Wednesday, April 27, 2011

An Empty Room

Dear Travis,

Your sister is sleeping and I'm sitting in your room right now. Rocking in your chair. I haven't been able to bring myself to sit in here for awhile now. It hurts. I miss you. Daddy and I put all your favorite things in your crib so you could see them. Your paci is in there, your Brobee bath toy, you sports blanket, the jammies you last wore, the elmo toy we bought you during your last surgery that we just knew you would love. You never got to play with that Elmo, baby boy. You hadn't really woken up enough when everything happened. Do you know how much time mommy and daddy put into this room for you before you were born? We painted the letters and the walls. We argued over nick nacks and what is appropriate for a little boys room. Daddy wanted to put ALL of his basketball stuff in here....mommy had to talk him out of it. I did, however, let him name the stupid horse we bought you at Walmart.....Zenyata. You did get to go see Zenyata race so, it was only fitting.

The box from the hospital is still on your dresser. Mommy can't even open it. I know your handprints are in there....the ones we took after you passed. The little hearts we made for your sister are in there. Your hospital bracelet and you donor medal are in there too. I bet not many people know that they put all those memory making things in there for you when you lose your baby. You leave the hospital with it. A box. A freaking box is all I have left of you Travis.

I've been thinking we need to get your sister into a nightly routine before she is too old and stubborn. I just can't bring myself to do it. The only rocking chair we have is in your room. The bookshelf with all the books is in your room. I think about how you and I would sit on the floor and read a few books. You'd listen as you drank your milk from your sippy cup. We always ended on Night, Night Prayer. I love how you would lean against me. Then we'd brush your teeth and snuggle together as I rocked. I always sang you "You Are My Sunshine". I imagine that I want to have a similar routine for Addie. Buggy, will you be angry? If I read her your books is that okay? I will find a different book to end with....I just can't open Night, Night Prayer....I think a couple pages are still stuck together from your milk. I have to pick another song for her is just too painful.

I don't even know what to do with your room. I can imagine we will just leave it that way it is until we welcome another baby into our family. Then, gosh.....just the thought of having to put away your things kills me. You and your things belong here baby boy. By the way....your sister weighs 17.9lbs now. She is wearing size 3 diapers....that is the size you were wearing. She is using that box of diapers I bought for you the Sunday before your surgery. It is hard to imagine that in a month or so she will weigh as much as you did. Daddy and I were talking and we just remember you bigger. I think that had a lot to do with your personality (larger than life) and our love for you! Addie, although big, doesn't do much yet and it makes our house so lonely. I miss having to clean up all your messes. Your tricycle is still sitting right where you left it and I can imagine that you miss it. I hope Heaven has one with a bell, just like yours.

Travis, I never realized just how painful the "what ifs" would be. Daddy and I constantly ask questions about our choices. We researched, we asked questions, we thought we made the best choices for you. We have to go back to the hospital soon and talk to your surgeon to get the results of your autopsy. I am praying that there is an unavoidable reason for why you were stolen from us. I can't imagine how we will live if it was some sort of error in judgement. To be frank.....I just can't imagine how will we live.....regardless.

I love you Buggy....and I miss you. I hope you know just how much your memory is alive!!!!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunday - Not quite the same.

Although Nicole and I didn't feel like celebrating Easter today, we managed to get Addison all dolled up for her first Easter. She wasn't interested in the eggs either, just like her big brother. I kept thinking about how much fun Travis would have had today looking for all the eggs. He was so interested in everything and would have been the star of the day. No holiday or birthday will ever be the same.

Easter 2010 - Travis' first easter.
Easter 2011 - Addison first Easter

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Brave Face

We really know how to put on a brave face.

Our therapist asked us Wednesday if we talk to each other about our feelings. The answer, no. We just don't have the energy. We get up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, play with Addie, get things ready and have a few minutes at the end of the day to zone out on t.v. We are exhausted. Grief is physically and emotionally exhausting. It takes a HUGE amount of effort to slap on a brave face during the day. I wonder who sees the truth?

