Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Introducing...

Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Alexander :)

I finally got to marry the man of my dreams!

(picture courtesy of our talented friend, Aly Ragan:)

On February 8, Stephen and I got married in the church. 
It was beautiful.
It wasn't about flowers.
 It wasn't about dresses or about music... 
It was about the LOVE that I have had for this man for 3 years 
and the love that he has shown me back.   
A love that I honestly feel makes me more giddy every day. 

We were married by Fr. Mark Beard at St. Helena Church in Amite, LA.  Then, we celebrated at my (very generous) Aunt and Uncle's house in Slidell. (who I cannot thank enough for such a beautiful reception) 
Everything was perfect and exactly what we have been wishing for. Then, we honeymooned in the beautiful Imperial Valentin resort in Rivieria Maya. 
It was perfect and beautiful and we never wanted to come home!

You know that cheesy saying? 
Every love story is beautiful, but ours is my favorite. 
Well, I'm here to say that as cheesy as that might be- 
our love story is by far my favorite.

This man came into my life when my world was crumbling down around me.  He came in, stepped up to the plate, no questions asked.  He treated my son like he was his son, too.  He loved him.  He wiped my tears and he treated me with the utmost respect.  There were many times when I would think to myself, "There is no way this guy is going to follow through with this... it's just too much drama for one person."  But he stayed...  and not only stayed, but went above and beyond my expectations.
  I knew I had struck gold. 

 He shows me every day the definition of unconditional love.  He's taught me how to be a better person and a better spouse.  He has given me another reason to live.  
And I think I have my sweet boy to thank for that... 

I know I haven't written much in these past 2 years... and I apologize.  It's been one heck of a roller coaster ride.  There are things I've shared with you guys and things that I have had to keep personal.  And trust me, it's not easy because I've shared SO much with all of you already.  But I can tell you that God has not only been present in mine and Stephen's life, but He has been adamant about gaining our love and trust.  He is not finished presenting us with suffering that brings forth perseverance.  It's been a bumpy road full of surprises... but never once have we questioned if God has been present.  He has strengthened our relationship with Him and our relationship with each other.  
It's been pretty incredible to witness...
(along with being a little unfair :)
BUT... I have many many things to be thankful for.  The most important being that I have a spouse who I am certain will be by my side through whatever it is we encounter.  
If we have survived this, we can survive anything.  
(God, please do not take that the wrong way,  I'm not saying I want to be the next Job).

So my path of grief has been an uphill battle.  Especially at my age, when all my friends around me have families or are just beginning their families.  It's like a little pinch of my heart when I'm around other babies or pregnant mommies... STILL, after 2 years.  I can't believe it's been 2 years.  But I think like any other grieving parent would say... It gets a little easier to "function" with time.  But is it "functioning" or is it being "fake" so that people don't think "Gosh, it's been 2 years, how long is she going to be such a miserable person?"  I feel like sometimes it's both.

  I don't think (well, actually I know) that I'll never be the same person that I was before Tripp was born.  That person is gone.  There's a new person... and I love her and I hate her.  I love her because she is more faithful.  She has opened up every crack and crevice of her faith and discovered things that she has never known... it's helped her and her husband to be better Christians.  I love her because she is more sensitive to others feelings.  I love her because of the magnitude of love and patience she had with her son.  I hate her now because she has no patience... and because she has a hard time having fun.  I hate her because she feels guilty about every single thing she does because she's doing it without her baby.  I hate her because she has a different mindset around people- because the loss of her child is ALWAYS on her mind, even when it's not on someone else's. 

It's difficult trying to live the life of two emotions.  One being so incredibly happy, with an amazing husband who supports me and loves me and two incredible families who love the both of us... and another being so sad that I don't have my baby to hold in my arms.... my baby who would be FIVE years old this year.  FIVE.  I would have a 5 year old.   He would be going to school... playing sports... talking back... telling jokes.  It's nauseating to think about.  What would he look like?  What would he act like?  All I can picture are those big brown eyes... 


To say I miss him, is such a huge understatement.  
But to say that God has blessed Stephen and I, is also a big understatement. 
We are just trucking along, learning new things every single day and trying to stay on the narrow path.  
I can't wait to continue sharing our journey with all of you, who have stood by us, loved us, and supported us unconditionally.  
Thank you all SO much! 


Love, 
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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Another holiday comes and goes...

I woke up this morning with such a heavy heart. 
I open Facebook (like a dummy) and see all the pictures of kids in their Halloween costumes. 
 Halloween at school, field trips to the pumpkin patches, dressing up for Trick-or-Treat.  
It's a very rare occasion for me to cry.  I think my heart is a little cold and hardened.
But this morning (well most of the day) was that rare occasion.  

