December 29, 2011

I'm still here

Well geez, where have I been what have I been up to... it's been a crazy month. Well, that's an understatement... every month is a crazy month. Been working crazy hours at work... trying to gear up for the cold weather... prepping for the spring semester of school and on top of it all just trying to figure out where i fit in this big little world. another holiday has passed... successfully.. i guess. we were surrounded by wonderful friends and family and made memories to last forever.. but of course there was always something nagging at my heart something missing from the flocks of people in and out of our house. this year was different then the last. last year, our grief was so fresh. she died, two weeks later was thanksgiving, three weeks after that was christmas. i was still in a bit of shock, in an out of body experience. i remember last year telling J it was a hidden blessing (a crappy thing yes, but to find any kind of silver lining in our situation was what i solely lived off of on some days) that she passed right near the holidays. while in the freshest of grief we also had to freshly grieve the hardest time of year. so in a way we killed two birds with one stone.. (seems an insensitive way to look at it but it is what it is and it helped me to cope) fast forward now to this year. the fall and winter is my favorite time of year. bust out the hot chocolate, spark up the fireplace, slap on the flannel plants and start the decoration frenzy... sure i was still excited this year, but at the same time i knew what else that meant. yet another holiday season without Savanna. as the months donned on and november crept nearer and we passed her angel-versary, i was overwhelmed by anger, sadness, guilt, hurt... it felt like i was grieving all over again. and i think it goes back to last year.. because we were so fresh in our grief we were still in shock, still rather numb, still just trying to figure out how to survive day to day when we went through our first holiday without her.. but this year, it's much more real much more an actuality no longer so surreal. this year we have gone passed the coping and simply gone into living and surviving that it stung in a much more different way. and so i went through this holiday season rather numb like. we went to her spot the week before christmas to decorate and it was bittersweet. such a beautiful memorial for her, yet i was angry that this was the 'presents' i had to bring to my daughter. it just isn't fair. and that is something i seem to have been battling off and on these last couple weeks. it is so completely unfair.. i think back to when i was kid and i would stomp my feet cross my arms and pudge up my face because it wasn't fair that I didn't get what everyone else had. i found myself wanting to do that exact same thing this year.. some 20 years later. so in essence this year seemed a bit harder then the last. but we managed, by the grace of God, and the love and support from one another, we were able to get through it.

and now we begin to embark on another year. another year without her. i still can't believe she's been gone over a year now and we are marking our way through the second year without her. it hardly seems like it was just yesterday i was in labor, or that we were packing up the car to move across the country, or the day we bought our very first home. i know all the things the have become in this last year as i reflect. so many blessings, some hurt and heartache. i have decided for the new year to make more time for me. i have lost myself so completely it's scary. i work i go to school i eat i pee i shit i shower i sleep. (not necessarily in that order) i have so many projects i want to work on but have not made time. so in this new year i will make more time, that includes making time for my blog (which i have neglected so completely) making time for my crafts and projects (i got a new sewing machine for christmas!!) taking some photography workshops (i got a camera for xmas too! thanks hubster!!) photography was something i have always wanted to dabble in but never thought i had a knack for it. after our loss, it made me realize just how important a photograph is. sometimes it is the only link we have to the past.. sometimes they are better then memories.. you can touch them, it's a tangible object which in turn can flip a memory on. a picture can bring you back in time to the smells, the look of things around you.. a photo really is worth 1000 words. i may not be a top notch photographer, but a captured memory is so incredibly important. i have thought about possibly looking into the now i lay me down to sleep for hospitals but not sure if im ready to get into that just quite yet. but its something on my list.

well for now, this is all. i was kind of all over the place.. sorry about that. it is my promise to make a much bigger effort to be more present. i hate always using work as an excuse. i've lost touch with my bloggy mommies who i love so dearly and have so much respect for. it kills me that i havent been more present in their times of need. i have lost site of my legacy for savanna and i intend to make that a top priority. i hope to get working on my memory boxes for savanna's sunshine. ill post pics as soon as i get it going. lastly, im thinking of starting a vlog on a kind of all in one. talking about grieving, life after loss, crafting, weight loss, having another baby after loss etc... so we'll see.. it's just another thing on my list lol. well until next time.. thank you all for your time to read my words and follow me on my journey.. my journey hasn't stopped it just hit a small bump and rut in the road.. but slowly it's gotten paved over.

November 18, 2011

30 minute chat

I've been sick with a nasty sinus infection these last couple days. Today I got home from work, sat my sick ass on the recliner and attempted to try and nap. But this pounding headache kept me tossing and turning and extremely uncomfortable, sooo I turned the tv on, popped open the DVR and decided to try to 'catch up' on some shows and hopefully fall asleep in the process. I started in on the two hour episode of Private Practice. There was a part where one of the doctors was at his wife's grave, talking to her. And I realized something I had forgotten, well made myself forget.

On Monday I had my first visit with Dr. D-grief counselor. Yes, that's right, I finally did it. I finally decided to wave my white flag. I finally admitted to myself, that although I have seemed to fix myself my whole life, I may need some outside help to mend this broken lady right here. And so, on Monday I got to meet Dr. D and so far, I adore her. She gives me an insight and a point of view that I have never thought of. Which that's their job right? But she does it without making me feel like what I'm doing, thinking, feeling or acting is unnatural or weird. Again, her job right? Well amongst all the things we talked about in this 60 minute session. (who knew so much could be crammed into what seems so little time) she gave me a tool to use.

I think I speak for many when I say that we don't like to feel. We pretend, heck we could Oscar award winners with the acts we put on. We wake up, slap a silly smile on our face and go about our day. Strangers never knowing what lurks behind that facade of a smile, co-workers never really seeing the pain behind our eyes. For me, I got so good at playing this part, the part of a healthy 'normal' working class citizen that I forget. I forget to feel, partly because I don't want to, but mostly because I'm afraid I can't stop. It seemed Ok to cry at first, but now? Well now I have to be strong, now I have to move forward, now I have to live my life. But that just wasn't settling right with me. So, with that being said, good ol' Dr. D gave me something to do. Something I could use to work through that fear.

Create a grief box. (metaphorically not literally) She told me to use her room, since we still have all her things in there, and a lingering smell favorable to Savanna only. Go in there, she said, set a timer.. whether it be 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, or an hour. Whatever you want, set the timer and go in there. That way you're in control. You now there is an end because you set the timer and you know when to stop.

My reaction was well, I'll feel stupid and silly. It seems dumb.. what's that going to do? NOTHING! She then said to me to just try it. Go in there and lay in the middle of the floor. And do whatever it is I feel.. not what I THINK I SHOULD  feel. And that right there made such utter and total sense to me. I think we get wrapped up in what we think we should be feeling or how we should be reacting rather then just letting it be whatever it's supposed to be. She told me that I might even surprise myself, but try it just once a week, talk to her, cry for her, be angry and scream if I have to. But do whatever I FEEL.

With work and school and sickness, I pushed that to the very bottom of my to-do list. It all sounded groovy in the session, but real-world settled back into view and it just wasn't going to work into my schedule. Well, I didn't want it to work into my schedule to be honest. And then tonight I watched that episode, and saw that part and it all came back and I knew I had to do it. So I did. I stood in front of her room, phone in hand with the timer set for 30 minutes. And can you believe that I was nervous?? My heart was beating fast and I was getting anxious. It was an unreal feeling. I opened the door, turned on the light and sat. Set the timer and off I went....

Silence. I sat there and stared.. who knows how long. And finally I just started to say my thoughts out loud. I talked to her. Some tears were shed yes, laughter was made yes, anger was outbursted yes, memories were brought up yes. But I did it. And in the end it didn't seem as bad as I had made it. And I actually came to a few of my own conclusions. This is my reality and I know it is, yet I wonder if it will ever feel like it's unreal. It's been a year now, and yet it still feels so unreal.

It's no secret I want another baby. When it will happen only the Lord knows. But I stumbled upon some deep down feelings about I never was able to verbalize before. Sure I want another one for all the obvious reasons.. I want that feeling again, I want this void to somehow be filled, I want to feel like my purpose as a mother is still very real, I want to feel like I can succeed. Mostly I have told J that I want to prove to myself and the world that I can raise a healthy productive person. But something I came upon tonight that I had not realized before is that I want another one to have a piece of Savanna. No not to replace her, not to have a clone of her. There will never be another Savanna Dawn. But in her little sister/brother there will be snippets of her. Maybe in the way they look or their mannerisms perhaps in their personality and character. With the love and the pure joy from sharing another child with J I will somehow get a little snippet of my Savanna.

I carry her in my heart, in my memories, in the very brink of my soul. She is with me everywhere I go, and I see her in small moments of each day. Tonight, felt like a breakthrough for me, a small one yes, but a breakthrough nonetheless. I let myself feel something tonight. Something I have not allowed myself to do in quite some time. We all get so busy in our everyday lives we forget to ALLOW ourselves these small moments to ourselves. I only wish I had done it sooner.. but somehow this was the right time. I'm not sure I could have handled it sooner. And somehow I have felt a little closer to her.

