Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Becoming Wrecked...

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My wonderful husband posted this on his blog today and I just had to steal it!  It's something that has been very heavy on my heart and a challenge on my journey of grief and healing.  I've noticed that so many people seem to put limitations on me and my family because we have joined the hidden world of child loss.  Child loss is not talked about -- it's a difficult concept to accept, no matter what your spiritual beliefs.  It's hard for people to understand the possibility of joy -- deep genuine joy, despite being slammed down, overwhelmed and totally wrecked by the loss of a child.

My God specializes in wreckage.

He has this amazing ability to take what most would consider to be untouchable, too painful, beyond the grasp of any type of human understanding and intertwine his amazing love and grace and create the most wonderful and beautiful thing.  

We stand before you as a family forever wrecked by the death of our little boy.  


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Our wreckage is starting to emit this beautiful essence that only God can create -- it's penetrating even the deepest of our hurts and is replacing every groan of our mourning with a beautiful song of joy.  Our feet that once felt heavy with the burden of watching our little boy slowly die are now free to dance -- it just doesn't get any better than that. 

This is what my amazing husband had to say...


I just saw this video tonight about how John Mark McMillan came around to write the song "How He Loves Us".  It's an amazing story.... one that I can relate to on a very personal level.  I remember while going through the midst of Gavin's stuff I would listen to this song.. and would just completely... fall.... apart.   There would be times were I could not understand why.. why this had to be our life.  Why wouldn't God just heal Gavin... heal him physically.. heal him just a enough so that we didn't have to be in the hospital every other week.  I remember the one day driving into work.. I was just talking out loud.. and I said.. "just DO something"... and I remember this song was on the CD that I had playing... and once it came one it was just as if He said to me.  "I am doing something.. Im loving you in the midst of your crisis"  Even now I fight back tears just remembering that day.  Sometimes life isnt pretty.. like John says in the video.. its messy, and sometimes gross.  But EVEN in the midst of that..that heart ache... that pain... He is hasn't left your side.  Infact He wants us to show Him just how wrecked we are...

Gavin's death has wrecked me... My life is completely changed because of it.  But.. that's not a bad thing.  If anything it only makes me need to rely on Christ even more.  To press into the Love that Christ has for me...and my family.  And in that love is unfathomable joy that He has for us.  Joy that covers all hurt.. Joy that covers every tear that has been shed.. Joy that will fill the depths of our soul.  Christ's love is all encompassing.. it doesn't miss anything.  We just need to be willing to be wrecked to allow it to cover our whole lives.  our whole being.

I don't know everyone who reads this blog.. but I just feel there is someone who needs to hear this....that needs to read these words from someone who has been wrecked.  Know that you're not alone in the midst of your storm.  That there is someone who is loving you through the pain and mess.




Thursday, June 24, 2010

{She's Bored -- Again.}

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Summer is in full force and we are meeting it head on.  This summer brings lots of busyness for my life as everyone loves summer photos, which makes for a very busy photographer!  We have been spending lots of time at the pool and Mommie and also been devoting lots of time and energy to the Littlest Heroes Project, for which I am now the state coordinator.  

With all this summer fun and excitement my little girl is still so bored.  After loosing her little brother she also lost her most favorite playmate ever.  Even though Gavin was not able to walk or crawl around and had limited speech he still loved to play just like any other little boy.  Madison and Gavin would have so much fun together.  Gavin was always Madi's guaranteed audience!  He loved his big sister and would watch every move she made.

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We have had lots of people mention how they are sure Madison is really needing time with just Mommie and Daddy to heal and make up for lost time.  Although there is some truth to this -- in many ways this couldn't be farther from the truth.  Please remember that just becasue you think somthing would work well for your family if you were if our shoes, just doesn't mean it would work for us or any other family dealing with loss.  Untill you fully walk through a very smiliar experince with the death of a child, it is nearly impossible to graspe what life after is like.  And that's ok -- but it's good to keep in mind. 


