Monday, August 30, 2010

Our Little Vacation...

-1

Last week was a whirlwind -- actually, every last week of the month is a whirlwind.  The week was filled with so many fun and good things but it's just tough that they all fall on the last week on the month.  Despite the crazy week we decided to take a little impromptu trip to the beach!

-3-2

-4

Anyone who has followed our families story would know that every summer the beach normally becomes our sanctuary for peace -- away from duPont and really just spending time as a family away from chaos.  This year, since Gavin's death I have kinda been dreading going back.  After Gavin died I didn't really struggle with going certain places and being flooded with the memories associated with those places.  In fact the one place I thought would be the most difficult, the place where Gavin's actually took his last breath, proves to be one of the most comforting! 

-5

-10-11

Ocean City, New Jersey, however, is a little different. I'm not sure exactly what it is about that specific place -- I'm thinking it has to do with that feeling of being in a mindset that was illness free, hospital free, death free -- it was really a safe place.  On most every vacation to the beach Gavin was just discharged the day before, or we even left right from the hospital on many occasions to head down straight to the beach house.   Even though those vacations were very difficult logistically with all of Gavin's intense medical needs -- we proudly made it work.  I have so many amazing memories of my little boy on that beach, digging in the sand and pushing his chair on the boardwalk.  


For some reason it's just a sacred spot in my mind.  I wasn't ready to make new memories there just yet.  

So we found a new beach to go to!

-6

-7

We headed out to Wildwood, New Jersey, and despite it's reputation for being a little bit, uh...wilder -- it was so freakin' cool!  Madi had a blast as there were so many rides -- three piers worth!  It felt so special to be making new memories -- just the three of us, redefining what we are as a family, while holding the memories of our past life so deep and close.

-8

-9

Madi was a crazy girl on both the beach and boardwalk -- no fear!  She is at a great age where mommie and daddy can not only have fun watching her do things but she can actually so the same stuff we want to do -- and more!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Finding a Smile...

IMG_3251

There are so many times in our lives where we just have to step back and wonder what the heck is going on.  Sometimes life just seems to throw one curve ball after another -- and sometimes life just stinks.  This past week, life in the Owens' house has really been stinky -- literally.  

This past week we had some major issues with our septic system.  Unfortunately we live just a few miles outside of town -- away from those lucky people who can flush the potty and let the city take care of the rest.  We are in charge of our own crap -- and when the system fails, it really stinks.

Ok --  there are just so many funny jokes I could make, but I'll try to stick to my point.


IMG_3250

In addition to the septic system failing, this week we also got one speeding ticket and also just recently had to replace all four tires on our car and fix some other major issue just for our vehicle to pass inspection.  Ugh.  Sometimes it all just seems so unfair.

But in all reality, it's just life.  It's just stuff that needs to be fixed.  It's really all no big deal.

During our poop crisis I had left the house to go to work at the church and I just had this feeling of total peace.  It's the very same peace that Adam and I often try to recount in the death of Gavin and during the intense suffering his 3 1/2 years brought.  It was in the midst of crisis after crisis, feeling like there was no time to even take one breath between the next blow that we learned to simply smile.



IMG_3257


I written often about finding joy and sorrow -- peace in suffering.  I've heard from so many families wondering just how we do that -- the pain is so deep how can you possibly find joy?  The fear of life is suffocating -- how in the world can peace be found?

It's really so simple.  It's all a matter of a little choice.  The fear, the hurt, the anger -- it's all so normal and natural.  It's a matter of just setting it all aside, taking a deep breath and finding a smile.  You don't always need to have something to smile about -- I always believe that it I take the simple step to let go and find a little joy God will give me something to hold on to.  Choosing to believe that God directs our life path takes a whole heck of a lot of pressure off of us as incredibly flawed humans.


IMG_3258

We may be a much less wealthy than we were just one week ago, but in reality nothing has changed.  

Another crisis over.

Another deep breath taken.

Another smile found.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

{Never Lose Hope 5K}

5K Blog



Our wonder family and friends have organized this amazing day to help honor and celebrate our little boy and the amazing legacy of Hope he left behind.  On September 25th the Never Lose Hope 5K will debut and we are all super excited to get you involved!

There are so many ways you can help make this race a huge success.  This first is coming out and showing off your crazy cool running skills -- or not so cool running skills.  Your choice.  Don't feel like you need to be a racer to join us.  So many people of all levels will be joining us for the race.  But if you happen to run -- for real, there are prizes for the top finishers and we have a great company providing the timing and helping to make this a quality 5K race. We are also in great need of race sponsors.  This is a great way for people who may not be local, but are still wanting to join us.  And of course we need lots of people to just come out a help with all the little jobs that need to be done.

You can find out all the details about the race at www.neverlosehope5k.com.  You can also print registration and sponsorship forms as well as pay for your registration fee or sponsorship donation right from the site.  If you would like to help in anyway, please visit the race site and click on the volunteer button and let us know you want to help!

Thanks to everyone who is working hard to make this race happen!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

{Blending In}

IMG_3377


This past weekend the Owens' Family ventured out to the Goshenhoppen Festival.  Don't ask how you pronounce it or what in the world it means -- it's a festival.  I determined a few things this past weekend.  The first is that I'm not sure we are much of a festival type family, particularly a heritage festival.  To be very honest I can't tell the difference between the 1950's and 1900's, let alone the 1800's.  Did people even live in America in the 1800's?  Joking... kinda.

IMG_3378IMG_3384


Anyway.  The people did an amazing job at putting the festival together but I think we need to wait until Madison actually learns about this stuff in school so Daddy and I can have a refresher course and we will better understand what these people were trying to teach us.

