December 31, 2010
Flashbacks of that day are shooting through my mind. The images of her little body on the gurney, tubes everywhere. Lifeless and cold. No longer my baby girl sitting there, just her body. I feel sick to my stomach. My chest is tight and feels like I'm suffocating. Right as I feel like I'm going to be OK, something snaps. A switch is flipped. And now I feel the emptiness all over again. So fresh in my memory, I wish I could erase it all, go back in time and re-do it all.
Her cause of death still showing pending, which means that once they receive all reports back we'll receive another one stating the 'cause'. Which means the war will happen all over again. I wish it would get easier, less painful, I wish I could feel more put together. The house is so quiet, I wish I could hear her laughter, I wish I could see her sweet smiling face looking up at me. Instead, I have her death certificate staring me in the face. Burning a hole straight through to my heart. I'm tired of the roller coaster, exhausted from the merry-go-round. Fearful, petrified, torn, broken, empty, lost, confused... all these things spiraling out of control. Nothing makes sense. I'm not even sure what I'm writing is making sense.
The wounds still so fresh. I just want her back. No amount of sorry's or condolences soothe the pain. It's just a constant reminder that I have lost something. I may put on a good show on the outside, but my insides are jumbled, and nothing seems to make sense. I'm trying to find the good, the silver lining. I'm searching to God for my answers... Lord please ease my pain, fill my void. Get me through this moment. Show me the light so that I may claw my way through this ever so dark moment. Give me your hand and guide me through this entangled forest. Give me strength, give me courage, give me wisdom. Amen
December 30, 2010
I've always been a little OCD.. more with certain things than others. Let me put it to you this way, I wanted to get married exactly a year from the time J and I had started dating which would have been the 10th of June. 06-10-2008 all even numbers, so it made perfect sense in my head. Well June 10th that year landed on a Tuesday, I am SO not getting married in the middle of the week! So I looked to the weekend before... June 7, 2008. Well, first of all it wasn't all even number, and that was a nagging irritation.. but than I noticed this--06-07-08 I knew that was the perfect day! So, we got married June 7, 2008. I know, sounds a little crazy. And as I write this, the hubster is rolling his eyes telling me how crazy I sound. But like I said, we all have a little crazy in us... :)
So where am I going with this??? Christmas day, we were preparing the fabulous feast for our fantastic dinner. Ham, mashed potatoes, 7 layer salad, mac and cheese, green bean haystacks, egg noodles, corn on the cob, and rolls. (I know, I'm hungry just writing about it!) Well, the corn was supposed to be cut in half, J didn't cut it in half. I wanted the tongs on the towel, he put them in the water with the corn. And yes, my crazy control freakishness emerged. I was completely and totally angry with him. And it just continued to escalate. He got angrier, I got angrier, he got annoyed, I got more annoyed. He didn't fix a plate with everyone, I got irritable. The night went on, and on, and on, and we continued not speaking. I got angrier by the moment.
This fiasco caused me to do some self reflection. Some soul searching, a deeper look into the reaction. You see, this wasn't the first time this had happened. Anytime a scenario spun out of control, my anger and patience would spiral in unruly rages. Verbal diarrhea got the best of me and the censorship was turned off. My privacy fence to my thoughts and feeling were spewing all over the place, subjecting anyone within a 10 yard radius to the freak out session. So I prayed and I cried and I tried to understand. It was as if the Lord spoke the words and laid them on my heart, and I felt the thoughts and the insight of it all radiating from my heart to my mind. And suddenly everything made sense...
See, I couldn't control Savanna dying. I wasn't able to make her breathe again. I wasn't there to try to get her to come back to me, as she was gone before I could get to her. I had NO CONTROL. But... I do have control over how the corn is cut, or where I place the silverware, I have control over what tupperware I am going to put the food in, or the boxes I'm going to pack the decorations into. I can stop the food from burning.
In a desperate attempt to feel something other than pain, heartache, emptiness, despair, sadness, I control things. And when they don't go my way or the way I anticipated I get angry. Because sometimes being angry and controlling seems less exhausting. I don't have to think, I just act. But than after a discussion with my mom I came to great realization. In my attempt to shield myself from the heart wrenching pain, I'm uprooting my anchor, knocking down my rock,and pushing away my shelter in the storm.