While Gavin was alive we lived a full and active life.  If it wasn't for those darn hospitalizations, Madison would have lived a life just like any other kid.  We never let her be pushed aside, there really is no lost time to be made up for.  If anything, Madison is getting so tired of just hanging with Mommie and Daddy.  We just aren't the same.   Parents can never fill the special role a sibling plays.  Madison can never do sneaky thing with Adam or I without her parents knowing!  Those kinds of things are what childhood is all about -- and it makes me sad that Madison is missing out.

I fully understand that many children live their entire lives as the only child.  But Madison was never meant to be only child.  Madison is not an only child -- even if her brother's physical presence in not here. So that leaves me to my point. 

The girl is bored out of her mind.




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Mommie just doesn't think silly bandzs are as cool as she thinks they are.  I have a hard time laughing while she jumps on and off the couch for the millionth time.   Gavin, however -- he would have rocked those silly bandzs!

So I guess we just keep going.  Trying to give her the love she needs and connections outside the home she craves.

I think we will all be ok.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

{An Amazing Daddy}

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I always knew you were a little different.  I remember preparing for our little girls birth 5 years ago and having people joke about how daddy would sleep through the night while Madi cried and how there would always be drama over who has to change the dirty diapers.  I'm so proud to say that that never happened.

You have always been an amazing to father to both Madison and Gavin but as time has gone on you keep becoming more amazing.  You helped give Gavin and amazing life here on earth -- doing things that Dads, let alone mommie, would never dare do.  You proudly infused IV medication, willingly preformed sterile dressing changed, catheriterized your little boy, and also stood by his side and said goodbye in the best way any Daddy could.

Then there is Madison.  You have been a source of stability for her.  The many night I was at the hospital you would have to walk away over to Ronald McDonald House to sleep with Madison.  You had to dry the tears as she cried out for mommie.  You give her the time and attention she needs and deserves -- you always make her feel special.

You always have been and will continue to be an amazing father to two beautiful children.




Happy Father's Day!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

{celebrating him}

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Yesterday was an amazing day.  The day was filled with such a range of emotions but they were all good and all felt so good to feel.  We started our day early at the cemetery where we spent some time as a little family celebrating our little boy's birthday.  Madison made Gavin some special cards that we stashed in her secret spot underneath the vase on his grave stone.  We lit his candle and sung to him talking about how we were all sure he was eating his own piece of cake up in heaven.

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We then headed to the hospital to give the first portion of Gavin's Birthday Give, which I'll do another post on some time this week.  We are still collecting new baby toys as well as donations up until the end of the month.  You can click here to read more on that exciting opportunity.

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Being at the hospital brought us a lot of comfort.  It's funny how we really hated being at that place, but the same place we hated also brought us so much comfort, peace and joy.  That building is filled with so many amazing memories -- the staff is a big part of our family.  The hospital was part of our life, and after Gavin's death not only did we have to deal with the loss of our child but also the loss of our normal life -- as odd as our normal was.

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We then ended the day celebrating in true Gavin style.  We laughed and talked with friends and family, watched all the kids play out in the yard, had yummy food and just sat and experienced good life.  Madison picked out a cake for Gavin and stood in her brother's place as we sung happy birthday and blew out the candle.  She yelled up to heaven, "Gavin close your eyes," and then had us all yell "surprise!"  She is an amazing five year old little girl who we want more than anything to celebrate and mourn her little brother in any way she feels necessary.

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Thank you to everyone who helped make yesterday a special day for our family.  Thanks for all the emails and messages.  The community that we have found through the life of our son is truly amazing!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

{happy birthday}

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I wasn't quiet sure how things would go leading up to Gavin's fourth birthday -- his first birthday since his death.  So far in our journey of death and grief there really hasn't been any one day that I could tell you has been the most difficult.  Truth is, everyday I wake up with out my little boy -- everyday on some level we feel a deep pain like no other.

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I'm now realizing that celebrating my little boy's birthday without him physically here to hold and kiss , leaves me with the deepest pain I have yet to feel.  There is just something about this day.  This is the celebration of not only my child's life, but it is a reminder to me as a mommie of the day I gave birth -- the day this beautiful creation, formed of my own flesh and blood entered the world.  This day is a reminder of life -- and now this day is also a harsh reminder of death.

