Thursday, March 31, 2011

I am So Excited!!!

A month or so ago, I handed over a suitcase full of Erik's favorite shirts to a wonderful friend of mine, Sharon, so that a quilt could be made out of them. Today, Sharon, another bereaved mother dropped off the finished quilt. It is absolutely AMAZING!!!! Each piece took me right back to the last time I remember Erik wearing each of the shirts. I have a feeling I'm gonna sleep a little better tonight knowing that I'm curled up in my baby!!!!

Here's a picture of the quilt.

















Sharon and I also talked about doing something for the grieving parents in and around our community. We have the Lakelands Chapter of The Compassionate Friends, but we felt like we needed to do more than just sit around and be sad that our children are no longer here on this Earth. We have decided to organize a Scrapbooking Event for any parent who has lost a child. We feel like it would be an awesome thing - not only to bring people together who share something we wish we didn't, but to also make even more memories of our sweet child/ren who left us too soon. I can't wait to start putting this plan into action and I hope it is as amazing as we want it to be!!!



Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It's almost time

Friday, April 1st will mark the 7th birthday of my youngest nephew. The nephew who is EXACTLY 5 months older than Erik. The nephew who I refer to as my other child. The nephew who was my son's best friend. I honestly don't know what's harder - watching him celebrate another birthday or knowing that my son will never have another birthday. I look at Jake and wonder if Erik would be the same size. Maybe he'd be taller. I know he'd be skinnier. He always was. I wonder if he'd still be as crazy about ball or if he'd be like Jake and rather be playing in the dirt somewhere. I wonder if Kaitlyn & Sienna would love Erik the way they love Jake. I smile so big when the girls see Jake. They yell out his name, run up to him and squeeze him so tight. I wonder if they'd do the same to Erik or if they would see him as gross - since he is their brother and all.

Here's a picture of Erik and Jake


A couple of weeks ago, Kyle picked the girls up from school and took them down to the ball field. He had a game that night. As I was getting to the ball field, Jake was getting out of the car with my sister. He walked with me down the hill. Kyle and the girls were coming out of the bathroom and Kyle said Sienna immediately saw me walking with Jake and said "there's Mama and bubba". I guess that the way Jake was wearing his hat made her think he looked like Erik. It broke my heart that she was once again heart broken cause it wasn't Erik walking with me.

Oh how'd I'd give anything to give my baby girl what she wants.





PS - I guess I should add that April 1st also marks one month from my sweet girls turning 3. It just doesn't seem right that they are slowly becoming little girls and aren't my baby's anymore!

Here's my little man helping me with his sisters...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The 10 Worst

The Ten Worst Things to Say to a Grieving Person
Debra J. Hicks
Here's why some of the things people said after the loss of my son, Joshua, provided little comfort.

1. I know how you feel.
Even if your child died, you can't know how I feel, because every person and situation is unique. If you want to share how you felt when you experienced a loss, that's fine. But bite your tongue if you're ever tempted to compare two people's grief.

2. How are you doing?
Many people use this greeting out of habit and aren't prepared for an honest reply. A much better greeting is simply It's good to see you. If you truly are prepared to find out how a grieving person is feeling, try to use specific questions such as: What was the hardest thing you've had to face this week or Have you been able to have a good cry lately?

3. Look on the bright side. It could have been much worse.
Yes, it's true that others have had to face worse. And even though a bereaved person could probably find a dozen reasons to be thankful if hard-pressed, you needn't try to force them to be cheerful. Sadness is the normal, healthy response to the death of a loved one.

4. Call me if there's anything I can do to help.
Few grieving people will ask for help because they are usually too overwhelmed to assess and prioritize their needs. Friends should offer to do something specific and remember to get permission before taking action.

5. At least we know it was God's will.
While it's true that God allows bad things, this statement is insidious because it implies that He intentionally plans them in order to punish or teach us. It's not God but the enemy who deserves credit for evil and its completely irrational results.

6. Don't worry; you're young. You'll get on with your life.
A loved one who dies is not replaceable. Having another child can ease the pain of a secondary loss (such as the loss of an occupation, in my case, since I was a stay-at-home mom when my only child died). But parents will mourn the primary loss?a relationship with that child?for as long as they live.

7. Aren't you happy your child doesn't have to live in this sinful world anymore?
Although we have a blessed hope that the separation of death is only temporary, happiness won't be realized until the great reunion. If parents were meant to care only for heaven and nothing for this life, then the happiest parents would be those whose babies are stillborn, right?

8. Don't talk that way. You know better than that.
The ability to safely express doubts, questions, and anger is crucial in the healing process. It's perfectly natural for grieving persons to wonder why God didn't step in and overrule in their particular situation. Allow them to wrestle through this difficult issue and question the One who says in Isaiah 1:18, Come now, let us reason together. He can sooner help a person who expresses these feelings than one who buries them beneath a guise of unquestioning acceptance.