IMG_3364


The highlights of the festival were that Madison got to walk on stilts -- in her brand new Twinkle Toes, and we ate huge slices of juicy watermelon, which I happen to love.

IMG_3358


The other thing that I happened to notice is that we blend in.  Blending in is such a foreign concept for our family.  Little Gavin would draw tons of attention -- there was no just running out of the house with no makeup on hoping that you wouldn't see anyone -- everyone would see me.   

IMG_3351


Right after Gavin died I longed to be seen.  I would walk into a store and want to hold a giant sign telling everyone that I have an amazing son who despite his death is just as present as ever.  As time has gone by, even though I miss my little boy terribly every single day, it feels like he is just as alive as he was when he was living on this earth.  I feel his legacy every second of the day.  Gavin along with Madison and Adam make up the very essence of my being.  I no longer feel the need to shout that my little boy is gone, but rather find myself walking proudly knowing that he is still making a difference in this world.

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Little Bit of Normal...

-3

It has been over nine months since we said goodbye to our sweet Gavin.  Since Gavin's death we have begun to relearn exactly what normal life is.  I've come to the conclusion that normal is such a vague term.  What I consider to be normal life others consider chaos and what I consider to be out of the norm, some call their comfort.  Life is funny that way.



-2-4


Well -- if there is such a thing as normal life, today would be just that.  Our little girl had her kindergarten orientation.  Adam and I are overwhelmed with love for this little girl.  Today I kinda saw her in a whole new light.  I saw her as the result of an extraordinary miracle -- a result of a life chosen and directed by God.  Do you realize what odds this amazing child has overcome?  It's difficult and fascinating at the same time to look back on what her life has been like for the past four years.  Don't get me wrong -- Madison has had a great life, but it was obviously was filled with much heartache and chaos.

-7



But I look at these photos and I find it very hard to find scars.  I see a little girl protected by God.  I see my little baby who has grown into a little lady about to change the world.  I see a life set on a rocky path but also a life fully equipped to cope and deal with the challenges!   

-8-9



I'm so excited to see what this year has in store for my little girl.  

Go get'em girlfriend!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Parenting Adventures...

IMG_3270

This little lady has been sending her mommie and daddy on a wild goose chase lately -- we are constantly trying to find our sanity in raising our unique, beautiful and spunky little girl.  She is a very normal 5 year old in so many ways.  She laughs at silly things, whines when she doesn't get her way and questions every phenomenon in this world and beyond.

In other ways she is so not normal.  She has lived a unique life.  She has been exposed to the deepest of human suffering but also has learned what true compassion and concern are.  She has learned about life, though still isn't quite sure how that baby gets in there -- she also has come face to face with death, has felt the deep pain it leaves behind and also has gained the understanding that healing comes is all different forms.

So this all leads to a very unique experience in parenting this beautiful little girl.

IMG_3272IMG_3271



Last week there was a dead cat in front of our house -- right at the end of our driveway.  I went out to get the mail and I just sighed, knowing that this was going to lead to a long in depth conversation with Madison.  I really just wanted to move it -- but there was just no way.  I mean -- the cat was inside out.  This mommie will do a lot for her babies but removing a cat carcase from the road is not one of them.

Madison saw the cat as we were leaving the house later that afternoon.  Her first response was, "Oh my gosh mommie do you see dat?  Dat is du-gusting!" 

After a short period of silence it all came out.

"Mommie, when is Jesus coming for it's body?"

"Should we burry it?"

"Mommie -- I didn't see the head, will it get a new one in heaven?"

"Yeah! Gavin will have a cat in heaven!"

"Do you think Gavin misses me?"

"Do you think he wants to touch me again?"


IMG_3268

I think our conversation ended with telling the whole story again about Gavin's death and how we put his old body in the ground and Jesus took his thinking and feeling up to heaven and gave him a brand new body that can talk, walk and eats lots of cookies and will never have to take naps.

She was very satisfied with that.  We both love talking about Gavin's life and death, which includes a beautiful healing.   The thought of her little brother running around heaven with a new pet made her very  happy!

That night daddy removed the cat from the road -- and life continued on.


Friday, August 6, 2010

Triathilon Recap...

SheROX blog

This past Sunday was the day I've been anticipating for the past 6 months, not to mention training my butt off for.  I had the very cool opportunity to compete in the Philadelphia SheROX triathlon, along with a great group of other women who took some time to help me remember my little boy!

-19-21


The race was so much fun, an experience I will never forget.  I pushed myself harder than I thought I could, felt some deep emotions that I thought were long gone, and ultimately proved the amazing healing that God has begun in my heart since the death of my little boy.  

-16


I went into this race with not much else on my mind but the finish line and my sweet Gavin.  At about mile 10 of the bike, my emotions lets loose and I had a good old cry.  It's funny how the way we feel about a completely different topic can help us identify feelings that we have with a totaly unrelated topic.  It was our second time around the bike course -- a course that included a pretty nasty hill climb.  By the second lap I was so tired and started to feel so angry that I had to face that mountain again.  Somehow my emotions went from being angry at that stupid hill to being to angry that my little boy was not here to watch me cross the finish line.


God and I had a good time having it out over the course of my 2 hour race.  

Ultimately He won. 


-17

I was once again reminded of the power of laying down my own agenda for life and embracing what God choose to place before me.  I don't always like it -- many times it just sucks and is beyond understanding.  But if I choose to look beyond my own disappointment in plan B, I start to see that this is a pretty darn amazing place to be.

Then I crossed the finish line with Madi by my side, received my metal and thanked God for the freakin' amazing 3 1/2 years he gave me with my little boy.