I wonder how many people realize that we are still and will forever be in pieces. This hasn't gotten any's harder. I wonder who sees the red puffiness around my eyes in the morning from a night of crying. I wonder who can tell that I start EVERY day with tears on the drive in and they usually fall freely as I sit down at the desk in my classroom each morning. I wonder if my coworkers know how much I am hurting on the inside. How many of my students notice how often, during a math lesson, I will catch a glimpse of Travis' pictures on my bookshelf and lose my breath? Or how when I point to something I notice my "Travis" tattoo and pause. Rides in the car just about kill me. EVERY.SINGLE.SONG. reminds me of what I have lost. I cry big sloppy tears when I drive. I wonder who can see my interactions with Addie and how strained they are. She is such a wonderful baby and I can't fully embrace her because everything she does reminds me of Travis. I wonder if anyone can sense the guilt I feel about that.

I smile, I laugh, and I can do a nice job of acting "normal".....but I am broken. My spirit is broken.

I met a heart family last night that have a 6 week old son who is in the NICU waiting for his Norwood. I wanted to meet them to tell them that all this pain and the constant worry when Travis was was all worth the 16 months we had with him. I think it would have been worth it even if I had only had 5 minutes with him. When they started their journey Travis was vivacious, happy and alive. He was a success story. I don't know what happened. I just honestly can't believe we are in this place now. One of the ones that didn't make it. They called me brave. I think they are. I mean they sat there and looked their biggest fear in the eyes. They are just beginning this journey and trying to cling onto hope and they were brave enough to come meet me knowing that our story doesn't have a happy ending. I wish so badly that it did but the truth is.....HLHS is a horrible syndrome. People just don't see that even those who are doing well have parents who suffer extreme anxiety, worry constantly, wonder just how long they have, panic at the first sign of a stuffy nose, stay up worrying about SATs, and live with a constant, painful fear of being in this place where we are at. Nobody wants to be here and sometimes people don't even want to acknowledge those of us that are.

Someone posted on facebook today "Life is Perfect". Our life right now? Not even close. It was....we held it in our hands for a few months....our perfect. Now, it is gone. And we have no choice but to slap on our brave face.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

This is Gonna Damn Near Kill Me

I "celebrated" my birthday yesterday Travis. I use that term loosely. It was a hard day. I just miss you so much. Having a birthday meant remembering YOUR birthday. Having a birthday reminded me that I have to live my next year without you. A friend dropped off a little gift to me after school, it reminded me of when you and I took her cupcakes last year. It was the first time she had met you. Lots of my coworkers ran out to take a peak at you. You just sat in your car seat so smiley and alive. Yesterday, daddy bought me a little present. First, a picture of He and Addie in a frame. It hurt me so much that our new family photos won't include you. He also got me a heart keychain engraved with your name and "forever in our hearts". It pained me to read that. I don't want you in my heart, I want you in my arms. Travis, we all went out to dinner. It was also rough. Mommy is so short on patience these days. I just don't want to deal with anything. I just don't want to live this life without you. Your sister has your same smiley personality but even that doesn't pull me out of my funk. We also had a birthday party for your daddy and I on Friday. It took my mind of you for a little bit....when the guests left the sadness came back. I felt guilty for even having a party. I mean, I am not at all happy. I am not sure what I was even thinking. Your daddy and I are just trying to fill our time with "stuff". I've planned many things just to keep busy......just to keep moving. We don't understand when people call us strong or tell us we are an inspiration. We have no choice Buggy. We either live with the sadness or die. There is no in between. We have no choice.

I love you so much and I wish that just for one more time I could hold your sweet little cheek against mine and sing "you are my sunshine" as we rock to sleep.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Bringing Hope to Broken Hearts

Sisters by Heart is continuing its mission to inspire and support newly-diagnosed HLHS families.

With your help, we can reach more families and spread the word that a diagnosis of HLHS is not the end, but just the beginning of a life-changing and rewarding journey.