9. You must be really strong. I'd die if that happened to me.
What you perceive as calm strength is more likely the numbness of shock. You may be surprised how many grief-stricken people pray for God to let them die, too. Death would be a welcome relief, and many have briefly considered suicide. The last thing they need is for someone to imply that they are disloyal for trying to make the best of the life they have.

10. You should be over this by now.
Grieving for a child is a lifelong process, not a weeklong event. The only way to get over it would be to forget that child an unhealthy alternative to grief known as denial. Life will eventually seem worth living again, but it will never be as it once was. Too much has changed



20 Things

I read this on another blog I'm following and most of all of them applied to me, so I thought I would share. I've edited some parts to fit me better...

20 Things Angel Mommies Wish You Knew

I WISH:

1. I wish you would not be afraid to mention my son. The truth is just because you never knew my son doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve your recognition.

2. I wish that if we did talk about my son and I cried you didn’t think it was because you have hurt me by mentioning his name. The truth is I need to cry and talk about him with you.

3. I wish that you could talk about my son more than once. The truth is if you do, it reassures me that you haven’t forgotten him and that you do care and understand.

4. I wish you wouldn’t think that I don’t want to talk about Erik. The truth is I love him and need to talk about him.

5. I wish you could tell me you are sorry my son died and that you are thinking of me. The truth is that it tells me you care.

6. I wish you wouldn’t think what has happened is one big bad memory for me. The truth is the memory of my son, the love I feel for him, the dreams I had and the memories I have created for my son are all loving memories. Yes there are bad memories too but please understand that it’s not all like that.

7. I wish you wouldn’t judge me because I am not acting the way you think I should be. The truth is grief is a very personal thing and we are all different people who deal with things differently.

8. I wish you wouldn’t think if I have a good day I’m “over it” or if I have a bad day I am being unreasonable because you think I should be over it. The truth is there is no “normal” way for me to act.

9. I wish you wouldn’t stay away from me. The truth is losing my son doesn’t mean I’m contagious. By staying away you make me feel isolated, confused and like it is my fault.

10. I wish you wouldn’t expect my grief to be “over and done with” in a few weeks, months, or years for that matter. The truth is it may get easier with time but I will never be “over” this.

11. Mothers Day, celebration times, the day my baby was born and the day I lost him are all important and sad days for me. The truth is I wish you could tell me by words or by letter you are thinking of me on these days.

12. I wish you understood that losing my son has changed me. The truth is I am not the same person I was before and will never be that person again. If you keep waiting for me to get back to "normal” you will stay frustrated. I am a new person with new thoughts, dreams, beliefs, and values. Please try to get to know the real me-maybe you’ll still like me.

13. I wish you wouldn’t tell me I could have another baby. The truth is I want the son I lost and no other baby can replace him. Children aren’t interchangeable.

14. I wish you wouldn’t feel awkward or uncomfortable talking about my son or being near me. When you do, I can see it. The truth is it’s not fair to make me feel uncomfortable just because you are.

15. I wish you wouldn’t think that you’ll keep away because all my friends and family will be there for me. The truth is, everyone thinks the same thing and I am often left with no one.

16. I wish you would understand that being around women with sons the same age as Erik is uncomfortable for me. The truth is I feel jealous.

17. I wish you would understand what you are really saying when you say “next time things will be okay”. The truth is how do you know? What will you say if it happens to me again?

-Author Unknown




Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Truth

For the last 16.5 months, I've been having an internal battle with myself. I've wanted so badly to call the nurse that was by Erik's side that fateful day in November and ask her what happened. And because I knew the assistant coroner that pronounced my son, I've also wanted to call her and have her tell me EVERYTHING. I never got the courage to actually do either of them though. I refused to get Erik's autopsy report from the Funeral Home because I honestly knew that I couldn't handle the truth of what really happened that day. After talking to the ENT doctor on Sunday, all of that changed. After I posted the blog yesterday, I learned the truth. The rest of today's blog explains what happened to my sweet boy. It is raw and real and extremely painful. You have been warned.

This is what I learned about the day my sweet boy got his wings: (my source of information shall remain anonymous)

This is honestly what I know about that day. I spoke with several of the nurses when you and Kyle went back to say goodbye to Erik. They were upset and I guess they needed someone to talk to so I asked them what happened and did Erik suffer. They told me that once the EMS loaded Erik into the ambulance Erik started to panic, his breathing increased and he became unresponsive. Due to the swelling they called ahead and the flight nurse joined the ambulance and they were instructed to head straight for the closest hospital. By the time the ambulance got to the hospital Erik had lost his pulse. The doctors were not willing to give up, and they had called all available staff to assist, so that by time Erik arrived at the hospital there were approx. 15 staff waiting to help him. They intubated him (put a breathing tube down his throat into his lung) and made a incision between his rib space for the chest tube. They were still continuing CPR while everyone was working on him. They gave him shots of epinephrine to try to start his heart and used an AED to try to shock his heart into beating. They worked for almost an hour to try to save his life but the oxygen they were using to keep his brain from dying was seeping into his chest cavity and wasn't escaping from the chest tube. The pressure from the trapped oxygen compressed his heart and lungs and the blood from his chest cavity essentially caused him to drown.