I didn't get dressed today.  I didn't brush my hair. 
 I didn't put makeup on.  
I woke up, sat at my desk and started looking through old pictures and videos...  And I swear the weight of a ton of bricks felt like it was sitting on my chest.  
It was hard to breathe.  It was hard to catch my breath between the wails and the sobbing.  
How in the world has it almost been 2 whole years since I've been without my baby?  
And how in the heck am I still alive?  

I realize now why I avoid doing what I did today.  
Why I try to avoid talking about it, or looking at pictures and videos.  
Because it hurts like hell.
  It's like sitting down to slit my wrist.
Not my idea of fun. 
But today, I just needed it.  I needed the reminder of what my days, hours and minutes used to consist of.  I needed to hear the sound of that little drumstick banging on his drum.  I needed to see that sweet smile. I needed the reminder that I was a good mom.  That I tried as hard as I could.  Because, honestly, sometimes I feel like a flat out failure.  I watch his videos and look at his pictures and think about how much pain he was in.  How he was ever able to muster up a smile is beyond me.  

Y'all, those videos were his happy moments.  The moments where he felt good enough to play or to smile.  And in the end, they were the moments when he had enough pain medicine in him to be able to sit up and function.  He was so strong.  So brave.  I tried to record all that I could because I knew one day, even the 40,000+ pictures (literally) that I had, weren't going to be enough. 
 And they aren't.  
But beyond the videos and pictures was real life pain.  I say "real life," but it was still nothing like I've  ever witnessed before.   Something unexplainable.  Unimaginable. 
I can honestly say that that for the 2 years and 8 months that Tripp was alive, I was living in a super-human body that was held together by the grace of God.  
Looking back on these videos and pictures now, I just can't comprehend how I didn't just sit and cry and cry and cry.  I know that I did what I had to do for my baby.  I had blinders on and I was focused on one thing and one thing only... the health, happiness and comfort of my baby boy.  

But now... as I look back on pictures and videos, I swear I feel like you might as well take a butcher knife to my heart and twist it a few hundred times.  How could one child live through so much pain? And how did I witness it knowing I couldn't stop it?  
How are there precious children and adults still living right now through this type of pain?  For years? With no relief? It makes me SO sad. 

The other day I was sitting, thinking about these same things... the pain that Tripp suffered through and the pain that other children and adults with EB suffer through.  And I thought of something (I wish I could say God spoke to me, but I've been begging Him to do that for years and I've never heard anything... maybe He speaks to me in ways I don't realize.) ... but anyway, I thought, "You know, I'm so sad about the pain that Tripp suffered and the cross that he had to bear, along with the one I'm bearing as well... but Jesus went through this same pain (was it worse, equal, less?  I don't know) but He was beaten, cruely tortured and nailed to the cross?  But do I get sad about that?  Do I cry about that?  If I love Jesus as much as I love Tripp, shouldn't it make me sad that He suffered like He did?  All because He wanted us to be able to spend eternity with Him?
Is that how much we are supposed to love Jesus?  Is that why He keeps telling us He wants a personal relationship with us?  So that we can love Him like we love our own kids?  Or the unimaginable... even MORE than our own kids??  I think so.  
It was a pretty cool epiphany moment. 

Ok, sorry, sermon over.  I'm all over the place.  Back to what I was talking about... 
I've tried to tell myself for over 4 years now, that God has control over Tripp's pain.  That God had to have been taking some of the pain away from him.  Faith is hard.  That is a hard thing to believe.  It's like you believe it because you absolutely HAVE to believe it to survive.  Because what if God didn't? What if Tripp felt every little bo-bo?  Every blister that felt like a 3rd degree burn?  Every bath when water hit his sores, and he screamed and screamed uncontrollably... who was helping him out with his pain then?  The thought of how much pain he was in has haunted me for these past 2 years.  And only for the past 2 years, because I'll say it again... when he was alive- I was in survival mode.  Doing what I absolutely had to do to get through each minute with a smile on my face.  For him. 

I have no clue what I'm trying to say, really.  
I'm just trying to let out my sadness and my pain.  
In some kind of way.  By being real... and honest. 

I spent all day yesterday with my mom cleaning out my storage unit and going through the rest of Tripp's things.  Deciding what to keep and what not to keep.  
It was heart-wrenching.  Completely just wrong.  And sad. 
Needless to say, there wasn't much that we could part with.  Unless he just absolutely never played with it, or wore it, or touched it. 
 How does one part with the most precious memories they have... really, the only things this mommy has left?  

I would give up my life this very second if I could be doing this again. 