We ended the chat with "The Cat in the Hat." I guess I can read to her again. It made me smile.

November 12, 2011

One year

Life has twists and turns, blind turns and blind spots, forks in the road, u-turns and reversals. We never know what to expect or how it will turn out. We spend 85% of our lives planning them and only 15% actually living them. A year goes by and you feel as if you have barely blinked. A moment in time that seems to last a millennium in the moment flashes by as quickly as it came. Choices are made, roads are traveled, tears are shed, laughter is spread. We can only hope that when we reach the end of our roads we have led the life we were meant to. A life worth living. We hope that we have loved as deeply as possible, served the Lord as loyally as possible, and walked our paths as strong as possible.

A year ago today, our lives threw in a blind turn, a blind spot, a fork in the road with a blockade down one side, a u-turn was made and time seemed to stop and go in reverse. One year ago today we lost our most precious gem. A year ago our Savanna died and left us here behind. We were left with memories, pictures and materialistic possessions to remind us of her. Hiccups in time would bring us back to the happier moments.

I had anticipated this day more then any other day. This day represents so much more then I can even wrap my head around in one logical sitting. Of course it first represents a year without her. A year of readjustments. A year of re-learning me. A year of learning my marriage. A year of tears and laughter. A year of choices and decisions. A year of lost hopes and dreams. A year of missing and longing. A year of change. Changes that came tearing down the doors unwelcome and unwanted. Education about my 'new' life. True I have learned so much about myself this last year.

I have learned I can be successful, I can be strong and it's ok. I have learned that I can cry uncontrollably and laugh until I can't breath and it's ok. I have learned I can miss her and love her and yet be angry at the same time and it's ok. I have learned to walk away from situations, and turn the cheek from people who may not be helpful in my journey and it's ok. I have learned that guilt is a part of the life, anger is a natural reaction, and sadness is a re-occurent theme... and it's ok. Most of all I think I have learned I can laugh, and be happy, I can smile and enjoy my life, I can keep going and it's ok. I have learned that because we move forward without her here by my side does not mean I'm moving on and forgetting about her. It simply means I'm learning to live again. The pain is no longer a stinging pain but a dulled jab. There is still a hole, though it feels slightly more mended. There is a void, though I have gotten somewhat accostomed to the feeling. Our family continues to somehow feel incomplete, yet we know that will always be the case. I have more good days then bad, but I allow myself the bad days.

I know the road will continue to be treachourous, wavy and filled with shallow waters and deep sink holes. But along with that, the road will be overflowing with sunshine and beautiful sunsets, ladybugs and sunflowers, rainbows and bright blue sky's.

In the still of the night I can close my eyes and I am transformed back to a time when life made sense and there were no hard choices to make. I am taken back to a sweet joyous smile and a precious innocent face looking back at me. I am taken back to moments of time and I remind myself how thankful and blessed we are to have those to look back upon. One year ago from today, November 12, I watched the life of my sweet pea flutter away into the Heavens, I am simply thankful to have her footprints imbedded on my heart. I am grateful and so completely and totally blessed to be the lucky one to be her momma.

Sweet Savanna Dawn,

You are my breath of fresh air. The chilled breeze blowing in my hair. You are the sweet smells of spring flowers and the comforting smell of fall. You are my warm sunshine in the mornings and the bright moon lighting my way at night. You are my rock that keeps me grounded and my stars to keep me dreaming. You give me hope to keep going, you give me strength to keep on living. I love you more and more each day, even when I don't think it's possible. I will always wonder what you would look like, I will always wonder what kind of beautiful woman you would have grown up to be. I will always wonder what life would be like with you still here with me. I think of you each and every day and always remember that when I reach the end of my road, you will be there waiting for me with arms wide open, bright blue eyes shining, and that sweet sweet smile waiting to invite me in to the Heavens. I love you, I love you, I love you.


September 12, 2011

10 Months..

First of all I want to thank everyone for all you have done in standing behind me. Although the comment that was made stung hard and hurt deeply I was remind that for the one jerk off, there are 1000 of you who are full of compassion and true caring. So thank you. I am happy to say I will be not making my blog private. How can I let the comment of one so ignorant affect the legacy my daughter has laid out? I did however make some changes to my settings. No longer can 'anonymous' people make comments, and I must approve all comments before they are published. Although I can't control who reads, I can at least control those who decide to give there unsolicited advise. I'm sure she won't be the last to make an ignorant thoughtless comment. I can only hope she read through the many comments from all of you readers and felt extremely small and insignificant. Mostly, I hope she was educated in her very self-centered and small minded vision. Not only did she offend myself, she offended my friends and family, other BLM's as well as all those working moms out there- both career and SAHM's. So again, thank you for making me realize, she doesn't deserve my anger or attention. But it sure felt good to stick up for myself!


And now I think about the day and what it represents. Today it has been 10 months she died. I'm not sure what I think, or feel about it. I do know that in one instant it seemed to fly by, yet at the same time was long and drawn out. It also means I am much closer to an entire 365 days without her. Lately I have been left to wondering what our life would be like right now if we had our little 17 month old running around here. How chaotic yet exciting our days would be. Everyday would be a new adventure. Of course I wonder what she would look like, what would her voice sound like. Would we be attempting potty training? What would her favorite words be?

The initial ache and pain has seemed to dull slightly. Some days it is a very deafening pain, while others it's quite transparent. I am beginning to get a grasp on what 'living' without her really is. Now we have moved past the 'coping' and moved into the surviving. We have embarked upon a new journey down a different path. I always take a rest along the way, close my eyes and try to imagine how differently our journey would have been. I miss her terribly and that is something that has never dulled. That, I'm sure, it never will.


I feel as if I often repeat myself. I've said all the things I could say that I have felt and ever felt. Everyday is a new day, and I'm OK with having good days as they are more often now then they once were. There is still a push of guilt when I have a succession of good days, but I try not to beat myself up over it. I have some projects I plan to start again. I started the memory box idea, but now have decided to make some adjustments to the legacy left by Savanna. I don't want to share too much as I plan to have an 'unveiling' soon. As I've stayed away from this place due to the extremely busy schedule and the fear of repetition there is one thing I have realized. I love this space. I love what it represents. I love what it says. I love where it has taken me. I love the people that I have 'met.' With that being said.. I will be taking a bit of a hiatus. Although it seems that I already have, there has been an underlaying pressure when I think about blogging. So, to relieve myself of that pressure, I will be taking a leave of absence. I don't know how long, but I know for certain it's not forever. And who knows, taking that pressure off of myself, I may find here back again before you know it.

Please feel free to email me ( as I love to hear from the readers and other BLM's. It is you that give me the courage to keep going and the strength to continue telling my story. Please become a part of Savannas Facebook Page (you can find the link on the right hand toolbar) to continue getting updates. I have ceased adding people that I don't know to my personal Facebook page as it started to get out of hand. My friends list has been dwindled down to keep it as private as possible. But I welcome anyone to Savannas Sunshine Page.

I want to thank all of you again for following me along on this journey and for continuing to follow me. Never judging, always supporting and forever encouraging. Please know this is not goodbye, just a see you later.

So, until next time.

September 10, 2011

A word of caution

To the person who left this comment on my previous post and to those others who might make something similar...

if you don't want to stay at home and raise your child, then you shouldn't have any more children.I'm sorry but letting a daycare raise your baby is just wrong.They don't get the love and nurturing that we as mothers can give.these babies don't get the love and comfort from daycare workers.You can try to tell yourself over and over again that this is right, but you should be ashamed of yourself.You obviously didn't love every moment of being a stay because you say you were driving yourself crazy.I have read so many blogs just like yours where the parents try to convince the rest of us how much they loved their child, but after reading the answers to some of these questions, there doesn't seem to be any warmth or love or even sadness expressed in your words.

First of all, I never once asked for your 'advice' as piss poor as it is, keep it to yourself. Second of all, unless you have lived one day, just one day in my shoes don't even begin to judge my reasonings or reactions to the way I would do things in my life. For you to say there doesn't seem to be any warmth love or sadness expressed in my words clearly shows you have none of these things. This is a safe place for me to go and I have allowed others in to follow along. Do not disrespect, my place with your poison. This all goes back to something we have all learned as young children, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all. There is no right no wrong way to raise a child. As long as they are raised in an environment filled with love, compassion, morals, values and faith. She had all of these things. Because we are both working parents we were able to provide the things needed for her without ever wondering where the next meal was going to come from. And, by the way.. the sitter did not 'raise' my child. I RAISED MY DAUGHTER. And any other parent who has ALLOWED their children in daycare will say the same thing. The children grow up to have our morals our values. They know who we are. Clearly you have not read anything else I have said, or you would realize the guilt I already have with this subject. Do me a favor, take the door and leave this blog. Your comments and hatred and uncalled for 'advice' are not needed nor wanted. This is the first negative comment I have received and it will be the last.  Do not try to tell me that I did or didn't love the moments I had at home with my daughter. They are all I have left. And one last thing... it's people like you why people like us who are grieving don't talk out loud. Nothing but judgement and your own 'personal idea' of how we should be grieving. Keep your BS to yourself and stay out of my world.