After Erik was strapped on the backboard he was only aware of his surroundings for approx 5 minutes. Once they laid him down the air filled his chest cavity and the blood filled his lungs at a faster rate. Erik panicked not because of pain but because he couldn't breathe. He lived approx 10 minutes after that. By the time Kyle arrived at your house to pick you up, Erik had already passed away.

After the hospital pronounced him dead. A nurse stroked his hair the entire time they were trying to save him, and after he passed another nurse stayed with him until you arrived. From the time he arrived in the ambulance until you arrived there was someone with Erik who's only concern was being a comforting presence.

Those woman cared for Erik like a mother, because they knew that he needed. Even after his death they refused to leave his side because they knew that's what a mother would want for her child. They wanted to make sure that during this he was never alone. Before you arrived they tried to clean him as much as possible to make it easier on you and Kyle, and even though they had to leave the medical equipment in place, they tried to make Erik look like he was sleeping.

I really don't know why I needed to know this, but I did. I guess being a mother, I felt like I had to know. Could I have went the rest of my life not knowing? Absolutely. But being the hard headed person that I am, I just couldn't let it go.

Rest in peace sweet boy! I know you're having the time of your life up there, but I sure do miss your sweet smiling face and your tender kisses. You are and will always be my only sunshine!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Updating

It's been a while since I actually updated my blog, so here's my latest attempt.

The last few weeks have been crazy. Everyone in our house has been sick. Kaitlyn has been the worst. She's had a sore throat for the last 2 months or so. We finally made an appointment with the ENT and he suggested having her tonsils and adenoids removed. The surgery was scheduled for Friday, the 18th. Surgery day got here and Kaitlyn did wonderful. The doctor said her tonsils weren't as big as he thought they were and neither were her adenoids - basically, I'm thinking the surgery was unnecessary. Great. Kaitlyn ended up getting dehydrated because she's so stubborn and wouldn't drink liquids like she was supposed to do, so we were back in the hospital on Saturday. We had to stay overnight just to be sure that she was getting the liquid intake that she needed. Needless to say, it wasn't a fun weekend for us. We got to come home on Sunday and we instantly regretted it. Kaitlyn was being a handful and wasn't doing anything we were asking of her. She fought like a dog to not take her medicine or drink anything. We eventually had to force water on her and she got better. I'm hoping that we are on the mends to having our (semi) sweet Kaitlyn back.

While we were in the hospital, we got to talking about Erik. We told our awesome nurse about him and she said that she remembered that day because the nurses on the PEDS floor were paged to come down to the ER. She remembered it being awful. Then Erik came up again while talking to the ENT that was taking care of Kaitlyn. I didn't want to get on the subject of what happened, I was just comparing him to Kaitlyn & Sienna. The doctor became curious and wanted to know what happened. Kyle and I explained it the best way that we could. Being an ENT and all, the doctor told us what he thought really happened based on what we told him. We knew from the beginning that Erik had severe chest trauma. We were told that his trachea had been severed and that was the reason air was seaping into his body instead of his lungs and the reason his lungs were filling with blood. According to the doctor, Erik would've had to have a visible slit in his throat for that to have happened. He said what it sounded like to him was the impact of Erik's crash caused a broken rib and that broken rib caused a puncture in his lung. He was still able to breathe in just fine, but when he went to breathe out, the air couldn't escape and caused his body to swell. He was in awe that Erik never cried or showed any signs of pain other than when Kyle tried to lay him down. He said that unless the EMT's knew exactly where to put a chest tube in, that there was no hope because he was basically suffocating. (that's not exactly something a mother wants to hear about) I can remember seeing Erik afterwards and seeing where the ER doctors had tried to insert a chest tube. I don't know if it was already too late or if they were inserting it on the wrong side of his body. Either way I don't guess it matters anymore. He's gone and not coming back to me.

The doctor told us how sorry that he was and said that he wished us peace. He walked out of the room and I completely lost it. Nobody has ever explained to us why what happened happened. We've been thinking this whole time that he had broken his windpipe. And without ever seeing his autopsy, he very well could have. It hurt so bad to hear about the pain my sweet boy was in but to finally have an explanation makes me feel like that chapter has closed.

I have become slightly obsessed with blogs lately. I find an interesting blog, read it all the way through and then read blogs that that person has suggested. I guess I should mention that they are ALL about Mommy's who have lost their children. The babies range from pre-natal to still born to 5 months to some that are Erik's age. Reading their pain and their fears and their daily struggles has helped me in a way I didn't know possible. I feel less guilty thinking and feeling some of the things that I feel because I now know that I'm not alone. I have joined a group that no parent ever wants to become a part of.

I would do anything to lose my membership to this group.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Feeling Down

I am depressed. I feel alone. All I want to do is sleep. I don't care about anything. Literally.