I was the happiest I'd ever been.  
Despite the pain of watching my child suffer.  
Despite the compete and utter exhaustion from literally no sleep. 
Despite the mental torture of not being able to help my own child. 
Tripp made me the happiest girl in the world.  
I lived for him.  Literally every move I made was for him.  
I put 110% into it... and I guess that's why I feel like I'm grieving 110%. 
It's hard.  It sucks.  There's no way to describe this feeling.

certainly would not say that I don't have anything left to live for... because that is very untrue.  I have THE most amazing man in my life... who was, is and will be by my side through the good and the bad (and the really really bad).  Stephen has saved my life.  Given me reasons to smile and to love again.  He has taken care of me better than I ever thought possible.  He has picked my up from my lowest place and taught me how to trust in love again.  I'm very, very grateful for him. 
He's a man who shares my faith, shares in my pain, shares in my happiness, loves me for me... and also puts me in my place when it's needed.  He was made perfectly for me. 
And I of course have my incredible family and friends who put up with my good days, my emotional days and my terrible-I-don't-want-to-be-around-anyone days.  They love me unconditionally.  I have my sweet momma who was by my side every minute of this journey, who hurts on her own AND when I hurt.  But I was surely born into my family for a reason.  There's just no way that anyone could survive without the support that I've been given. 

But... I AM saying, that my life will never, ever be the same.
I know my fellow mommies who have lost their precious babies can relate-  
I will never have that "same" happiness again.  Yes, I will have happiness again... I have happiness and I will be given more happiness.  But not happiness like that.  Not the pure bliss I had for 2 years and 8 months.  Nothing will be able to replace that. 
My heart is aching and broken.  It may heal in places over time,  but it will never be whole again... 
until I'm reunited with my baby.  
What a glorious day that will be.  



Love,
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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Good.

Ok.  I can take a hint. 

You guys are seriously amazing.  
Your comments after I've been away from blogging for so long were unexpected and very humbling.

I never anticipated getting that type of response to a blog that I thought was so pointless. 
It was truly encouraging.
And it made me realize something important... 
What helped me through the hardest times of my life, was you- 
All of you who care and continue to care. 
So thank you... again.  

Someone mentioned my sister and her new baby.  
And then it hit me... I haven't posted about them since I told you guys she was pregnant!  I've been in a little hole for so long that I haven't even shared my new nephew with you guys.  Well, I guess he's not really new anymore... 
he is already 10 months old!  
And he surely has my heart... 


Samuel Lawton Welt was born on December 14, 2012.
He has the prettiest blue eyes you'll ever see. 
He lives exactly 7.5 hours too far away from his Nanny. 
Nanny, Grammy, and Papa try to visit as often as we can, and Samuel, Mommy and Daddy try to come visit here in Louisiana, too.  But when we aren't with each other, we try to FaceTime a couple of times a week (so he remembers us!)

Samuel's Daddy just came back from his deployment of 4.5 months overseas.
I'm sure you can imagine the joy when they were all reunited again :)


Watching my sister become a mom was bittersweet.  
Only because, I had always imagined us being moms together- taking the cousins on adventures together, dressing them up and taking pictures together, doing almost everything together
And when Samuel was born, and I didn't have my Tripp there to meet him... well, I was sad. 
I'm not going to lie and say that it was easy, because it wasn't. 
I was jealous she had her baby and I didn't have mine.  
I went through many phases-
 the really sad one and the "it's not fair" one.  
But I know now, those feelings were normal- and they were something that I had to go through to get where I am today... 
A proud sister and a proud aunt.  
Because I'll tell you one thing... my sister is one hell of a mom. 
To watch her be a mommy to Samuel is simply a joy. 
I'm in awe.
She's so patient.  So loving.  And so completely selfless
A true definition of the word mother.  

My sweet Samuel loves to read books.  
He's going to be a bookworm just like his Mommy and Daddy. 
He loves being outside. 
And most importantly (in my eyes of course),
 he loves his Nanny. 
I think a certain little angel might have had something to do with this love connection. 
:) 


  
But the comment that got me was this one: 

I think in a world of crazy, people look for that shining example of good. That's why I come back. You are so good.

Seriously?  That's probably the greatest compliment I could ever receive.
Because in the past 2 years, that is what I have strived for and it is what I am still striving for every day... 
to be a good person.
Just as I'm sure that it's something most people strive for. 


But what are my reasons for striving to be good

1.  I have to get to heaven.  No ifs, ands or buts about it.  And I'm not knocking anyone's beliefs here, (I totally respect everyone's beliefs and hope you all will also respect mine :) but I don't think that just because I believe in Jesus Christ that I will get to spend eternity with Him.  It's easy to "say" you believe.  What's not easy, is to live your life for Jesus, in prayer, living the sacraments, doing good deeds, and loving your neighbor.  That is not easy.  But I don't believe it's meant to be easy.  If it was easy, He wouldn't be warning us over and over again that this is what we need to be doing.  

