Monday, December 31, 2012

Hope for 2013

In about 14 hours the nation will be celebrating the closing of 2012 and the beginning of 2013; a chance for many to put a year behind them and look forward to a fresh start, a new beginning with a new year.  I’ve never been big on New Year’s; I’ve never really made resolutions I wanted to stick to, I’ve never wanted a fresh start or to forget the previous year.  This year however, I have very strong feelings about ringing in a new year. 

The start of 2012 was full of excitement.  I was starting to feel less nausea, starting to get that pregnancy glow and really excited for the months to come.  We spent hours making Avery’s room just perfect.  We had doctor’s appointments, ultrasounds, the joy of hearing her heartbeat; so much of the beginning of 2012 was about her and us getting ready for her.  May approached and so did our fears about being parents.  We both wanted to be amazing for her.  As May ended, labor neared.  June 5th-the big day!  We were induced!  Avery had other plans and after laboring for 16 hours, Avery pushed her birthday to June 6th when she entered this world.  She was perfect!  Our lives were forever changed!  June 8th, we took our little girl home so full of excitement.  June 9th the three of us celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary.  We enjoyed 6 amazing days in June.  June 12th our world was rocked.  Avery left us.  The rest of 2012 is a blur.  But what I do know was the rest of the year was about her too; writing to her, finding ways to remember her, sharing her story, sharing her pictures, etc.  2012 was completely about Avery.
Now time is once again forcing me further away from the time I had with Avery.  I am full of trepidation as the year comes to an end.  I don’t want it to end.  I want to be in 2012, her year, forever.  After thinking about my anxiety over the New Year for a while, I realize that I know 2012 is always going to be her year and even when 2082 rolls around, 2012 will still be her year and no matter how far I am from the time she was here, she will always be with me. 

What I think gets me the most is that 2012 made me realize that life sometimes does not go as you had planned.  We spent so much time planning for Avery, so much time thinking about how we saw our lives turning out and yet here I am, nowhere close to living the life I had planned.  2012 was supposed to be the best year of my life.  I had a plan entering 2012 but God had a different plan.  This in itself scares me. This shakes me to my core.  No matter how much I plan, I realize those plans can be tossed out the window. 
So as 2012 comes to a close and 2013 looms on the horizon, I am scared.  I like to be in control.  I like to have a plan.  I like knowing what to expect.  2012 taught me that I am not in control.  But while I am scared, I also know that I have a God that loves me and wants good for me.  I have a God who wants me to allow Him to be in control. 

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11. 
While I don’t understand God’s plan, I do know that He is in control and His plan is in place.  I should not fear the future knowing this.  God can do more through me that I can do by myself.  2013 looks like a big question mark to me but I know God has a plan and as scary as that is for me, I am working on accepting that.  I pray that I can truly allow God to work through me in 2013 and lead me down the path he has planned.

Some things I hope are part of God’s plan for me in 2013

·         Growing in God’s word

·         Finishing Avery’s memorial playground

·         Finding a SIDS organization to be a part of

·         Focusing on my marriage

·         Getting healthy

I pray each of you who reads this allows God to use you in 2013.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas This Year

There is no big tree this year,
No presents all wrapped with care.
No communion by candlelight,
No driving to see the pretty lights at night.

We aren't spending the day with family,
But instead it's just daddy and me.
It doesn't make sense, we don't know what to do,
Christmas just isn't the same without you.

I wish you were spending Christmas here.
I wish this Christmas I was holding you near.
I wish we were spending Christmas as a family of three.
We love and miss you our sweet Avery.

Friday, December 21, 2012

FInding a glimpse of light when surrounded by darkness

To put it mildly, this past week, I have been quite a mess of emotions.  I’ve been feeling very anxious with Christmas and New Year’s approaching.  I am dreading of facing those holidays physically as family of 2 instead of 3 like I thought we would.  The looming holidays are exhausting enough.  Then the tragic events that happened a week ago in Connecticut have brought back a wave of emotions.  In some ways, I feel it has renewed my grief.  It brings me back to where I was 6 months ago, when my grief was so raw and I was still in shock.  The ache I feel in my heart for all of those families whose lives were turned upside down in an instant is deep.  Hearing daily that yet another innocent child is being laid to rest makes me relive those first days after losing Avery over and over.  My heart breaks for those families and they are in my prayers as they too approach the holidays without their angels.  It is so overwhelming how unfair life can turn out. 

Yesterday, anger was my driving emotion, as you can tell from my post.  Today, even though I am emotionally exhausted and would love to just go to sleep and wake up after the holidays, I am trying to be positive.  I am trying to remind myself that there are many people who do care about us and do remember Avery constantly.  I am trying to remind myself that while this life does not make sense and this world is unjust that there is still good to be found.
I’d like to post about a few good things that have happened recently.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I need to vent before I explode!