So I finally apologized (and those who know me, know that is a very difficult task!) and explained a little where my mind is at. I promised that I would work on my 'outwardly angry' spastic moments. And truly try to rein them in. It's OK to be emotionful, but we need to know where they come from, where they are rooted. Otherwise it becomes an annoying merry-go-round with no solution in sight. I have to learn to let things go, to think before I speak, to check myself at the door. And sometimes, I admit, I forget that he's grieving too. I'm not the only one missing her, I'm not the only one trying to find a way to put the pieces back together. What I do know is that a jig saw puzzle gets finished much more efficiently with two people, an anchor is easier to cast together. So although I know we will have our humps, bumps and mountains, eventually we'll piece our lives back together. We'll eventually find a routine and we'll continue to remember our sweet baby girl. And I know that conquering this now means we can conquer anything together.
Apart we're incomplete, but together we're unbreakable
December 23, 2010
Wikipedia's definition: a syndrome marked by the sudden death of an infant that is unexpected by history and remains unexplained after a thorough forensic autopsy and a detailed death scene investigation
My definition: "I have no idea why you're perfectly healthy baby died"
SIDS also known as sudden infant death syndrome. An umbrella diagnosis when they can't seem to find any medical, or logical explanation as to why and infant dies.
This is what they're calling it.. it's 'unofficial' but we're 'ruling' it as SIDS. That's what the investigators told us after they performed the autopsy. They can't officially rule and 'close the case' until the toxicology results come back. Which, I might add, can take 4-6 MONTHS! Are you kidding me? It's like an annoying hangnail, nails on a chalkboard, tickle in your throat kind of feeling. That knot in the pit of your stomach constantly twisting and turning. No closure, no answers, no sense... it's SIDS.
So what does it all entail?? No answers. I sometimes wish I had someone to blame, something to point my finger at. Because than I could somehow justify it, I could know why. Instead, she just stopped breathing.. no rhyme or reason.. No obstruction in her throat, nothing constricting her breathing, no fluid in her lungs.. just stopped. How does that happen? Why does that happen?
So much confusion and unanswered questions. Questions that I know we'll never have the answer to. Answers that only He knows. We can try to make sense of it somehow, but the more we try the more confused we are. So, here's how I have attempted to make sense of it.
It's God's way of taking them back, painlessly and without struggle. J said to me one day when we were researching this diagnosis and he said it in perfect words. It's as if God came and thumped them on the forehead.. Just like that. Just that quickly. So on one hand I'm thankful that she didn't suffer, on the other hand I'm angry that the only explanation I can get is SIDS. We thought she was over the hump. It's something you worry about in the first few months, not when they're 7 months old. Not when she could roll over on her own. Not when she could sit up and crawl. Not when she was already trying to pull up.
I have no wise words of encouragement or a thought process that gives comfort. All I have are questions. I pray everyday that the Lord will grant me the peace to let go. To just be OK with the outcome. There are days where I feel like I can do that, and others where I feel like I'm hanging on by a tattered string. My heart and my feelings are entwined in a loose ball of yarn, and it forever keeps unraveling only to be mushed back together with knots and twists in it. It's confusing and messy.
I know one day when I meet the Lord at the gates, I will than have the answers and understand. But right now, in this place and time, I'm just lost. Lost without her, lonely without her.. my arms feel cold, my heart shattered, eyes are blind without her smile, ears are deaf without her laugh. It's nights and moments like these that I don't know how to move forward. It's nights like tonight where encouraging words are sparse, comforting thoughts are turned away. It's moments like tonight when the darkness sets in. I feel like I'm drowning in a puddle of quicksand... I'm waiting for God to reach down and pull me out.. and when He does, this moment will be over. And than I have to live for the next moment and pray that Satan does not prey on my dark thoughts and that the Lord will keep in the light.
December 21, 2010
|Captured by Photography by April Smith|
|The pool she was born in!|
|Just a couple hours old|
December 19, 2010
Pulling up to the cemetery I always get this panicked feeling, anxiousness that overtakes me. My heart feels like it's going to be ripped from chest, my hands won't stop shaking, my stomach feels like it's turning inside out, my skin doesn't seem to fit right. We pull in and drive up the steep paved driveway, past the chapel and through the gates. We wind around passing headstone after headstone of other loved ones who have been laid to rest. Of other family members whose stories I yearn to learn about. As I look across the field of stone and marble of greys, pinks, blacks I see Bogue after Bogue. (She's the seventh generation to be buried there.) We slowly creep to where her special spot is. The flowers from her funeral service have since browned and been taken away. And all that sat was a mound of dirt. A mound that signified that my little girl is gone from this earth. This was the first time I had seen it without all of the radiant colors of the flowers on top of it. And now it was just a mound, no color, no life, just a mound.
