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