Warning...this post is being done via my phone and is probably mostly rambling, ranting and raving.

Today I am beyond irritated. I really hope I can make it through the next day and a half of work without losing my shit on someone. My anger is at a boiling point and I'm afraid one wrong move or saying may set me off.

I'm Italian, I already have a short fuse. When I was younger it wouldn't take much to set me off. As I've matured, and become a people pleaser, I've learned to bite my tongue. Instead of snapping, I hold it all in. A LOT.

Good for those who cross me, bad for me.

I try to pray about it and am getting better at praying and letting it go but there are just some times when I can't let it go. I've had a few of those lately and they are really bothering me.

My mom is a non-emotional person. She left to go home (5 hours away) straight from Avery's services because, and I quote "she needed time to herself". I was hurt, but I let it go-she doesn't do well with emotions I tell myself. Then she went weeks without calling. It was "less painful" for her to text me. Again, hurt, but I brushed it off. Now, she calls every 2 weeks or so. An improvement some may think, but no! When she does call she talks only of herself, my sister (and the loads of drama associated) and very, very rarely does she ask how I am doing or even mention Avery's name. She never acknowledges the 6th or 12th of the month and until I brought it up, she didn't even ask if they had ruled a cause of death. For her own granddaughter!

With Christmas right around the corner and the recent tragic events in Connecticut, one would think a mother would reach out to her daughter who is grieving her own child. But no, not my mom! It's too hard for her. Well, I've about had it! I'm sick of the lack of caring she shows me, I'm sick of biting my tongue when she does call and rambles on about herself! I'm sick of not saying anything because I don't want to upset her! I'm upset! I'm angry! Does any one care how I feel?!?

That feels a little better.

Another recent incident where I would love to really just tell someone how I REALLY feel occurred this week. We had some lovely family members take some pictures of their teenage daughter holding a beautiful wooden letter A for Avery. It was beautiful, it made me feel loved and reassured me that Avery is not forgotten (one of my biggest fears). Well, another family member who doesn't like this portion of the family, for some ludicrous reason, decided to turn the picture away from Avery's memory and make it about him (his last name starts with A). All of this was on Facebook. Thank God I saw this while at home because I lost it. I was so hurt that someone would take something that someone else did in memory of my beautiful daughter and make it about themselves. I mean how insecure of a person must you be to do this! Well, against my emotions, I did not respond. I'm not one to fuel drama or upset anyone so I let it go. The next morning, my amazing father in law defused it in a much more PC way than I would have by kindly reminding him that in our minds A will always be for Avery. I let it go. Until today when the family member in question sent me a backhanded apology. Basically stating that he didn't mean any disrespect to us and that it was a dig at the family member who took the picture. Apology NOT ACCEPTED! You were wrong sir, this was not the time or place for family drama!

If you are going to apologize, apologize. Don't make excuses. You were wrong, say you were wrong! This irks me so bad. I own up to my mistakes, I don't shift the blame.

So me, again not wanting to fuel any drama, politely said that I didn't think it was appropriate to dig at them using Avery. What I really wanted to say was...well, I won't post that, it contains a few too many expletives.

I guess what people don't understand is that I dot have the energy for this CRAP. For once in my life, I wish people would care about how I feel. Care about how I am doing. Maybe it's my fault for always letting people off the hook. Maybe I'm grieving too hard still and my emotions aren't in check am I'm overreacting, but I'm so tired of feeling like I am constantly being walked all over. I'm constantly biting my tongue. And I'm so tired of it. I'm so irritated that people only care about themselves. Here I am struggling to make it through each day and some of our own family is too self centered to even care.

I am beyond thankful that we are going out if town in a few days. I need some quiet time. We need time together away from everyone to just be.

After reading this post I realize that it sounds like all of our family is horrible. That is not the case, for the most part these people are the exception not the rule. They aren't a true representation of our whole family unit. We do have lots of supportive and caring family members who love us dearly and I truly feel care. It is still just so disappointing to me that the ones mentioned above are so clueless to anyone but themselves.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Please support this petition!

Yesterday, another BLM posted on her Facebook, that a website had posted a picture of her daughter’s grave online without her consent.  Shocked and appalled, I asked for the website name.  As I went to the website and typed in my daughter’s full name, I was disgusted to find that the website also had a photo of Avery’s gravesite posted.