We came to have our little Christmas with her. J's uncle made a blanket for her. It has cedar branches from their land tied down to a piece of chicken wire framed by wood. Than poinsettas were placed throughout it. We laid the blanket across the top and stood there. We just stood there and looked. And all at once that tug-of-war, that chicken game began to take it's course. This is how we would spend our Christmases.. and in that moment the only thing that came to my mind was that 'this sucks!'
The wind was blowing and it was cold! I prayed to God to give me a sign, to show me that she was there watching over us. In that moment, I got goosebumps. And a friend once said to me "goosebumps are God's way of saying yes, or pay attention." And in the next moment the wind stopped for just a second and the sun seemed to glow a littler brighter, and for a brief moment I felt a warmness radiate through my body from the top of my head to the tip of my pinky toe. I felt some kind of comfort. And in that moment I knew she was there. But as quickly as that moment came it fluttered away like a butterfly being carried off into the breeze. And than I was there, standing again.. feeling all of those feelings, trying to convince myself it was going to be OK. That we would all be OK.
It just doesn't seem fair, so many people get Christmas after Christmas with their children and I can't even get one? I did everything right.. everything i was supposed to.. I followed all the rules.. took her to the doctor.. loved her unconditionally.. and yet, there I was standing at her grave. Of course I ask God what I did to deserve this.. But in my heart I know He does not punish. I get so tired of these conversations in my head. I want to move forward, I want to heal, but Just as I feel the wound has scabbed over and started to scar, it's ripped back open. It's a raw spot in my heart that won't heal. And I know with time it will get easier and more manageable. But I don't care, I don't want time, I just want Savanna. It's funny, people have asked me what I want for Christmas numerous times and you know the first thing that ALWAYS pops in my head? "I want Savanna back" But we all know that in this earthly world, that won't happen.
What I do know is that somehow, this will make me stronger, a better wife, a better mother, a better friend, a better listener, a better child of Christ. I'm still waiting for the moment, but I know it's coming. I feel that God has now paved a path for me. I path that I intend to travel. Through my experience, heartache, and sorrow I can help others. Others who may not have a support system when they have lost a child. Others who do not find the strength in Christ to encourage and lean on in these most horrendous and difficult times. I have been given a gift. And I intend to share it with the world. I don't know exactly how I am supposed to, but through prayer, faith, encouragement, and my baby girl guiding me alongside the Lord, I will find it.
Dance with the angels baby girl..
December 18, 2010
Over the next few weeks, the preparations would begin. My brothers and I would gather together and write our Christmas lists, and start the plans for our big Christmas concert. Every year we would put on a play for my parents on Christmas Eve. We would bicker and argue, fight and laugh, and the end product NEVER turned out how we pictured. But we always had good laughs.
So now fast forward to Christmas Eve. Our family opened gifts at midnight and we would get our Santa gifts Christmas morning. My brothers and I would try everything to bribe our parents to let us open just one gift before midnight, our beggings never worked. One year I remember, my dad told us if we could hold a handstand for at least 6 seconds without assistance we could open one gift. So we tried, and we tried, and we tried, and we TRIED! By the time we were done trying, it was midnight!
We would rip off the ribbons, shred apart the paper, tear open the boxes, play with the toys, try on the clothes, pop in the DVD's and than fall asleep with toys, goodies, and candy in hand. We would wake up Christmas morning with more gifts patiently waiting under the tree from the Mr. Santa Claus himself! We got to endulge in cheese, crackers and hickory farms sausage until Christmas dinner was ready! This was our tradition year after year. There would be a different 'test' every Christmas Eve, a different performance, but always filled with love, laughter and joy.
Fast forward to the current year...
The coming months of the holidays came, J and I started to discuss our own Christmas traditions with Savanna. Would we open presents the night before? Or would we wait until Christmas morning? Will we cook a big dinner on Christmas day? Will we read the "The Night Before Christmas?" Would we lay out cookies and milk for Santa? Will we have a cake to celebrate Jesus' birthday? The months came and went, and those makings of holiday traditions were stripped from us that Friday November evening...
We didn't get to get her the fish tank we wanted. Or the sit to stand toys to practice her walking. We didn't get to take holiday photos to send out to family and friends. We put up the tree with no little fingers getting into the boxes of ornaments. No little eyes gazing into the Christmas lights. No little hands trying to rip open the paper. It was just us. J and me.