Our children, both survivors and angels, bring us HOPE for the future of HLHS. Please, share our message so that we may continue to reach out to those in need.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My Sweet Boy

Dear Travis,

We gave your sister a bath today in your duck tub. My heart sank when the beak quacked. You always thought that was so funny. Earlier today I was trying to remember how you moved your hands when you heard the Itsy Bitsy Spider....I was so sad that I couldn't visualize it. I don't want to forget those little things we shared. Daddy helped me remember. He misses you Travis. I can see it. His soul is aching for his boy....and mine is too. How unfair this is to have held you for such a short time. I was at Target yesterday buying Addie a book and I saw "Night, Night Prayer". Everyone must have thought I was crazy because I immediately started crying. I could picture us sitting on the floor in your room like we did every night. Some nights you were too tired to even finish and you would lean back against me as I read. On the nights you made it to the end, we held your hands together and prayed "And thank you most of all dear God for watching us with love." I hope God is watching out for you now. I pray you are sitting with Jesus. I pray that you are happy and most of all I pray that Heaven is real. I can't bare to imagine that I won't see you again one day.

Do you know you gave me the greatest gift? You made me a mom Travis. I had waited my whole life to have that title and I was so thankful. Then, to top it off, God gave me you....sweet, special you. Your smile, your eyes, everything was perfect. We were so happy. Now, there is such sadness. Addie brings small bits of sunshine but, we are not whole with out you.

Buggy, I hope you aren't mad that Addie will grow to use your toys and do the things we did with you. I hope you know that we are never trying to replace you. Our hearts ache for you and the memories sting more than you can imagine. Our hearts ache for all the memories we were robbed of. Mr. Man, your daddy and I miss you. I'm not even sure how to live this life without you.

All my love forever,

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Going Through the Motions

It has been almost two months since Travis passed away. God, I can't believe it has been that long since I have kissed my sweet little boy. It feels like every day my heart is getting heavier. It is hard to have the energy to do much of anything lately. We get up, go to work, come home, and repeat. All of the joy we had is missing. Even Addie isn't snapping me out of my funk lately. I feel so guilty to even say this but my bond with Travis was deeper. Maybe because of the situation, maybe because he was my first born, maybe because he was older and full of spunk. I don't know. He and I just had a special connection.

I feel like such a failure right now. I feel like things are just spinning around and I can't get anything done. I want to be a good mother to Addie but I feel like I can't be. I am very protective of her and concerned for her safety but I just don't want to care for her right now. Does that make any sense? A friend of mine said she imagines that it is similar to post partum depression.....wanting to be the best mom but you just can't. I hate this! I feel so guilty because she deserve so much more from me. She is the cutest thing but everything about her reminds me of Travis. And I feel guilty for feeling this way. My grief comes with SO.MUCH.GUILT! The depths of that I am not ready to get into but it is crippling.

I get online in the evenings and read blogs. Today I read a heart blog and I was so sad to see that the blogs of all my Sisters By Heart were on their blog roll except those of us who lost our HLHS babies. How sad is that? Now, the story of Travis and this blog has turned into one of those blogs that I didn't want to read when I was pregnant. You know, the ones that don't turn out the way you want them too.

I started a Facebook page for mommas who lost their heart babies. We all share things on there that we weren't comfortable sharing with heart mommas that have their babies. Recently people were posting pictures of their baby's headstones. I can't even believe I am living in this reality where I have to look at those and share what we did for Travis. Some days are just to much for me. I don't want to be on this side of HLHS. I want to be where we were. I want Travis here with me. I don't want people to admire me for my strength in losing a child. I want to be admired for being a good mother to living children. I just want to wake up one day and not have such a heavy heart.

Every song on the radio reminds me of my beautiful boy. This lyrics sticks out to me right now:
"But I know soon we'll be together
And I can't wait till then
I can't wait till then"

I just wish things were different. Wish we were on the other side of all this.....