Friday, July 11, 2014

In honor of Will

About a week before Will's birthday and heavenly anniversary I begin to get emotional.
Its this strange thing that I can never fully explain or even understand,
but my heart and soul know that these few days are solely his...
and he becomes the center of my thoughts.
Even in the chaos that is now my home.
I just can't even begin to imagine that it has been 6 years since I last held him.

Sure, we have found a new "sense of normal" but Will's death is still in my daily thoughts and I know now that won't ever change.
With the passing of time, I don't cry like I used to.
And I gladly share his story without tears.
but for whatever reason...
Mid-July leaves me quiet in my thoughts and a bit weepy.

Last night I poured a glass of wine and did my quick scan of Facebook while cooking dinner.
Then I saw something that literally took my breath away.
I turned my attention to an organization that had been linked by a consignment shop where I sell my boys clothes.

This organization accepts women's wedding dresses,
and makes them into Angel Gowns.
What are they exactly?
Beautiful gowns given to families for the babies that never get to leave the hospital.

This is the destiny of my wedding dress.
And it couldn't have come at a better time.

My gown is currently sitting in a box in our garage,
the last of some boxes that I don't know what to do with exactly.
Too valuable in memories, it has been saved with certain dreams.
Moved across the country twice.
Stored for too many years in the dark.

Its time for that dress to have a new meaning and a new life.

The night that Will died,
the nurses did the best with what they had.
Donations to the NICU in the form of handmade gowns and blankets.
But these Angel Gowns?
They are sacred and absolutely stunning.

The outfit the bereavement nurses put Will into when they brought him to us?
I absolutely hated it.
I have never said anything.
Didn't want to make anyone feel bad.
But it was this awful scratchy white gown that looked like something I would dress my Cabbage Patch Kid in as a little girl. Cross-stiched red hearts and all.
And I was absolutely horrified that the one outfit my son wore was the same one he would die in...

Simply put: It was so ugly it distracted me from the moment.

I had expected to see him simply in a diaper and brought to us wrapped in a blanket.
I wanted to be able to hold him for the first time, at 52 hours old, and take in his features that I would never again be able to see in this life.
His arms, legs, his beautiful head without some doll bonnet on it.
I just wanted to see...Him.

After that first hour, and Will's heart had eventually beat for the last time,
the first thing we did was change him.
I had found this tiny blue outfit at Baby Gap,
but the legs and sleeves still had to be rolled up.
The one irrational thought pulsing through my head was at least he was in something soft and comfortable...
It probably seems confusing to people that have never dressed their baby for the first and last time.
That I would even care about what he was or wasn't wearing.
But what he wore, ended up being in nearly every photo that I will ever have of him.
That outfit is preserved in time and now sits in his box.
I have one small box of things in which to remember my son.
And that little blue outfit I changed him into is a huge part of that.

Now suddenly, 6 years later, I know that if Will had worn an Angel Gown it would have been the most beautiful thing. A meaningful keepsake. A most thoughtful gesture given by a stranger. So that is what I want to do. In honor of Will.

Here is where I will be shipping my wedding gown next week
In Honor of Will for his 6th birthday
July 17~July 19, 2008:

NICU Helping Hands
C/O Ideal Partners
6913 Camp Bowie BLVD Suite 181
Fort Worth, Texas 76116

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Where has the time gone?

Most days are filled with trying to meet the demands of my crazy children.
There is always some sort of complete chaos going on in our home.
If I want peace and quiet, I go to hot yoga and lose myself for 60 seems I can never get there more than 2-3 times a week when I should probably go every day.
And the days just go...

But even so, I find its May.
May. And the year? 2014.
How has it been 6 years since we have moved here and this whole thing began?
To anyone who has had a child die, I will say that we have finally established our "new sense of normal." And yes, its taken 6 long years. But I can finally say that I am happy.
That is something that I never thought I would feel again.

And even though I am happy, and loving my children and my life...
the grief is still there.
It still sneaks up, surprising at times.
Today I went to the store and the cashier announced my total: $17.19
Those aren't just numbers to me.
They are forever tattooed on my soul as Will's days: July 17: his birth and July 19: his death. Why those numbers? Why together? And why today?

Or last week when I was at hot yoga and the teacher was guiding us in our breath and talking about its meaning (as they do a lot) and she used this analogy of watching a loved one sleep or watching someone else breath...
And my mind immediately went back to those 52 hours in the NICU and watching my sweet baby's chest rise and fall. I watched him breathe and pleaded with God to heal his lungs. He was so beautiful and perfect and yet on the inside there was something broken. And as everyone found their breath in class I was suddenly struggling for mine as tears streamed down my face.

And so it remains with me.

Nearly six years later. On the outside I may look put together again...and happy. Hell, I even wear mascara again.
But something, will always inherently be broken.
And I'm okay with that.