Should anyone else feel the need to 'express their advise' I will be making this place private. Your COMMENTS and THOUGHTS are always welcome... your ADVICE is not. 

August 4, 2011

Questions Answered

So, I asked you to ask.. and you did.. and now I'm here to answer.

How is J dealing with it?
**I can't speak for J myself... so for the first time, he will make a cameo appearance :)
 Well being the person I am I tend to hold things in most of the time.  And being a guy I took the role of being the strong one for Tabby.  I credit being able to deal with our loss, better than most people, to my faith.

I know their is a plan bigger than ours and it was in that plan for her to be here only 7 1/2 months.  As Tabby says in another question, if and when we have another one, I will still always be nervous and it will stay in the back of my mind.  But only time will tell.  So in short I am dealing much better than most.  Just taking it one day at a time.

How do you deal as a couple?
It's not easy by any means. There have been many situations where we have bumped heads and been at each others throats. The thing about grief is that it is very individual and personal. Each person has their own way.. I am very external, J very internal. I always wanted to talk about feelings-he didn't. There were days where we were thousands of miles apart and it felt like all we did was argue and bicker. The thing is, you have to force yourselves to communicate. To talk through the hardest of hard. And so we have had our knock down drag outs.. we were exhausted in the end but accomplished. The key that I found is that I have to respect his process just I expect him to respect mine. In the same token we have to meet in the middle. I can't ask him to sacrifice certain things if I'm not willing to do the same and vice versa. It's very easy to say, "we've been through so much, we can make it through anything" The key is to MAKE it work. There are no magical things or words to solve our problems.. we have to trust in one another to be each others rock when the other is shaky - It's a shit tough road to travel. The  best we can do is keep the lines of communication open. And that's the key thing I think. The divorce rate amongst baby loss parents is something like 80% We have both agreed from the moment Savanna died is that we refuse to be that 80% We had already become a SIDS statistic.. that's where it would stop. So if you take divorce out of the equation completely then it never becomes a solution.

Has the babysitter talked to you guys at all?
We actually stayed in contact with her for about a month and a half after Savanna died. I tried speaking to her the night it happened after we got back home from the hospital. But she was a sobbing mess and was trying to explain how it all happened. All I heard was bubbles from her nose and mouth and I lost it.. I couldn't continue on in the conversation I was still in such a state of shock. Finally a couple weeks later.. after the funeral and the Thanksgiving holiday she came over to talk with us. She walked us through the chain of events. We allowed her into Savanna's room and we allowed her to keep one of the blankets Savanna used at her house. She is a single mom and her kids were going away for Christmas, so we invited her over to stay with us and be with our families. As time drew on I began to notice patterns. Regardless if she was doing things purposely or not, it was affecting me. She was guilt stricken in her grief I began to feel like she was comparing the fact that Savanna died in her care as being worse then it being my daughter. I was quite angry all the time and finally talked to a chaplain about it. He advised that I not speak to her anymore. She was attached to a bad memory. So each day I take steps forward but as soon as she is brought up or we talk I take 3 steps backward, that day begins to replay all over again. Even though I know she did nothing wrong, and she did everything in her power to save my little girl, it still felt like she took her.. and now she was taking my grief too. The only thing I had. So I decided in January that it was best if we cut ties. We have not spoken or talked to her since.

Did the babysitter come to the funeral?
No she did not. The funeral was three hours away and she is a single mom with two girls. Although she expressed how much she wanted to be there it was not possible as the funeral was in the middle of the week and her children were in school. We did, however, make a copy of the slide show and video for her that was shown at the service.

How many kids do you want?
We would like to have two more children.

Will you do anything differently that you didn't do with Savanna?
Boy that's a loaded question! I think about that quite often.. What could I have done differently with her. And what it comes down to is this... nothing. No matter what the circumstances, where she was at, who she was with, what she ate, what she wore.. her FULL life was only meant to be 7 months and 15 days. As a human it's so hard to fathom this thought. Our imperfect minds conceive a FULL life to be that of 70 or 80.. it's completely taboo for a parent to bury their child.. but I have come to accept that 7 months and 15 days was Savanna's full life. With that being said, when we chose to have another I'm most certain I will be highly paranoid and scared. But in the end doing anything differently isn't going to change whatever outcome  his/her life will be fated to. I have no control over it. All I can do is love them unconditionally and make sure they know of their big sister. Because the thing is, all the tips on reducing the risk seemed null and void to us. She used a paci.. she was a roller so putting her on her back side or front didn't matter she slept how she was comfortable. She was crawling and trying to pull up. So the 'odds' were against her. Yet here we are. Things like bumpers and pillows and blankets in their crib.. sure I'll probably keep those things out. But at the end of the day, I have no control. So I will love them with my whole heart, and cherish each and every moment.

When/if you have more kids will you leave them with a sitter or be a stay at home mom?
Another one I have though so much about. Somehow in my mind there was a point where I thought, had she been with me she wouldn't have died. I would have saved her, that's what a mother does right? We are the protectors, the guardians of our children. But like I said before, it wouldn't have had a different outcome. So, to be point blank, I am not a stay at home mom person. I tried it.. and although I absolutely loved every moment I had with Savanna, and am so thankful for it... I was driving myself crazy. I didn't want it to get to a point where I resented her. I remember driving home from work everyday so excited and as soon as I would walk in the door I would see that smile. And it made that whole day away from her so worth it. Now please don't twist my words. Stay at home moms are admirable and courageous and the hardest workers I know. Every person has their calling, has their niche.. it's just not mine. I wish it was... BUT as I've learned through this grief journey... our plans don't always work out the way we want them to, or think they will. So once baby number 2 sparkles it's way into our lives.. my whole mind set could change. But as of now.. I will continue to work and she/he will go to a daycare program.
I hope this gives you some more insight into our little world and you're able to get a little more understanding of this journey. I hope it can help you to help another close to you. Just remember, sometimes the most healing words to a grief stricken, heart broken loved one are the silent ones.

**I will continue to answer questions as they come in. Email, FB me, or comment on the blog. Again, your inquiries will remain anonymous

August 3, 2011

Silent Story

The eyes are the keeper of the soul. Look into someone's eyes. Sit face to face, join hands, and in silence just look. You'll be amazed at what you see, what you find, how much you can learn about the fear, pain, joy, sorrow, and happiness they have experienced in their lifetime.

I was elected senior class president in high school. So the summer before, all the officers got to go to StuCo. camp. It was a great way to learn leadership roles, and how to be a better leader, activities to help get your school involved in pep assemblies and rally weeks, fundraising and community service ideas. It was a way to network with other student council groups from around the state. Rather then bunking up with your own classmates, they put you in rooms with different people. You were put into groups for activities and competitions, you were put with different people other then your classmates. At first, it was awkward, uncomfortable and I personally hated it. But then I started to embrace it. These people were awesome. They each had their own stories. They were people I probably would have never run into, or even thought of trying to strike up a conversation. This camp forced me from my comfort zone.

On one of the last days there, there was an activity they had everyone do. It sounded so silly when they started explaining it. Being it our first time at this camp, we all kind of laughed it off and just though ok we'll do it, the faster we get it over with the faster we get to go home. The whole camp (of about 200 or so students) split up into two groups. There was an outside circle and an inside circle. Each person was face to face. So basically you had a partner. You then joined hands and for 5 seconds you just looked into their eyes. At first I didn't see the big deal, thought this was corny and had no idea what kind of 'lesson' they were trying to teach. First person, we looked, 'switch' they said. The outside circle took a step to the left, the inside circle took a step to their left, therefore switching partners. Gazing into another persons eyes.. 5 seconds 'switch' again a new person. finally byt he fifth or sixth person, it started to sink it. It was my aha moment. You couldn't help but be tearful, you couldn't help but squeeze that strangers hand a little tighter, you couldn't help but to give them a hug before you switched partners again.

The eyes are the keeper. The eyes share a story. A silent story. In the tears that are shed, they are tears of a person's life. Memories they hold to their heart pouring from their tear ducts. As I gazed into each of these people's eyes, I saw that. I could see behind the facade of a happy person, there was hurt. Behind the smiles and the crazy clown kid, the pain. The trials and tribulations they have gone through. that person was equal..