I almost didn't want to put up the tree. I felt guilty. By putting up the tree meant it was a reality.. she was really gone. We were moving on without her here, we had to start our family traditions without her. She wouldn't be there to drive me crazy while I was trying to organize all of the decorations. She won't be there to pick out her own ornaments in the years to come. She won't be there to help mommy and daddy hang the lights, or put up the tree, or hang her stocking. There won't be any gifts under the tree for my little girl. No Santa Claus to visit her, no milk and cookies to put out. No stories of Jesus' birth..
Thinking of all of these things I realized that we have now started a new tradition. We adopted an angel, and made a wonderful Christmas for a little 6 year old girl, and took some pressure off of a mom or dad or didn't know if they would have a Christmas. We will visit Savanna at her spot and bring her flowers and angels. We will share memories and laugh with friends and family. And we will EAT! :) It's not what I wanted, not at all what I imagined. But it's the cards we were dealt. And rather than being here in body, she is with us in spirit, and through God we are forever connected to her.
|Angel from Savanna's funeral service spray|
My baby girl passing away was the most earth shattering and heartbreaking occurence, but somehow someway, something good will happen. She shared so much joy, laughter, and love with so many, that I must carry on her legacy. I have to, or her death would mean nothing.
So my point? We all have these plans, these ideas of how life should be. Of how traditions should be continuously carried on. But sometimes, God has different plans for us and plans change, traditions are shifted.
When God throws you a curve ball, you don't duck out of the way, you hit it with all of your might and run like hell.
Dance with the angels baby girl..
December 16, 2010
I have been thinking all day about what I wanted to express and talk about. It didn't come to me until late this evening. I was getting my hair done, sitting in the chair. My hair dresser was asking me what happened. As I was talking to her telling the events that occurred, it suddenly came to me.
Everyday we wake up, we make choices. We chose to get out of bed, to take a shower, what we're going to wear, what we want for breakfast. We chose to go to work, school or to just stay home. We chose what we want for lunch, we chose what kind of mood we are going to be in. We chose to let people upset us. We chose to laugh, cry, yell, smile, frown. Some choices are easier than others. But life is a choice. And the day after I had a choice...
Many people have said "I don't know how you do it, I don't know how you're standing here..." Well, I had a choice too.
That Saturday after our little Savanna joined the Lord I first had a choice to get out of bed. Trust me, I didn't want to! I didn't want to eat, shower, pee, brush my teeth, get up. But than I really had to pee and had no choice but to get up! :) Although I seriously contemplated it, I didn't think J would appreciate that, and it's quite unsanitary! So I got up to pee, and I thought, well I'm in here I might as well brush my teeth. It was a rough night, waking up in the middle of the night thinking I heard her cry, checking the monitor to make sure it was on.. only to realize... Needless to say I looked like hell..
Well I heard everyone piddling around and decided to come out of my den, it was nerve-racking being in the bedroom by myself. Too many dark thoughts and sad moments creeped in. So I went outside. You see, that weekend the weather called for heavy rain, overcast, and just nasty weather. But that's not what I saw when I walked outside. Instead, I saw a beautiful blue sky, not a cloud in sight and the sun just ever so slightly peeking over the rooftops of the neighbors house. At that moment I knew my little girl was with me and that moment I made a choice.
I chose to keep going, to wake up everyday. What would I do if she were still here? I would keep going.. so why should I stop? It just didn't seem right to mope around and be sad all the time.. so that day I chose to laugh a little, smile some, and yes folks TAKE A SHOWER! :) But it wasn't always good things to chose.. J and I had some very tough choices ahead of us.
That day we had to decide where we would bury her, what we would bury her in, what she would take with her to her final resting place. So we did. Van, TX seemed the perfect place, it's where J grew up, where we plan to retire. We chose her ducky pajamas (she had a pair in every size!) We chose her favorite toys and blanket. It didn't seem right, I'm 24 and I'm having to CHOOSE what to bury my 7 month 15 day old daughter in.. but that was the easy compared to the choices we had to make the next day.
The next day we headed to the funeral home. We knew she was already there. It killed me to know she was so close and I couldn't be with her. That she was alone. Well we went into this room with one of the gals there. And we than had to chose how her funeral would go. Viewing? Service? Graveside service? Who would be the pall bearers? What music would you like? Who would you like to officiate the service? What would you like to include in the program? And than the moment I dreaded, the casket... The fact that they even have to make them that small makes me sick to my stomach but it was a choice we had to make. So we chose one. And we chose not to do a viewing. We chose to have a service at the church J grew up in with a graveside service as well. We chose the Grandpas to be the pall bearers. We chose the music to be played and the pictures to be placed in the programs. We than had to chose the spot we would lay her to rest.
