that he still knew I was his mommy and that I loved him.

I know I will not heal overnight, and I will probably always have a Jack-sized hole in my heart. But he came into our lives for a reason, and the best way to honor him is to be the happy, friendly, positive person that was chosen to be his mother in the first place.

Everyone has thunderstorms in their lives at some point. Horrible things happen every day, and when it happens to you, it feels like you're hitting rock bottom. I can honestly say that losing Jack is the worst thing that has ever happened to me. But if I can survive this and still be strong, then maybe some of the smaller storms that come my way won't seem so bad.