And now, I think back to that moment and think about my silent story. In the days after Savanna died, I thought for sure I had a post-it note on my forward. I was the girl with the dead daughter walking around and everyone knew. Sure I had my share of crap growing up, who doesn't? There were times as a teen and young adult that I thought my life was crashing down around me. In my past relationship I was mentally and verbally abused... I had hit rock bottom.. But here I was years later.. walking around.. having just buried my 7.5 month old daughter. It's a different feeling then rock bottom. It's inexplicable pain, constant heartache. I wonder now, what kind of story do my eyes tell? Do they tell the story of a girl who had the 'perfect' life and then it all crashed down in an instant? Is it the story of the girl who was mentally and verbally beaten but came out on top? What kind of pain in my tears are there now? As I think about that.. i think about the stories of others. As I walk through wal-mart and I see the solemn faced woman, or the perfectly happy couple, the older couple holding hands, what are their stories? what kinds of memories, fears, thoughts and happiness do their eyes lock away? how many of these people have hidden compartments in their hearts of hurt they cling to. Grief they can't let go of. Pain that still hurts. Voided chambers in their heart left open.

These thoughts make me slow to judge someone else. Sure I get into my tyrants and judge away. But after Savanna passed.. I had a better understanding. I'm sure there were days that I was not presentable to the public.. I wonder what those people thought of me? So now when I see pictures of the family on the back of the windshield, or the in memory of stickers, or the carseat in the back, or the solemn faced couple walking through the store.. I no longer, or at least I try, not to make abrupt judgements and conclusions about that person. My hourney ahs been hard to get to where I have been.. it's been mixed with pure joy and happiness, tragedy and sorrow. Pain and hurt, love and compassion. No one else could have walked my journey, for it is my own. Just as I could not have traveled someone else's. We are each individual in our paths that we walk. The pathway has been paved with our specific footprints waiting for us to step through each barrier and trench.

The death of your child makes you, forces you to view the world differently. Makes you look at people differently. Pushes you to be different. This 'opportunity' is never taken with open arms and is always forced upon our laps.. As I have stubbornly and unwillfully accepted this fate.. I have found that people are who they are. Whether we agree with their choices, their beliefs or their decisions.. their path is still paved and they are taking the steps they were always meant to take. Their path is individualized for them. their DNA of life. So the next time someone is having a bad day, they are flying off the deep end, or the cashier at work doesn't smile as big as she usually does, think about their silent story. Look into their eyes and see what's on the other side. You'd be surprised.

Don't believe me? Just try it, you'll surprise even yourself.
Now, I wanted to open this up with questions. I have seen several other people do this on their blogs and thought it was a great idea. A way for you to learn more about me. So in a comment or email ( or fb message (whatever you feel most comfortable with) ask me a question. It can be anything. It can be about Savanna or myself, about SIDS, or her death. About her life, or grief. ANYTHING! And after each post I will answer those questions.. leaving the person anonymous. I write on here as a way to get m y thoughts out there. aS a way to chronicle this path to remember there wer darker then dark moments but to also remember there ware good and happy moments. I never thought it would grow to the place it has become. I am so grateful for the constant love and support i feel from so many that read. Both family, and friends as well as strangers. So this 'interview' is for you. So the door is open and the canvas is blank... ask away!

Remember I'm raw and real and to the point--if i feel that a question is out of line i will say so.. but i will promise to keep all inquiries anonymous.

August 1, 2011

So What's Happening...

Well.. once again I strayed away from my virtual sanctuary. For good reason though I promise... we are understaffed at work an therefore there are more hours to be filled by all others. What does this mean? Mucho overtime.. on top of the 60 hour work weeks I'm taking 2 online classes. Oh and raising a husband *wink* did I mention keeping the dog from eating the cats head? So yes.. at the end of the day--rather then study the nutritional values of this that or the other.. or solve for x,y or z I have decided to blog! So i'm just gonna give y'all an update on what's going on. And that same instant hopefully sort through the cluster of thoughts rummaging through my extremely flooded brain.. sooo bear (or bare?) with me...

PS prepare for long winded-ness run on sentences and crappy grammer.. there's much to tell.. and as always its raw and real and my reality

Lately I have been having a lot of dreams. Not just any dream though. Dreams about Savanna. Most would say.. well that's wonderful! But in one moment I love that I dream of her, and in the next I hate it. Or do I just hate that I have to wake up to the shitty reality? Hmm.. maybe a bit of both? Anywho, after she died I prayed and I prayed for a dream of her. I begged God to allow visions of her to come to my mind. I was having so much trouble at that time remembering all the good, instead I had the terror images of tubes and caskets and marker stones in my minds eye. (in afterthough I think He knew I wasn't quite ready to handle the dreams yet) I'm not sure how long it was before I finally had a dream about S, but it was always the same. She started off dead in my dream, then she would come back to life. It was a miracle, but in my dream it was some what of a norm. I remember that in each dream I would run to her, someone else would be holding her.. but it was like we were in one of the fun houses with the wacked out mirrors. Only this wasn't fun. She was always just out of reach. It was always different people, in different locations at different times of the day. She was always wearing the ducky pj's we buried her in.. so I'm guessing this was subconscience bringing to the forefront of my mind my reality. She would always be as close to my heart as could be, but never in arms length any longer.

Eventually those dreams stopped. Part of me was grateful.. waking up with the voided bleeding hole became emotionally draining. that same feeling of knowing she was so close but out of reach brought back the moments of when I first saw her laying in her casket. Her casing, but not her.

Fast forward to several months later. These last couple weeks Savanna has sparkled her way back into my dreams. but this time much differently. Again she starts out gone in the dreams, but somehow a miracle happens and she's alive. In one of the dreams I think out loud.. I wonder if she remembers me. And in the same moment those thoughts dribbled through my mind I look down at the dining room floor and there she is. Sitting there playing in the dirt from the plant.. (go figure.. it's totally how she was!) I called her name, fingers crossed, breath held, body filled with tension hoping she would remember who I was.. she looks up at me and I see those beautiful blue eyes, and slowly her lips spread into a wide and toothless grin. The recollection and connection that only a mother and their child can share. I was able to scoop her up and I remember just holding her so tightly. Kissing her all over her little face trying to remember all her little details and then in my dream I realize I'm only in a dream. So I squeeze her longer and as hard as I could and then I wake up. This dream has happened several times.. sometimes she's in her crib, sometimes on the floor, sometimes in her bouncer. But always she will smile at me, I will scoop her up.. and then BAM the realization that it's only a dream.

I'm not sure if it means anything or if my subcon is just pulling forth what I've wanted it to for so long. And now that I have it.. I'm not sure I want it anymore. I wak up feeling empty and sad. Just wishing for one more moment  with her. Wishing I could wake up and walk into her room and see her curled up in her bed. For now, I guess, I will take it for what it is.. I will ry to cherish these moments.. even if they're just imaginary.. for now that's all I got.


Savanna's stuff. Her clothes. Her bibs. Her shoes. Blankets. Burp cloths. Diapers. Wipes. Toys. Bouncer. Boppy. Bumbo. Diaper bag. Hats.. etc. etc. et-freaking-cetera. It's all been piled up in her room since the day she died. The Friday that she passed, I asked one of my friends to come to the house and put all her stuff in her room. I couldn't bare to look at it. The thought of just coming into the house without her was painful enough. I didn't think I could look at the high chair she just sat in and ate breakfast a mere 10 hours earlier. Or the Pack N Play she peacefully napped in the day before as she spent a day off with daddy. The blankets sprawled on the floor she first learned to roll and crawl. The thought of that.. seeing that.. remembering those memories but only having a purple box and not her with us? It just didn't seem bearable.

Then her room just started to become a storage. As we collected things from her funeral.. they floated their way into her room. I hardly ever went in there unless I absolutely had to. And sure it killed me to walk in there knowing she wasn't there, but more then anything I wanted to savor her smell. It was the only plausible thing I could physically 'grab' onto besides a picture. It was a way I could still feel like she somehow lived on. It was also a reminder through those trecherous waters that she was real. It took me 3 months before I even took the dirty diapers out of the diaper genie. Call me weird or gross.. but anything that made me remember she was real, I kept. All her bears and stuffed animals, bows and ribbons from her funeral and memorial service were all tucked away into her room. Dirty clothes still in the hamper, bows hanging on the walls, her indention from her head still on the pillow. Besides the things added to the room, nothing had been changed. The last sheets and blanket she slept on still tucked away at the crib. The baby monitor still in its place. Clothes hung in the closet, clothes still in the dresser, diapers still in their specific spot. All where it should be. Everything where it was supposed to be had she still been here. Only she isn't here.

We hope to continue to grow our family again one day. And in order for me, myself and I to feel like I could really grasp the concept of possibly having another child one day.. I felt that I had to pack up. It was something that had been nagging at me, heavy on my heart. A piece of the puzzle that needed to be sealed. There is no time frame, no right or wrong way to do it. But for me in my personal journey I felt like this is what I needed to do to try and somehow continue to move forward. To somehow maybe slow the quaking ground a little more and possibly shy the shadows even further into their darkness so that the light may be able to shine just a tad bit brighter.