2.  I spent most of my life (before becoming Tripp's mom), judging people without even knowing it.  That person talks funny, that person dresses weird, acts weird... instead of judging from the inside.
If someone looked or did something differently than I did, I thought it was okay to just casually talk about them.  Or maybe I didn't think it was okay- I knew better- but that didn't stop me. 
But when God gave me a child that was different, it was like He slapped me in the face, trying to open my eyes.  And though it's still very hard (it's human nature) I'm trying not to be so judgmental.  
We have no idea what's going on in someone's life.  Or why we think someone looks funny or acts funny.  Every single person is fighting their own battle, whether it's internal or external- whether we can see it or can't see it.  I try to remember that.  Because God knows I'm still fighting a battle of my own.  It's not nice to hurt other people- we are all in this together.  We are supposed to be helping each other.  No matter what or who you think the other person is.  

3.  The world needs it.  I struggle with this.  I struggle with the examples kids are getting these days (I know, I'm only 28... I'm still a kid myself... yada yada... but I feel like my mind is a lot older, ok?).  The things on TV that anyone has access to watch, are appalling.  The movies in the theater that kids are watching, are disturbing.  I will never forget being 12 years old and my parents not letting me go to my best friend's birthday party because they were going to be watching a PG-13 movie.  I thought they were the worst parents ever.  But now I get it.  There has to be rules.  There has to be boundaries.  And most of all, there has to be an EXAMPLE.  Kids these days don't have good examples.  Just watching a football game or a baseball game, when the camera is put on the players (these "supposed to be" role models for kids) and they show them mouthing the F bomb...  Seriously, you make a bajillion dollars a year- show some respect.  And I won't even get into Miley Cyrus... you get the point.  Kids are searching for good examples.  How do we expect the next generation to be good if we don't show them what good is???  If you think it's okay, your child will.  If you settle for it, your child will.  If you curse every other word, your child will.  If you gossip and talk about people, your child will.  If you skip church, your child will.  They watch you.  They look up to you.  You are all they have.  Be a good example. I want to be a good example.  Even if it's to just one person.  It has to start somewhere.  

Being good is a choice.  
You aren't born good.  
You don't just become good.  
It's how we handle our life experiences and how we use what God gives us.  And we are all human... so we can never be good enough- there will always be room for improvement (no matter how good we think we already are).   But you know what the best part is?  God is always on our side and He always wants us to try.  
We all mess up, and we will continue to mess up. 
 But God always forgives us and lets us try again.  
As long as we continue to try... 


Love,
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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

:)

I often sit down and write a paragraph or two... 
thinking that it's time to start blogging again.  
And then I erase them, get up, and continue on with my day.  

What is there to write about anymore?  
I realize no one is interested in my boring day-to-day life.  You guys read and grew to love this blog looking at pictures, watching videos, and learning about the life of my Tripp. 

I guess there are plenty things I could say.  Honestly, there has been so much that has happened since I stopped blogging that there's no way I could squeeze everything into one post (at least not one that anyone would read)... maybe that's another day. 

I could surely preach on about what terrible shape our world is in and beg everyone to pray and go to church so we can turn it around before it's too late- but you might call me a holy roller and quit reading. 

I could write about being sad and missing my baby and how hard it is to go on about my day-to-day life watching everyone else with their kids.  
But seriously, who wants to hear about that? 

Maybe I'll talk about the weather and how beautiful it's been around here? 
Bored yet? 

But I have been receiving emails and letters from a lot of you... and that's what makes my heart smile.  
And what also makes me want to start writing again. 

But it's pretty difficult when you write on a particular subject for so long... and then you have to change your tune. 

What do people like to hear about? 
What makes people read blogs? 

Did you gravitate towards a love story 
between a mother and son? 

Did you crave the inspiration from a small 
angel who was fighting his battle? 

Did you fall in love with the drumming skills 
of a little boy who couldn't see? 

Or was it trying to understand faith 
with such a difficult cross to bear? 

I do wonder that... 
I wonder what made our support system grow SO big in such a short time? 
What made a community step up so beautifully and get involved?  
What made hundreds of thousands of strangers all over the world send us kind words and encouragement?

Maybe I'll never truly know.  
But I'm starting to realize a little more every day that God had a reason for all of this.  
I'm, of course, not yet sure of what it is... 
and I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do about it...
but I'm hopeful that I will find out soon. 

But I do know, that as I look out of my window right now, 
I see a precious little orange butterfly...
and when I turn my head the other way, I see this... 


God is always talking to me... 
I just have to learn to stop and listen. 