We chose a very fitting spot I think. It's up on a hill, and at the suns highest point of the day it shines directly on her. Diagonally from her is another little girl, A miss Abigail, who joined the Lord November 13th 2000 at a mere 3 weeks old. So it seemed perfect, or as perfect as that situation can be I guess.
So now I bring you back to how am I here, standing (somewhat) well that week following her passing I had to make some of the most difficult choices I think I will ever have to make. I endured a pain no mother should have to feel.. and emptiness that should never be made real, I had to chose how and when I would bury my little girl. After that, getting up in the morning didn't seem so bad. I had two choices to fall apart or to keep going, and I chose to keep going.
Dance with the angels baby girl...
December 15, 2010
A couple days after Savanna passed away, OW called me and said she was driving in her car thinking of us and Savanna in her ladybug costume when along a ladybug came and planted itself on her arm. At the time I thought, Savanna is finding a way to comfort her and in turn she was able to share that story with us. Never thought anything more of it. Than a few days after that another friend of mine shared that their symbol for their daughter who also passed was a ladybug. I thought, how great, the girls are letting the mommies know they are playing together in the clouds with the Lord at their side. Than I never thought anything else about it.
Than today, I received a message from my mom. She too had been encountering these little aphid eating beetles. Finally, she decided to do some research. And what she found gave me chills and brought tears to my eyes.. here were her findings...
"It is the ultimate symbol of
the soul. It is protected by Mary mother
of Jesus. Symbol of good things to come. The ladybug is a messenger
If that didn't give you chill bumps I don't know what will! All along God has been telling me that Savanna is Ok in one way or another. Through friends and family. Never did I realize such a small thing was something so great! So than I thought of her Halloween costume, she was a ladybug! Talk about symbolism!! (That's for all you English teachers out there.. especially you JE :)) See I paid attention in class!
Everyday, Justin and I find new and amazing things, signs that God was trying to prepare us. This just seems like another thing. Some of you may think, it's just a coincidence. Maybe some of you may even think we're just trying to find something to hold onto. But after experiencing what I've experienced, I'm not so sure I believe in coincidences. What do you have to lose to have faith in something bigger than you? Nothing! In fact we have so much more to gain...
I don't pretend to be the all knowing, and some days I have my problems with God, but for selfish reasons. I will no longer get to hold her, hug her, kiss her, scold her :) But I will ALWAYS get to love her and cherish all of the memories we have together. It's only right that she is sitting at the right hand of God, she was our ladybug, our direct link from God. She was our messenger.
She taught us to laugh more. She taught us to hug our loved ones tighter. She taught us to be more patient. She taught us to take in each day as a blessing. Most importantly she taught us unconditional love. No strings attached, no alterior motives, just to love. It seems so SIMPLE yet we make it so difficult. For those gifts I am forever greatful.
So the next time you see a ladybug, real or fake, remember what it means, and remember my angel. She is still working God's plan and sending us messages always and everyday.
Dance with the angels baby girl
December 14, 2010
You read it in the papers, on the internet. You see it on the movies, on TV. You hear from a friend that it happened to a friend of theirs. You hear from a relative it happened to a cousin. You always hear it was someone else. You never think that someone else will be you. You wake up and go through your daily routine. You eat, shower, shit, shave, work, play, watch tv, do homework, study for tests, sleep... You wake up not realizing that sometimes you take things for granted. What and who was there in the morning will be there that night. But than a phone call happens, a text message, an email.. and your routine as you know it falls apart. Your world shatters and your heart breaks. You wait to wake up, that's how it happens in the movies right?! You're dying baby is on the emergency room bed, the doctors and nurses are hard at work. And you think to yourself "she will hear my voice, feel my hand on hers, and she will breathe, she will wake up, she will look up at me and smile." But that doesn't happen. You always read about it, hear about it.. but you never think it will be you.
But this time, it was me.
I was the one to get the text message "It's an emergency come quick" I got the phone call "there's an ambulance" I was the one to face the paramedics "she's not breathing" I was the one to walk into the emergency room and see my little helpless baby girl being worked on. It was my hand the doctor touched as he told me 'the prognosis is not good' It was my husband who had to tell the doctor to stop. I was the one who held my daughter with no life left in her. It was me.
That day, Friday November 12, 2010 at 2:43 PM I got the phone call.
Sidenote: I realize that I talk about "I" and that's what this is for, me. It is not to take away from all of the others who are grieving or who miss her. This is my story of how I am trying to make sense of everything. So join me in this journey of trying to find peace, comfort, and understanding. And as I work through this process for ME I hope that it somehow helps YOU.
Dance with the angels baby girl..