So I went to Wal-mart and bought pink storage bins. I saw them and immediately thought they were very fitting. My very best friend T came over to assist me. I knew I couldn't do it alone, J was at work. I wasn't sure what to expect or how I was going to react. I imagined myself curling up into a very small ball holding all of her things and bawling. Only that didn't happen. Instead.. as we went through the clothes that she had grew out of, I was able to share memories. As I pulled out her little shoes and hats, happy times came to mind. I pulled out the hat that she wore the day she died, and instead of picturing her lifeless in the ER room, I was able to picture her that morning with her sweet smile. And as i pulled all of the things off of her crib and finally took the blanket and sheet off a wonderful and glorious thing happened. The room that had started to fade of her smell.. had an instantaneous blast. It was as if all the things sitting atop the covers had held in her scent. T and I both looked at each other and just smiled. I knew this was her, cheering me on and supporting me. Letting me know it was OK to move forward. It doesn't mean I'm moving on without her. Even in the smallest of movements, the teensiest of an action she is somewhere nearby. It will never be in the way I desire or want, but I'll take what I can get. So we finished packing her things up, I placed it all in the closet. And closed the door. I dusted off the empty dresser, ran my finger through the spokes of the empty crib, and took down the pillow off the vacant diaper changer. With eyes filled with tears, a heart breaking once again, I was somehow filled with hope.

I had made it this far. And I will keep on going. Because I've said it before and I'll say it again... she is SO worth it.

July 4, 2011

happy fourth

Happy Fourth of July to all those families out there... those that hold their children in their arms and especially to those who hold their babies in their hearts.

Thinking of all of you today and wishing our little ones were here to enjoy the fireworks and bbq's with us.

So much love to all of you.

Telling you I miss you just doesn't seem sufficient enough. The english language is so limited when it comes to how I feel about you and just how much I wish you were here. I remember so vividly our first Fourth of July with you. At the time I thought there would be many more... little did I know. You loved the fireworks and weren't even scared--you somehow even managed to sleep, and took your first ride on the 4 wheeler with daddy.

Hope you're enjoying the show from up above sweet pea. Just know I think of you constantly and always. I love you to a million and one pieces. You're my little firecracker sweet girl. Happy Fourth of July baby girl.

Always and always,

********Remembering 07/04/2010**********

 Yes, she slept through the fireworks show!

June 29, 2011

toxic vomit

People make comments. They speak words. Phrases. Sentences. Whether they are happy, sad, mad or worse grieving. There are comments that are sometimes made by a "non"-griever that seem to sting. The naive-ness they encompass and somehow think their 'magic' words will heal you and take your pain away. They think they are being helpful...

she's in a better place
at least she was only a baby.. you didn't get to know her
it's like when my dog died...
-->insert awkward look/uncomfortable stare
how do you do it? i would just die (thanks for making me feel like i'm handling this all wrong)
i just can't imagine... (i don't want you to imagine.. i never want anyone to know this pain)
(here's my favorite) just move on/you'll get over it
you're not ready to have more kids.. it's too soon
(and the other end of the spectrum) just have another kid, you'll get over it faster

The list could go on for days. I have learned to simply block those people out. Either out of my mind or out of my life. Knowing the non-bereaved's ignorance to the situation kind of gives a sense of dismissal. They truly are trying to help.. but just don't know how to. So they extend and reach for any piece of satisfaction to try and help. It is in 'most' (not all) people's genetic makeup to want to help and to fix. This situation can neither be helped or fixed. It just has to evolve into it's own outcome.

With that being said.. I can almost excuse most comments. I have done my best to educate people what to say and not to say. And I have seemed to get a very positive response. If it is something that is completely uncalled for, I will make a point to say so. Otherwise, how will someone know??

Now onto what I really wanted to vent about. Like I said.. I can expect certain things to come from an outsider.. I certainly don't expect these toxic words to come from a fellow angel mommy. This is the second time something like this has been said to me and I just had to get it out. It's been bothering me since last night.

As most of you know, yesterday was the day when Savanna has been gone longer then she was alive, not only that--she would have been 15 months yesterday as well. So needless to say, it was a tough day. I reached out to one of my online support groups (names will not be used to protect privacy) about my day.. and just how broken I was. Not only are these angel mommy's but SIDS mommy's as well. We all share a different kind of connection. (although I feel connected to so many BLM's whose little ones were taken by a different kind of tragedy) Most of the postings stated how they were thinking of me, some remember the day and gave advice, others spoke of how they are too dreading that day.. and then there was a comment that blew me away. Stopped my breath dead in my throat. --at least you had your little one for 7 whole months, i only got mine for 2--

Wait! What? As if I don't appreciate the 7 months that I had? So it should hurt less because I got 'longer' time? I was baffled. You see.. this exact same thing had been said to me just 7 months ago.. at Savanna's memorial service. And I didn't say anything. I wasn't going to stand by this time.. I stood up for myself but was left with a burning sting all the way through the night and up until today.

I realize this person is grieving as well.. I am too.. so are all those others that are a part of the group. But to deflect the anger onto another that is hurting and so vulnerable. I came extremely close to removing myself from the group.

Ultimately.. there is no 'comparison' At the end of the day we are all broken hearted, empty armed, and lost. We have no babies to hold, no diapers to change, no bottles to sanitize. We visit a grave or carry our babies with us. We have molds of their hands and feet, snippets of hair, final footprints. We've seen our precious babies with tubes down their throats, lifeless and cold. No breath of life and glossed over empty eyes. At the end of the day that's what it comes down to. Whether it was 2 days, 3 months, 2 years or 20 years.. it all hurts. So although some may think this.. and righfully so in grieving anger many things come to our minds... think before you make the comment out loud.. think how you would feel. What kinds of feelings would they pull up. What kind of emotions would you encounter if such jargon was thrown your way.

Although I know how easy it is to get wrapped up in our own grief and pain.. we must not forget--there are others grieving and in pain too. Whether or not you chose to be there for those people is a personal preference. But either be there or don't. There are no halfsies. Make a choice and stick to it. It will be much more respectable in the end.
I'm going to leave you with something one of the moderators posted after this comment was made. It was well said and so gracefully put...  

"i know that we all had different circumstances surrounding the loss of our children. i know we all lost them at different times in their lives. but i think it's important for us to remember that we are all in the "same" pain. losing a child is the most unnatural thing in the world. it doesn't matter if we had them in our arms for 6 days, 6 mins, 4.5 months, 7 months, etc. we are all broken because they are gone. and we are all trying to figure out how to continue on without them. there is no "right" time to lose a child"

Peek-A-boo with daddy

June 27, 2011

Today turns into tomorrow

Today she has been gone 7 months and 15 days.. her age when she left this world. Tomorrow she will have been gone 7 months and 16 days... Gone longer then she was alive.

In the past couple weeks I have been moody, anxious, emotional, and just all over the place. J receiving the wondrous benefits of all the leftover emotions.

I'm not sure exactly what to think. This moment has been haunting my memories probably since her birthday. Next to watching her breathe for the last time, planning her funeral, seeing her in a casket and laying her to rest... this day I have dreaded most. Even more so then the one year angel-versary. Mostly I think because by the time that big one year comes around I would have lived through and 'survived' the most heart breaking and gut wrenching milestones without her. And now we come to a point that she will have been dead longer then alive.

It's today that I try to hang on to the notion that she lived. That she was alive. That she continues to live in my heart and in my memories. It's tomorrow that I try not to dwell on the fact that now we are making new memories. More memories without her then with her. It's a realization of the reality of this life without her. Family vacations we had planned, birthday parties to organize, first days of school and brown bag lunches, PTA meetings, teenage rebellion, the birds and the bees talk... all ripped from my fingertips. I barely got to get a hold of any of it. I got a tease.. a small taste.

How I wish so deeply she was here. And how I wish so whole heartedly that time would stop. That the Earth would stop revolving, that the season would cease to change. Change means time is passing.. passing without her. I still can't seem to wrap my brain around the rest of my life without knowing her. Without loving her the way I want to.

Everywhere I look I see her. Each day I am asked about her. Each time someone new learns of my ill fated destiny as a forever heart broken empty armed mama. Life always made so much sense.. I always knew what I wanted. And I had it all. Until November 12th.

7 months and 15 days. Seems so long in a linear perspective.. but when I think of the memories and the moments created in those 7 months and 15 days they hardly seem enough.

Although I have laid her death day to rest.. I cannot lay her to rest. I don't ever want to let go and I want the world to continue to remember who she is. Yet, I feel as I remind them, I am burdening them. I wear my heart on my sleeve and my feelings around my neck. Always watching what I say.. taking it all with a grain of salt. I hate the look and the awkwardness.. the uncomfortableness and the sympathetic 'I'm so sorry' Although most I know completely and whole heartedly mean it.. when you hear it every day for 7 months and 15 days.. it seems to lose its light, its meaning, its worth. I can almost guarantee what they will say next.