Love,
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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

My baby turns 4 in Heaven

Once again, I am blown away and humbled by all of the support for my baby boy.
It means SO much to me.
I'm sorry I've been away for so long.  
I honestly don't even know if I can still write.  
I've sat down so many times in these past few months, but I just couldn't find any words to write.  
At least not any positive ones.  It just feels so wrong not to write about Tripp... and how his day was and the new things he learned or how he is doing.  I would give anything to be writing about those things again... and to be sharing new videos of his little spoiled rotten personality.

This Mother's Day was harder than last year.  To be honest, I feel like I was in such a dense fog last year that I don't even remember it.  Sometimes I impress myself at how strong I am.  But it's dangerous.  It's unhealthy for me to be so strong.  Because now, it's been a year and a half... and I'm flat-out exhausted from being strong.  It's tiring to act like you're okay when you're dying inside.  It's exhausting to smile on the outside when you are crying and screaming and kicking like a baby on the inside.  And the worst thing that I've done is pretend with the people closest to me, that I'm strong and I'm okay.  Because the people closest to me are the people that I should be the most honest with. 

My baby would be 4 years old today.  
I don't even know how to grasp that.
Today, 4 years ago, was the day that made me the happiest woman alive.  That's no lie.  I had waited my entire life for the day I would have a child.  And now, it's so wrong that this day makes me so sad.  I know there's no better place for my baby to be, than with Jesus in heaven... but I want him here, with me.  In my arms, blowing out candles, and opening presents.  
Moms, can you imagine only getting 2 birthdays with your baby and then never being able to see them again? 
 I'm heartbroken.  I'm nauseous.  I'm sad.  I'm empty.  
I'm all of those things and more.

This video was his second birthday.  
In the back of my mind, I thought there would be a chance that I wouldn't get to spend his 3rd birthday with him.
But I didn't want to believe it.  So I refused to believe it.  
We lived for the day... actually, we lived for the minute. 

   
I'm haunted by the fact that my baby suffered so much.  It haunts me every day and it's so hard to cope with.  I know in my heart that I did everything I could... but did he know that?  Did he think I was a good Mommy or did he look at me as someone who would inflict pain by bathing him and bandaging him and suctioning him?  I just think how wrong and unfair it was that I lost my child and had to hold him as he took his last breaths... but also that our time together was interrupted by so much pain and suffering.  This is what I'm struggling to get past now that the shock has worn off and reality is pounding at my door.  As a mom, I did what I had to do to make my child happy and comfortable.  But as a mom, it also weighs SO heavily on me that Tripp had to endure all of the pain that he did.  And the fact that I could do nothing... just wears and tears at my poor (already broken) Mommy heart.

I sometimes try and picture what our life would be like if he were still here with us.  Stephen and I trying to decide what to get him for his birthday... and trying to decide where to have his party and what theme it would be.  But then I remember that he would be 4 years old.  We wouldn't have to decide those things... he'd be able to tell us exactly what he wanted and where he wanted to go.
God, how I long for that.  

It's hard to comprehend that I should have a 4 year old.... here, with me... every day.
That we should be starting pre-school and t-ball practices.  I should be washing little dirty boy-clothes.  I should be hearing the pitter-patter of little feet during the day instead of a dead silence.  I should be teaching him how to ride a bike.  I should be listening to my baby tell silly jokes that don't make sense, I should be waking up in the middle of the night because he's afraid of monsters,  I should be having to wake up at the crack of dawn to fix my baby breakfast instead of opening my eyes every morning, holding back the tears, realizing that it's true... it's not just a bad dream, that my baby really is gone. 
And EB took all of those things away from him, and away from us.
And the reality is... that maybe one day I will get to do some of these things with another child, but I will never get to do them with Tripp.  And as much as people try to tell me that it's okay- that I'll get to be a mom again one day- it's not okay for me.  Maybe one day it won't be the first thing I think about when I wake up, or the last thing I think about when I go to sleep... but it will never stop hurting.  It might hurt less... but that aching, empty feeling of missing my baby... will never go away completely.  
You cannot replace the loss of a child with ANYTHING... ever.  No matter what anyone says.  
Another baby will never replace Tripp.  Ever.  

And even though Stephen was already the most amazing "non-official" step-dad to my baby boy that I could have ever asked for, knowing that Tripp will never get to officially know Stephen as his step-dad, breaks my heart.  How is it fair that I finally meet the perfect man and someone who will one day be an extraordinary dad, and I don't get to share him with my very own child?

You know, I've been thinking hard about what I could say to help people understand.  
How could I possibly put into words what a bereaved mother goes through, just to simply try and help others even just for a minute... try to comprehend the pain.   
I don't think I can... but that doesn't mean I won't try.  