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So here I am now, the night before my little boy was born just four years ago.  My heart feels like it has been ripped out of my chest as I am flooded with memories of past years, past birthdays -- past celebrations.  In the past years I have always written a letter to my sweet boy -- reminding him, myself and the world what an amazing child he is.  This year there will be no letter -- the grief is too deep, almost deadly.

So tonight I allow myself to feel the pain.  To sit and remember.  To get pissed off at the realization that I will never hold my little boy here on earth again.  

Tonight is a night of healing.  

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The night Gavin died, Adam and I sat at his bed side, stroking his blond hair and rearranging his ducky just right hoping to give him some comfort.  We played the song Healer, sung by Kari Jobe, over and over.  It must have played for hours.


You hold my every moment, 
you calm the raging seas, 
you walk with me through fire, 
you heal all my disease

I trust in you
I trust in you

I believe, you're my healer.
I believe, you are all I need.

I believe, you're my portion
I believe you're more than enough for me.

Jesus your all I need

As we listen to this song we knew very well that our little boy was going to die in the next few hours.  We never second guessed God as to why He didn't choose to give Gavin the physical healing we all so desperately wanted.  We saw right before our very eyes the healing our of child.  The peace that flowed through his body was incredible.  When he took his last breath is was as if God himself came down and removed every sign of illness and suffering off his little body.

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We listen to that song and not only believed God was healing our little boy but we also knew that this began the healing of our own hearts, our family as a whole.  

Tonight I sit here and despite the deep pain and anguish, there is an amazing healing taking place in our hearts.  Sometimes we just have to get dirty with pain, grief, fear, and anger to help the healing process continue on.   I'm so thankful that I serve a God who knows all about raw emotion -- and welcomes it. I'm so thankful that for every moan of grief and pain I let out, He speaks back with double the peace and comfort.



Happy Birthday, my sweet little boy.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Preparing Her For Life...

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Madison is a beautiful little girl with a passion for life. Madison is a girl with deep compassion and understanding of suffering. Madison is a smart little girl wise beyond her years. Madison loves her Jesus and eagerly awaits the day she get to hang out with not only her savior but also her little brother. Madison is a girl who daily overcomes a chaotic past, watching her little brother slowly die.

In three months Madison will go to school and I want the world to remember who she is. Kindergarten in my eyes is the beginning of personal choices my little girl will begin to make. She will begin to define on her own just who she is and I want to be the best mother possible for her, being a source of encouragement --pushing her to let the world see just how amazing she is!

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Lately my prayers have been for God to show me the right choices I need to make on a hour by hour basis in my daily parenting journey. I want nothing more to build her up and when I step back for a second and choose to listen to myself I find that I often tear her down.

This is my summer goal with Madison -- positive parenting on a new level.

Let see how this goes -- Madi are you ready?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Family...

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This past weekend we ventured out to take some Family Photos. We tired very hard to get some great shots and we got a few but I was a bit disappointed as they are not the best quality due to my tripod failure and other factors -- but hey, who cares? Ever since Gavin joined our family four years ago the importance of having family photos was taken to a new level. After all you just never know when it will be the last chance to have a photo will all the members of your family.




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Sadly, I just wasn't the best on following through with what I knew was so darn important. I never felt that I was personally was ready for a photo opportunity -- and I must admit it was for very selfish reasons. It was because of the baby weight I put on after giving birth to two beautiful children, my hair was just never right -- my tan needed a few more weeks to be at it's best.

Sad, I know.


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Now that my son is gone I just can't seem to get enough. If Madison wasn't a normal five year old and made photo taking a vacation, we just might be the most photographed family that exists!

Another confession is that is beaks my heart to see a family photos with just the three of us. Even though I fully embrace our new life and our mission to keep Gavin's legacy alive as a physical family of three -- truth is Gavin, in my heart is just as vividly alive as ever.



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On a completely different note -- if you didn't yet join Gavin's Birthday Give go check it out.  Thanks to everyone who has donated so far, we are doing great but would like to raise a little bit more so make the biggest impact possible on the children and family who are inpatient at the A. I. duPont Hospital for Children.