I must make a confession. One day about a month ago... I denied her. At least that's how I felt. I went to the donut shop across the street from my job to get a bite to eat. The owner (a very friendly man.. who has come to know me as a regular now) asked me where we were from.. were we military... and the ill-fated question.. do you have any children. I said no. And carried on the conversation. Many of you may gasp, may look at me differently, may think how could I? In that moment.. I didn't want that look, that awkwardness, that empty apology and pity. I thought, maybe this is easier? As I left the shop I felt broken. I felt like I betrayed my daughter's memory. All to save myself the monotonous rig-a-mo-roll of the same conversation I've had way too many times. I sat outside my building feeling like I was crumbling into nothing. I was ashamed and still am. I apologized to her continuously as I sat alone on that concrete slab. Wishing I could take it back. Much as I wish I could take back her death. But if there is one thing I have learned there are no backsies in this life. You are given what you are given and you either take it like a champ or you take it and turn from it. Either way.. it's still going to be there when you turn back.

I didn't go into that shop for a couple weeks.. Finally I mustered up the courage to go back. He remembered me but didn't remember that conversation. He proceded to ask me the same questions. This time I said yes I have a daughter. How old is she? She was 7.5 months when she passed away. [Insert all the awkward looks and sorry's here] I left.. still feeling broken, still shattered still heart broken. Still guilty.  Almost as if I could make up for what I did. Somehow trying to make a wrong I did a right. I found myself again sitting atop the concrete slab. Still questioning myself. Wondering what kind of person am I becoming?

I'm still trying to figure it all out. What I did find after my conundrum is that regardless if I tell or I don't tell.. It still hurts it still sucks and those people will still continue on with their lives. I will either be the girl with no kids or the poor girl with the dead daughter. But ME, I will still hurt. So where do I draw the line? It hasn't gotten any easier to say that my daughter is dead. I don't think it ever will. But today.. today I met a patient at work who lost his 10 year old daughter to bone cancer. She would have been 40 last week. We shared a moment. I didn't have to get the hollow sorry or the wondering eyes. We sat there for a moment quietly and held hands as we both said a silent prayer. From that moment I knew, I would never deny her for who she was ever again. The moments of awkwardness and the many unnerving looks are worth it for those moments. Where you seem to connect with another human being in a completely different arena.

And so I am left with my thoughts and my wondering. I'm not really sure where I was going with this post and realize it is completely all over the place. But I just had to write something. I had too much on my heart that I needed to detox from. Perhaps there are others that have experienced my situation and yet are scared to admit it for fear of being ostrasized. That's the thing about grief though.. it's unpredictable.

Today I miss her, tomorrow I miss her. Everyday I miss her....

June 26, 2011

Letting Go

There are moments.. certain snippets in our days and in time that we are brought back to a moment. There are pivotal moments that we remember.. 'this was the moment when.' The time when we realized we were in love with our significant other, the moment we realized we were meant to be a parent. My moment I wanted to reflect on was when I realized it was time to let go. To let go of the death of Savanna. I talked about it a bit in my last post but I wanted to expand on it. To let those know who are not yet there that the moment does exist. It is by no means easy and the time in which it takes for someone to get there could take longer or less. There is no time frame, no deadlines when it comes to grief. It is personal and it is your own. And although the experiences of Savanna's death are sadly so similar to so many others.. in no way do I know their pain exactly. I can only know my own personal pain, and from that I am in hopes that I can somehow relate. I don't know how they feel, but I do know how I feel.. and any morsel of pain that I feel is incomprehensible.
So let me take you back. Back to the Thursday after Mother's Day. It was the 12th. As many of you know that day was the 6 month angel-versary of Savanna being gone. Another hard day.. and I was having a rather rough time with Mother's Day just passing by as well. I came home to an empty house. (J was still at work). I got the mail and there was a package in their for me from our Midwife O. She sent me a beautiful card with such heartfelt words. The card had come in a small package. As I read on her last line took my breath away... 
"The world is a brighter, warmer, and more loving place because of you."
"I wanted you to have this scale. It is the first thing to touch Savanna's skin besides your loving arms. it has not been used by another baby since her birth so i thought you might like having it."

My hands began to shake and tears welled in my eyes. As I reached into the small box, my hand grazed across soft terry cloth. I pulled it out and found the scale that was used.

A million things ran through my mind. I clutched that piece of cloth and hugged it to my chest. As I fell to my knees and sobbed in the middle of my kitchen floor.. it's as if the Lord himself with Savanna alongside him came down and laid their hands upon me. In an instant, her birth flashed before my mind. Every small detail, every moment. The pain, the joy, the exhaustion, the excitement, the wonder, the anxiety, the nerves, the pure enjoyment and innocence. And in that instant the flash of her sweet face. The first time I laid my eyes upon her as O pulled her from me and laid her on my chest. That moment washed over me. And as the warmth of the Lord and the love of my daughter completely overtook every fiber of my being, it all made sense in that instant. It was OK to let go of her death. She is OK and she's waiting for me. It was OK to let go of the record on repeat from that day. It didn't mean I was letting go of her or the rest of her memories. I was simply putting her death to rest. I was accepting that yes this is my life. And although I wish I could change it, I wish I could take it back... I can't. But most importantly clutching this soft cloth so close to my heart, knowing this was the first thing her sweet soft skin laid upon (next to me) made me remember that she lived.

I have been trying to get that point across to so many others since her death.. and maybe part of myself hadn't come to terms with it. Trying to convince others was in retrospect myself trying to convince myself. But right then and there that May 12th day, I finally realized it. I finally accepted it. And in that small moment of time I let it go. I accepted that this was her fate all along. Whether or not I like it is not the reason at hand. It is the fact that this is what it has to be. And so it became so painstakingly clear. My life is to not be defined by her death but by her life. her life of 38 weeks in my belly and 7 months and 15 days on this earth. That is what is to help define me and mold me into the Christian, Wife, Mother, Daughter, and Friend I am and am becoming. Her life has helped me to become the person I am. And that my friends is what is most important. Her death was and continues to be a painstaking reality. But I don't have to live my life dwelling on the questions, beating myself up and continuously asking why. I'll get my answers one day, not in this Earthly life... but one day I will.
For now, I will live and love for the life my daughter lived, for the life she breathed into her existence. The existence she breathed into me. That my friends is what it is about. 

Here are a few pictures of Savanna just hours old getting her measurements and getting ready to be weighed.

Savanna Dawn Bogue
March 28, 2010 @ 3:57 PM
7lbs 0oz. 19.5 inches long

June 14, 2011

Back again..

Well... wow! Where have I been??  I have received so many emails and messages in the last couple months checking in. I cannot tell you how much it warms my heart to know complete strangers find time enough in their days to check on me and see how I am doing. Well... life has been giving me something to be busy about! With the recent new job, the training was intense and the hours were something to get used to. Waking up at 3 AM and not getting home until 4 PM (sometimes 7 PM) took a toll on this 8-5 girl. The couch was like quicksand. As soon as I sat.. that's all she wrote. I wasn't getting up and I wasn't going to do anything else that required too much thought or effort. Unfortunately my little safe haven suffered. Oh how I have missed this space. Each night I would go to bed thinking about what I would have blogged about. I have finally gotten it together, and here I am... hopefully at full force again. There's blogs to catch up with, people to talk to and things to be said. So I am happy to say I am here to stay.. and although I may not have a blog a day as I did before.. there will be more then one every couple months! After all, I owe it to this space and the wonderful people I've 'met' to a part of my healing.
Well, this past Sunday was 7 months. 7 months since she's been gone. That point is coming where she has been dead longer then alive. She lived for an entire 7 months and 15 days. I'm not sure why this 'milestone' ways so heavily on my heart. More then Mother's Day or even Easter. I dread this day more then I even dread her first angel-versary. Mostly I think because it signifies time lost. It means we have begun to make more memories in her death then in her life. That is what pains me most. I will have more memories of going to her gravesite, of sending balloons to heaven, of sitting in her room trying to imagine her still there.. then I will of actual feasible memories of her. I won't get to see her first steps, her first day of school. I'm only left with my imagination. And now that it comes that she's been gone longer then she was alive.. I am forced to realize the reality of my life.

I can say though, that I do have better days now. Not so many bad. Surviving has become second nature. In the beginning, it was an everyday struggle. Now it's a kind of new normal. Although the sting doesn't hurt as much, the hole doesn't seem quite as hollow, and the black hole seems to have started to form a bottom.. there are days where the black hole bottoms out and the light disappears. I suspect it will always be like this forever and ever. That's something that I can't seem to wrap my whole brain around. As of now, I have gone 7 months and 2 days without her. I have made it to this point when I didn't even think I would make it through a single hour, day or week. So to keep going.. well it should just get easier right? That's what I hope for. And for the most part it is more bearable. But it's the quiet moments that it becomes difficult. It's the moments of stillness and empty that I miss her most. The times when I come home to an empty home and clean floors. The holidays don't seem to bother me as much. It's the smaller stuff I miss. It's the small stuff that matters.