I've suffered a lot in the past few months with seeing other kids and other moms with their kids.  
And I really, really hope that no one gets offended by this, because I'm truly not trying to offend anyone, I'm just simply trying to explain how I feel.
Someone who has never had a baby of their own or who has healthy babies, or has never experienced the loss of a child... will never fully appreciate what a blessing it is to have a child.  I'm sorry, they just won't.  No matter how much they try, no matter how much they say they do... It's just human nature.
Of course they love their children and appreciate them when bad things happen to other people, but you can't fully appreciate someone until they are gone.  
For an example, I will never fully appreciate what it means to be a healthy human being- because I've never been seriously ill, or disabled, or paralyzed, or had a disease or been in a bad accident, etc. 
Or I will never fully appreciate what it means to have my eyesight... because I've never known what it's like not to be able to see. 
 However,  I believe that I fully appreciate what it would be like to have a perfectly healthy child, because not only have I experienced having a child who suffered a cruel and debilitating disease... I've also experienced the loss of my child. 
It's just a fact.  
You don't appreciate something or someone until they are gone.
And I'm not going to lie, it hurts to be around other moms and their children.  
Especially ones who aren't sensitive to your feelings.  Who (figuratively) dangle their children in your face ...or feel the need to talk about their children constantly in our conversations.
  It's just not appropriate.  I'm sorry.
And no matter how much someone thinks I should be over it... like I already said... 
I will never be over it.  
And I'm sorry if it makes you uncomfortable, but I'm uncomfortable every day.  

Sometimes I just wish that people would be a little bit more aware of their surroundings and the people that they are associating with.  If you are hanging around someone who recently lost a child, you wouldn't gripe or complain about having to do something for your child or talk about how bad they are.  You wouldn't talk about how much you miss your child who's been away for the weekend (when the person who lost their child has missed them every day since they have been gone and will miss them for the rest of their life).   That's like being around someone who is blind and asking them to look at something you see.  It's inappropriate.  That's common sense... or at least to the mother who lost her child or the person who is visually impaired, it seems like common sense.  I know It's hard for people to understand, because the fact that I have lost my son and that I'm sad all the time, is not something that is constantly on other people's minds (like it is on mine).  And like I've said, I know that before I lost Tripp, I was also oblivious to other people's feelings.  But now that the unimaginable has happened to me... it's hard sometimes to think how people can be so oblivious, especially people who have children and KNOW what that type of love it is. 
 Imagining having that love and then losing it.
That's a hard thing to imagine.  And trust me, it's a hard life to live.

My goal lately has been to try to be more open about my feelings.  To try and let other people know when I'm upset or when something they say is inappropriate to say to someone who has lost their child... to be HONEST... but I'm failing miserably.  It's hard.  It seemed so easy to tell other people how I felt when Tripp was still alive.  It was so easy because all I cared about was what was best for him... and if someone didn't like that, well then too bad for them.  But it's not as easy when you're trying to take care of yourself and what's best for you.  At least not for me, it's not.  

So as I celebrate my son today (with an aching pain in my heart and in my arms),  I ask you to celebrate him, too.  By hugging your children extra tight, or telling someone you love them, or just being extra nice to someone today.
Stephen and I, along with my parents and his parents... will plant a 4 year old cypress tree in the back yard today, in honor of my baby's 4th birthday.  And I will watch it grow.
And then we will watch his videos... and laugh and cry.
And I will wish -so desperately- that I was able to watch my baby grow.

I'm so sad that I will never have new videos or pictures.
Even though I took thousands, it will still never be enough.
Oh, how my heart aches to hold him again.

Happy 4th Birthday, my Bubba.
Mommy can't wait until I see you again.



Love,
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Monday, January 14, 2013

One Year...

Today cannot be real.  
I wish it were a bad dream.  
Today was the day that I never actually thought would get here.  It's a day that that has haunted me since the day he left my arms.  
I told myself (and countless others who asked) that I was going to give myself a year after Tripp passed away to organize my thoughts, and then decide what I was going to do with my life.  
A year seemed like an eternity... that's why I said that.  
And now today makes one year... and if it's possible, I think my heart may be more broken today than on the day he actually went to be with Jesus.  The shock has faded and reality is BANGING at my door.  That's what I get for always trying to be in control... for giving myself a timeline to heal the loss of my child.  A timeline is not possible.  

It's been a whole year since I've held him in my arms.  
A whole year since I've kissed his lips.
A whole year since I leaned close and told him I loved him.
It's been a whole year and I still don't understand why he's gone.  I still can't comprehend why other people get to keep their babies and I didn't get to keep mine.  
He was my world.  My heart.  My everything.  
And now he's been gone a whole year.  
Where did it go?   

I can't kiss those big beautiful, plump lips...  






I can't look into those big gorgeous brown eyes... 







I can't hold that sweet hand, or rub and kiss my favorite little feet...




And what breaks my heart the most of all, 
is that I can't see that beaming, glowing, amazing SMILE
that he gave me for 2 years and 8 months.  



 

                                       
























I can't hold him in my arms, or rock him in our favorite chair... 






I can't play drums with him anymore, or sing Elmo, or dance... 









I can't comfort him anymore like a mommy is supposed to do. 
Instead, I have to trust that my baby is with Jesus in Heaven, and that he will never need comforting again.  And it's not fair.   



My heart is broken into about 4 million pieces.  
And I know that I will never ever be able to get that one piece of it back.  The piece that made me the happiest girl in the world.  The piece that finally made me complete. 
 My baby boy... who is now my little angel. 

Dear parents (whom I know or do not know) who have ever lost a child:
I am so so SO sorry that before January 14, 2012, I have had NO clue and was totally oblivious to your pain.  Because there is no pain like it.  There is no way to describe it.  There is no way to make anyone ever be able to understand it, whether they have kids of their own or not... or whether they are a part of your own family or not.  No one will never understand... unless they have lost a child themselves.  And I'm so sorry for that.  And you have beaten yourself up mentally trying to get them to understand.  You can't understand why their lives can go on.  How they can be so happy and so care-free when your life has ended and your heart has been ripped out of your chest.  It isn't fair. And it isn't their fault.  I try to picture myself before having Tripp.  I think of how I might have acted around someone who had lost their child.  Would I have said, "Oh hi, how are you?"  And did they roll their eyes at me and think to themselves, "How in the *bleep do you THINK I am??"  Or would I have had a conversation with them and totally ignored the fact that they had lost their child?  Or never mentioned that I was sorry?  Did I actually do these things with women I knew who had lost children?  I don't know.  Because I couldn't possibly have understood before now.  I couldn't have understood what it would have been like to give birth to a human being, fall desperately in love with him or her, live my life for him or her, and then have them taken from me without explanation.  Everything you love in life- things, people, possessions.... will NEVER compare to the amount of love a mother has for her child.  Never.  EVER.  I don't care what anyone says.  So, I truly do want to say that I'm sorry.  I am sorry that you feel alone.  I am sorry that you have to think about the death of your child all the time when most people don't remember.  I'm sorry that you have to have Christmases and holidays and birthdays without your child.  Because now I know what that feels like.  And I would rather someone beat me unconscious every single day of my life than to have to feel like this. 
Please know that I feel your pain... and that you are not alone.

The pain I feel isn't about "understanding why this happened" or "being mad at God."  The pain is simply just MISSING HIM.  It's a physical, gut-wrenching, nauseating pain knowing that you can't hold your baby.  Or hug him.  Or kiss him.  So people that say it will be okay and that I "will be with him again one day," don't understand that I know I will be with him again one day... but that it's NOT okay.  Nor will it ever be okay not to be able to be with my baby.  It's not supposed to happen that way.  I'm supposed to go first.  Will I cope and live normally?  Yes.  But it will never be okay that my son is not here for me to hug.  That pain of missing him will never go away. 
I hope and pray it gets easier... and that I can see and play with other kids without having that gut-wrenching, guilty feeling the whole time.  
That is my constant, daily prayer to God... Peace in my heart.  
Peace to comfort my broken heart. 

My parents have been a greater support to me than I could have imagined.  And I guess now that I know the feeling of loving your child, I understand more how much they must love me.  My heart hurts daily for my parents.  Tripp was their first grandchild.  And also had to suffer this past year, watching their friends and siblings with their grandkids when they didn't have theirs.  I know how much they wanted grandkids and how excited they were when they found out I was pregnant.  And I know that it's a different pain than losing your child, but I can imagine that they hurt for me, as well as hurt because they miss Tripp, too.  And my sister, who just had a sweet baby boy of her own and lives states away, always manages to stay in daily contact.  She will always be my best friend, and always always there when I need her.  
I am just so grateful for the never-ending, unconditional love and support of my family 
(especially on the days that I'm a complete witch).
I could have never ever survived those 2 years and 8 months without my mother. 
 That's a fact. 
I'll never be able to re-pay her for all she's done and continues to do for me. 
Best Mom Ever.