Her room still remains her room. Her smell still ever so present. It's faint, but it's there. I can't imagine not walking into her room and not smelling her sweet smell. All her things still in their places... I have thought about boxing it up and putting it in the attic. I even went so far as to get boxes. I placed her blankets from the linen closet in there and her bathroom stuff.. but that's as far as I got. I can't bring myself to physically take her clothes from the hangers hanging in the closet. I can't take her dirty clothes out of the hamper and wash them and put them away. I can't move the pillow from her changer that still has an ever so apparent imprint of her sweet little head. I can't take the diapers out her diaper holder. The powder, the butt paste, the wipes and warmer are still in its place. I can't imagine it being any other way. I know she's gone. And I know she's not coming back. But if I pack it all up.. it feels as if I'm packing her up with it. I've accepted her fate, I've accepted my 'new life' but I can't accept the fact that I have to let her go. To me, if I let go.. I'm letting go of all she was and is.

I have finally gotten to a point that I've let go of her death. Every now and then a flash of that night will succomb my mind, but I have let go of finding any meaning in it. It used to be that I re-ran that day over and over.. figuring out what I could have done differently. If I was just a couple minutes later or ahead.. maybe if I fed her something different.. or dressed her in something differently. Maybe if I burped her longer or even less.. maybe I should have stayed home. I have now come to accept that no matter the circumstances, the place or the time. She still would have gone. There was nothing I could have done to change that. As a mother it seemed an impossible conclusion. I am her protector, her caregiver. But in 7 months, the results haven't changed. And beating myself up, questioning my abilities as a mother didn't change a damn thing. It still remains--it is what it is. Finding an 'answer' as to 'why' or 'how' will not change the outcome. So, I have let it go. Let go of the death. Let go of the questioniong. And in doing so, I have found that it doesn't mean I love her less. It doesn't mean that the other good memories will go away too. What I have found is that the good memories have come flooding back. Small details I had forgotten came into focus. It's like that file folder in my mind finally got unlocked. And now, I can be happy when I think of her. I can smile when I see her picture. I can laugh as I think of all the good times. And I can do this without the horrendous day of November 12 haunting near.

It's not to say I don't think of that day, I do. Who wouldn't? But I no longer question that day. I allow that day to be what it is and I don't let it define who I am. I don't let it define my daughter's life. Because that's the thing.. I know she died.. I am reminded of it everyday.. but what I want to remember and I want the world to know is that she lived. She lived and she loved and I am thankful everyday for those 7 months and 15 days she was allowed with me.

I just love her face in this one. She had many of them!

April 29, 2011

Spring for SIDS 2011

Today is National SIDS awareness day. Join us in remembering our Savanna and all those taken too soon. Wear your pink, blue, ribbons and bows in honor of our sweet little girls.

I am so excited to see all those raising awareness in hopes that one day no parent or family member will have to suffer through this terrible pain and loss. Join me and so many other moms in this fight against SIDS.

To make your donation today simply click the donate button over there to the right. Or you can go to here to make a donation directly to the foundation. Don't forget to include Savanna's name so our team will get credit! Please share this day with anyone and everyone as we fight for our baby's.

My Savanna Dawn 03.28.10-11.12.10

April 17, 2011

Selfishishly drowning in Selfishness

I feel so selfish and self-centered lately. Only thinking about me and my trials and tragedy. Only concerned with the way I am feeling. Emails and messages, text messages and letters piling up. And I can't seem to find the energy to respond to them. I feel I'm on the brink of breakdown. I haven't had one in quite some time.. maybe it's due time? I feel like the denial is happening all over again. Maybe if I don't respond, I don't acknowledge, maybe then I'll wake up and this new life I'm living will all disappear. Maybe if I run fast enough away I can walk into what it used to be. There are days I feel like a broken record. I try to find any excuse to insert Savanna's name into a conversation, I look for every opening to talk about when I was pregnant with her. I want so badly to still be a part of those mommy conversations and trips to the baby stores. I want to be excited that my baby is walking. I still talk about her as if she's here. Others on the outside.. well they don't get it. They are cordial, they smile as I recall my most precious memories--but I know they're uncomfortable. I know they are trying to find the first 'out' of the conversation.

I just hate it. Hate that this has to be my reality. Hate that this is what I ponder over. Should I mention her or should I not? I hate feeling crazy half the time. I hate hate hate this all. It's all so confusing. So draining. So mind numbingly... reality. It's my reality.. it's my life. And just trying to figure out how I fit in all of it takes so much out of me. I'm going through the motions, faking it through each day. At night's end, I ponder my grief. I don't know where I stand. I want to move forward, I want to help others.. and yet---I can't even help myself. I have gone back and forth on whether or not I should talk to someone. Maybe a counselor? Maybe group session? Maybe a chaplain? I don't know.. I don't want to be treated as a 'patient.' I am a mommy living after loss.. I can't be fixed. And so I don't want someone to try to fix me.. and certainly not someone who has not experienced this path.

Ultimately I think it comes down to the fact that I am just trying to figure out this new me. I think I have been trying so hard to be who I once was that it's confusing and conflicting. Instead of trying to be something I no longer am, I have to figure out who I am now. Now I have I new identity I am coming to find. That is what I think I am most in denial about. I don't want to have to be someone different, I liked who I was. I was confidant with the old me. But now, too much has changed. I try so hard not to put myself into a seperate category. I try not to ostrasize myself from the world, but it's hard. Because most of the world doesn't understand the new me either. So I have inverted and flipped around. I have tried to concentrate on me. Tried to pinpoint what I want out of life. The things that used to bring me down before no longer hold a significance to me anymore. My values have been adjusted and priorities have been re-arranged.

So I may seem fickle, self-involved, self-pitying.. it's not because I don't care. It's exactly the opposite. I care immensely. My heart explodes at all the wonderfulness and compassion that surrounds me. But it takes so much energy to individually recognize it. I'm in a merry-go-round of self-preservation mixed with self-realization. I am trying to accept that this is who I am now. Things change, people change. I just never expected me to change in this way. I never expected things to turn out the way they did. But.. they did. And now I'm just going in circles always finding myself in this same place. So forgive me for being slightly selfish and in my own head. I hope to be out of this soon. And I hope to feel comfortable in my own skin again one day. Because right now, my skin just doesn't seem to fit right.. and I'm beginning to wonder if it ever really and truly will.

April 11, 2011

Standing Still

I have come to this place several times in the last week and just stared. Stared at the blinking cursor and the blank canvas trying to figure out how to put into words my place in this journey. And finally I think I know. Life has been so crazy and so busy with the new job, training, driving 2.5 hours away for training, being away from the hubster, and just life in general. I have come to so many realization over the last week.. life literally just keeps going. Yet I am truly starting to feel left behind. I'm standing still on this path to nowhere. I don't feel sad, angry, depressed, nothing. But I'm not really numb either. I'm in a sort of limbo'd haze if you will. I haven't really been hiding or hunkering down in my ever so comfortable hole. I have just been here in one spot. It seems I have reached this very confusing part of this 'process' of 'grief.' Huh, process.. I hate that term.

I have surpassed that point of just 'coping' with life after her, life without her. I'm beyond just 'trying' to survive. Surviving has become my a necessity in my life now just as oxygen is to breathe. Surviving and coping have become an everyday part of my life. I don't feel I have to work as hard all the time now, it has become so natural. A part of nature. A part of my normal. It's complete taboo though that this constant road to survival has to become a part of my life. And yet, here I am. Surviving. And now, that I'm passed the trying to survive, and trying to cope, I'm now trying to learn to live. Live without my daughter here and her smiles to greet me in the morning. I am learning to live with the acceptance that I'll never get to see her take her first steps, drop her off at the bus stop. I'll never get to make her a brown bag lunch. I won't ever get to experience the 'i hate my mom' teen years. I remember thinking after she was born, I dreaded those days. Dreaded the days of the birds and the bees talk, the dating talks, the day I would have to let her drive by herself, or watch her graduate. And now.. well now I wish I could have those teenage daughter days. I wish I could experience those things. All the things that I was scared of, I wish with every ounce of energy, spirit, and fiber within me that I could taste just some of that.

Wondering and pondering, thinking and contemplating of what could have been, what would have been, but most importantly what SHOULD have been. I should NOT be here.. typing.. telling the story of my dead daughter. I should be snuggling up with her.. watching her take her first steps.. keeping her out of everything.. taking her to the park. But.. what I have found over much self reflection and time to wonder, ponder, think and contemplate; I am learning to accept that this--this life--this card--this hand I have been dealt.. it is what it is. And I am learning to realize that this is my life. I know I will always wonder, always wish, always yearn for her. But I am learning to accept that this is my path now. This is MY normal. I'm still not OK with it.. not sure if I ever really be. But I am learning to be OK with my path and my new normal.

I believe mostly, the shock has finally started to wear off. It hasn't gotten any easier to say my daughter died. And I'm pretty sure it never will. But I have seen myself in this place that I currently am.. the place of accepting my fate. And I have been hazed over. I feel that is the reason mostly I have shunned away from facebook so much, shyed away from this space. I love this space. It has become a wonderful escape. A 'cheap' therapy if you will. A wonderful way to network and connect with others. Mostly, it's been a source to share the story of Savanna and her keep her alive in my mind and my heart. I think I have been afraid of these things I have been feeling, or not feeling I should say. I am slowly getting further away from the 'freshness' of her death. And now I am getting into the 'living' WITH her death. I can't say I've moved on, moved forward or backward. I just feel I'm sitting in shallow water watching the waves and waiting to see which way the tide will take me.

So many changes have occurred over the last couple weeks, J and I have grown even closer. I have met wonderful people through this new job. My parents are moving in two weeks. And tomorrow, it marks 5 months I've been without her here in my arms. I was thinking about that on my 2.5 hour trip to the training facility Sunday night. Thinking back to the first day I had to bring Savanna to the sitter. I called the sitter at each break and my lunch. I was so nervous to leave her, missed her terribly all day. I remember being so excited to come home and see her. I missed her like crazy and couldn't wait to scoop her up into my arms.. that was only 8 hours. And now, now it's about to be 5 months. 5 hard, painful, scary, sad months. I could barely go 8 hours and now I have gone 5 months? I'm not sure how that has happened. Or where the time has gone. It has seemed to take forever and yet took so long. These 5 months have felt like 5 years and 5 days all at the same time.

Everyone says that time is your best friend. Maybe, and probably so. Mostly I think it's what you do in that time. It's how you chose to use that time that helps you heal and move forward. I'm learning to move forward. It's completely frightening and overwhelming.. the guilt of moving forward without her. But I know it's a necessity, it's a choice I have to make. Doesn't mean I like it, but I have to.

My heart aches for her everyday. I look at her pictures as a reminder of the pureness of her essence, the joy that creeped into my life, the happiness that fulfilled my heart. A remembrance that she was, no IS very real. She is very much still a part of my life. I'm learning to accept that the what-ifs, the shoulda coulda woulda's will always be there. But they aren't so strong. The current of the waves are slowly starting to carry me towards the sunset. To the brighter days. Acceptance is difficult. It's frightening. I have been standing still for so long it feels, I feel that I need to do something. I need to move in a direction. And I sure as hell am not moving backward.. I've worked to hard at surviving and moving forward.

So for now, I am accepting this limbo of a world I am surrounded by. I will accept that lives keep going, the world keeps spinning and the next day will always come. I am accepting that what I want and what I will always want, I just can't have in the way that I want. I am learning to accept the things I cannot change. And as I wade through the water and find the tide to carry me forward, I will close my eyes and think of my Savanna and her sweet sweet smile. And I will think of the person, the woman, the wife, the mother, the daughter, the friend, the listener, the child of Christ I have grown into... I will think of these things and be forever grateful. For her, because of her.. I am better.

Precious Savanna,
It's been too long. It feels like an eternity you've been away. To put it quite plainly, I miss you. Looking at your pictures, remembering your sweet and joyous smile. Your personality and essence. I crave for it everyday. I wish this hole in my heart would mend a little faster, but in the same moment, I want the mending to slow down. I don't want to step a foot further away from you. But I know I must, and I know I have to. I know you are singing joyously above the clouds, learning so much from the angels and God. But I refuse to say you're in a better place. I hate when people say that, that you're in a better place, because at the end of the day.. the only place you belong is in my arms. I am learning to accept that this is just the way it is. It's in the very stillness of the night I will close my eyes and think of you, and your little gibber jabber, your tiny giggles, and your beautiful blue eyes. These memories don't make me as sad anymore.. they make me smile. They make me thankful. They make me feel so completely blessed. You were my angel in disguise, and I will forever you in my heart, my mind and my soul. Sit tight little Bo, mama will be there in due time. With every beat of my heart and breath that I take, I am closer to you. Always remember that.

I love you forever, I love you for always and with all of me,

April 3, 2011

My Happy List.. a day late..

I am a day late.. but better late then never right??  Thanks to Natasha for helping us all try to find the half full glass in a very half empty journey...

It's been a wild past few weeks to say the least. I became so engrossed in Savanna's first birthday and trying to celebrate her life that I have neglected so many other aspects of my life. This blog, emails, messages and friends blogs to start with. My mind has been so one dimensional. I don't like to be that person that doesn't respond or at least say thank you. I have received so many touching messages and emails over the last few weeks, and I just hate that I haven't had the opportunity, or the focus to respond to them. As a general statement.. if you have sent us something--anything--whether a gift for Savanna's birthday, a donation for our SFS campaign, an email, letter or photos of your balloon releases.. let me first say that we have read, seen, looked at each and every one of them. Each one brought smiles to our faces and tears to our eyes.  So please know, that if I have not responded to you, it is not because I don't care or am ignoring you. It is simply that I haven't had much focus lately. But I do promise that I will get back to you in some way shape or form. It may be next week or even next month.. but I promise that I will!

And now.. on to my happy list. :)

1. My new job! I am currently away from home.. which doesn't make me that happy. The training center for my new employment is about 2 hours away from us. I will be here for a week and then back home, back here for a couple days, back home, then back again for 2 days. It's weird, I haven't been away from J since before Savanna died.. our first time apart really. It's OK so far, the bed is much spacier without elbows to the head, but it's also colder. So although these next few weeks away won't be so happy-- it is temporary. And to sacrifice a little for a lot in the future is worth it. And so makes me happy.. I am furthering my career and setting us up for more financial stability for our family. It's pretty exciting.

2. My parents and brother will finally be moving here! After much anticipation and days of missing them.. they are finally able to make the big move! They will be moving at the end of this month. I am so excited for the opportunities that have been placed in their path and so absolutely ecstatic that those opportunities bring them closer to me! This grief journey is hard.. it's more then hard.. it sucks.. having to do it apart and 1100 miles away from your family makes it tougher.

3. Our SFS campaign! The shirts have been ordered and should be here in two weeks! I am so excited to announce the final numbers! Team Savanna's Smiles (our team) received 59 t-shirt orders! Team Savanna's Angels (DHS Spiritline team of El Mirage, AZ) received 29 orders! That brings our total to 88 t-shirts!!! Do you remember what our goal was?? THIRTY!! I am so giddy with joy over this... But that's not the best part of it all.. the shirts will be shipped and worn by people in 15 different US states AND 2 different countries! And again, I was amazed as I tallied up our total donations. (this is pure profit after purchasing the shirts) we have raised a total of $1058.00!!!!! (do you remember my goal? $500!!)That will go directly to the American SIDS institute to fund research and spread awareness and information... and to think, there's still 26 days left! So needless to say, I am thrilled, blessed, honored, humbled and so completely grateful for the contributions made in Savanna's honor. Although I am not able to mother her in the way that I want--at least not in this life-- I can still be a mom to her in the best way I know how.

3. The biggest thing I am so proud and ecstatic over is her garden. I have never had a garden. Never really been able to keep plants alive actually. We had always planned to plant a tree for her. From the moment we found out we were pregnant, we had talked about it. Wherever we landed, we would plant a tree. It would grow with her as she grew. A jungle gym for her, a hideaway, a sanctuary. Of course, we didn't plan on her death.. but then she did die.. and it became something different. We wanted a tree to remember her. A constant reminder of the life that lived. We scoured the Internet trying to find the 'perfect' tree. How do you pick a perfect tree for your dead infant? There were so many unsettling things that came with that decision. Finally, after seeing Natasha's and Franchesca's garden photos, I became inspired. I too wanted a garden. Because then, I could pick all kinds of flowers. I could change it if I wanted, re-arrange it.. add to it, take away from it. It just seemed the perfect way to memorialize Savanna. So after much discussion and debate, the hubster and I decided on a place... And in one day, we went from this:

To this (3 hours later):
To this (2 hours later):
Finally, to this...

4. I was a crazy picture/video taker when it came to Savanna. I have hundreds of photos of her. J used to make fun of me, now we are both so happy we documented as much as we did. Because now, when I feel the connection wavering, or a memory fading--I can look back and be reminded of what I'm missing. But what's better then looking at her pictures? When I get pictures from others that I have never seen. It's like I get to make a new memory of her. I get to add another file to the cabinet to be locked and stowed safely away. I get to smile all over as I think back to that time. Last week, I received an email from J's cousin. She found about 40 pictures on her thumb drive of Savanna when she was still brand spankin' new (only 2 weeks old)!

Daddy's first day back to work.. clearly she did not like that!

5. Daddy's and their baby girl's... 'nough said!

6. Last but certainly not least. I have been having ins and outs, ups and downs these last few weeks. But what truly can make me smile, and bring a little happy in my heart is Savanna. Her essence, her life, her smile and spirit.. all those things that make her up.. that makes me smile. I miss her terribly and wish with every ounce of my existence I could have her back.. but to know the memories are there in my filing cabinet of my mind... it makes me happy to know I will always have the key to find her whenever I need to.
With every breath I take, with every beat of my heart, I am closer to you. Loving you from afar, loving you for always, forever in my heart you will be. -Mommy