I am also overwhelmed with the blessing God snuck into my life 2 years ago. 
I knew from the moment Stephen came into mine and Tripp's life, that he was a great guy.  But with me being so hurt and mistreated in the past, it took me a little while to be able to appreciate the man that he really is.  And when I finally did, Oh, can I tell you how good that felt?  I finally have a real man.  I finally know what it is like to be loved unconditionally.  I feel what it is like to actually be comforted when I am sad.  I know what it feels like to have someone believe in me, and want to be a TEAM- by working together every day to make our relationship better than it already is... not just using the excuse that it's hard.  We have learned so much from each other.  I believe God saved Stephen for me.  I truly believe that.  And I thank Him every night when I lay my head down on my pillow.  This month also makes 2 years since Stephen and I started dating.   Starting two years ago, almost every single day, he would come home from work, come over, and sit on the couch behind the rocking chair... for hours.  And just hang with us.  Never getting "bored" or never letting on that he wanted to be anywhere else.  Always being perfectly fine with the fact that I couldn't leave the house or that we never got to be alone.  He was so patient.  He took to Tripp so wonderfully.  He jumped right in, with both feet.  I remember how nervous I was the first time Stephen came over to meet Tripp.  I wasn't sure how he would act or what he would think.  But he sat on the floor in front of his toys, and started playing with him like they had been best buds for years.  The little drops of blood from Tripp's fingers when he would accidentally play too rough, never once bothered Stephen.  And it made my heart melt.  And since then, he has been the glue that has held me together.  He would help mom and I with Tripp's baths... and just stand by our side for hours while I bathed him... handing me supplies as I needed them.  He's shared my tears, my smiles, my meltdowns... and most importantly, he shared in my son's life.  So he actually got to know and love a piece of my heart outside of my body... for an entire year of his life... which has been SO important in our relationship and being able to understand what we went through.  He has held my hand through it all.  He treats me better than I even deserve sometimes.  
And I get to become his wife... I am a lucky, lucky girl. 

God has also shown me how active He's been in my life by the friends He's sent me.  I haven't figured out if they are angels yet, but I'm pretty sure one of them curses way too much to be an angel... just kidding, Amy!  (those of you who know Amy, understand that :).  I met Amy through Ch.6 news when they asked me to do a story.  Since then, she has texted me every single day (never ever missing a day) to check in on me.  She has been an amazing friend.  If I don't text her first, because I'm having a crap day... you can always bet she is going to text, even if just to say "how was today, my friend?" A simple "how are you" and acknowledgment that I'm hurting means so much these days.  And I can always count on it from her.  Well through my friendship with Amy, I met Jenn Lormand, who I told you owns Ascension Fitness in Metairie.  I have been working out with Jenn on and off for about 6-8 months now.  Jenn is amazing.  She has been an amazing friend and such a huge part of my healing  process this past year.  Well Jenn... being the one who is always wanting to do something to help me... just recently introduced me to another woman who works out at her gym, named Erin.  Erin lost her precious son to an accident when he was 14 months old.  It has been 7 years, and she has since then had 4 more children.  She is amazing.  She is exactly what I hope to be in 7 years.  This friendship that I am just starting with her, is only one that can be sent by God.  She's exactly what my broken heart needs.  Someone who I can relate to.  Someone who can say, "I know how you feel" and actually REALLY know how I feel.  I can tell her anything.  I can tell her that I lay my head on the pillow sometimes at night and pray that my heart stops beating because it hurts too much.  And she understands the pain.  She checks in on me regularly, and offers to get a sitter for her children so that we can have lunch.   Or she will just text to check in and see how I'm doing.  I am more grateful than words to have her to talk to, to cry to, or to laugh with (without feeling guilty about it).  So it just shows, how God put Amy in my life when Tripp was a little over a year old, to be the friend I needed, and then Amy lead to Jenn in my life at the time I needed to pull it together, and then Jenn led to Erin into my life at the perfect time, when God knew that I was at the end of my rope and couldn't handle it on my own anymore.  He knew I needed someone who had been in my shoes.  And that before now, I was too hardheaded to ask for help. 
I don't think this "chain of friendship" was a coincidence. 

God knows.  He listens.  He is present.  And He is GOOD.  He had my life planned out from the beginning.  He knew everything that would happen.  And He knows everything that is going to happen.  I just have to remember to trust Him.  So my goal this year, is to TRUST HIM.  Through the pain, through the heartache, through the torture of every birthday and holiday... through the days when I feel like giving up, I want to remember to trust Him.  It will by no means be easy.  But I believe the only way that I'm going to find some peace... is by building a better relationship with God.  And that relationship begins with trust

And I am, AS ALWAYS, overwhelmed by the continued support of all of YOU.
All of you wonderful people who have followed our story, 
who have prayed with me and for me, 
and who are still supporting me a whole year later... 
I love you.  
And I am so thankful for you. 
I'll never be able to say that enough. 
Thank you for the mail, the letters, the gifts, and the kind words.
But for most of all, continuing to remember my sweet boy. 
And continuing to raise awareness about EB so that one day no one will have to suffer from it.  
Thank you...
from the bottom of my broken heart. 

    


 Love,
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