A picture of MY daughter’s grave, posted without MY permission!  I couldn’t believe it.  The website claims to do this for people looking for ancestry information, etc.  I however, am not comfortable at all with this.  And, if you become a member, you can sponsor your own child’s “memorial page” so that there are not advertisements on it for a fee!  They are attempting to make money from this!!!!  How disgusting!

I personally do not want a complete stranger hosting a site with MY daughter’s information on it and I do not want a site that has not receive my permission to make money from my daughter!  I am outraged! 
Upon calling the cemetery, they were completely unaware that this was happening.  They were very kind and understanding however, the cemetery is a public place and they cannot prevent this from happening.  Dead end.  I’ve attempted to email the site but have not heard back yet.  They have no listed phone number for me to call.  I am at a loss for what to do to get this information removed and I hate not having control over something related to MY daughter. 

My friend who told me about this site created a petition against this website asking for the removal of children’s gravesites unless permission is given by the parent.  This is something I strongly support.  If this bother’s you too, I ask that you sign the petition to stop unauthorized pictures of babies and children’s graves from being posted on the internet.
Thank you!

A typical day gone wrong

Today would have been a typical day for me if we were to go back in time a year.  My afternoon consisted of dropping off holiday coupons to our employees at our different doctor’s offices.  This in itself sounds like a very harmless afternoon.  A year ago, it would have been something I enjoyed.  This year, it was hell. 

It started off by dropping the coupons to our pediatric office.  Going to this office is hard enough; Avery never made it to see her pediatrician outside of the hospital.  Luckily, I avoided any babies.  However, as I was leaving, a little girl, who was maybe 6, stopped me as I was leaving and asked, “Where’s your daughter?  Why are you leaving without her?
                Insert knife into heart.

I responded that I wasn’t a patient, that I worked here and I was just leaving the office.  I wish I was there with Avery, I wish I had left her with some of our employees for a quick moment so I could just run to the car.  Instead, I am just reminded again that I am a mother with an angel for a daughter. 

                The knife twists.
I suck it up and get in the car to drive to the next office.  As I am waiting at a red light, I hear sirens.  An ambulance comes speeding by and it’s not only any ambulance, but THE ambulance.  Ambulance number 24, the one that took Avery from our house that day, the one that we followed to the hospital while it was blaring it’s sirens and racing to the hospital. 

                Twist the knife again and dig in deeper.
I am forced to follow the ambulance the whole way to my next stop, the OB office.  The same OB office I spent 9 months in and out of while pregnant.  The same office I have been avoiding the past 6 months.  Luckily, they had no patients this afternoon so I knew I wouldn’t face a waiting room full of kids and big pregnant bellies.  What I wasn’t expecting was the smell.  As soon as I walked in, the smell overcame me.  It reminded me of waiting in that waiting room so many times, waiting in the exam rooms, getting ultrasounds, all moments when Avery was happy and safe inside of me.

                Let’s add a punch to the gut to the knife in the heart.
After almost running out of that office, I think I am done with the pain of my afternoon work errands.  I head to another office that has no memories tied to it of Avery.  I enter the office with high hopes.  As I chat with the employees, our new girl, who just started a week ago, attempts to make small talk by saying, “I heard you just had a baby, that’s awesome.”

                Where’s the closest bridge that I can jump off?
The room gets silent as I nicely explain to her that yes, I did just have a baby but unfortunately she passed away unexpectedly.  It really was the icing on the cake but I couldn’t fault the poor girl, she didn’t know.  She is a really sweet girl and was just trying to be nice.  I could tell she felt awful.  On my way out, I pulled one of the employees of the office aside and asked that they make sure she didn’t feel bad for what she said.  Which ultimately led me to have a long conversation with this employee about how I am actually doing, it was a nice talk but not one I was prepared to have. 

A year ago, stopping in to these offices, driving from site to site and making small talk with employees would have been a breeze.  It would have been a welcome change from my normal office routine. 
I have quickly come to realize nothing will ever be easy again.  There will always be places that are deeply connected to my memories of Avery, there will always be ambulances crossing my path and there will always be the innocent people who try to make normal small talk without knowing how much it pains me. 

Not only do I have to deal with empty arms for the rest of my life but I have to deal with the fact that my life will never be normal again. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I've never been more homesick than now

I am really struggling with hitting the half year mark today.  I cannot believe it’s been half a year since that awful day.  Making it worse is the fact that it is a very dreary, rainy day.  This adds more sting to the pain for two reasons.  One, I normally visit the cemetery on Avery’s special dates (her birth date and angelversary) and today looks like one of the few that I cannot go there.  I know I don’t have to go to the cemetery to be close to Avery, I know she isn’t really there but I find peace there so not being able to go today is making me very anxious and uneasy.  The other is the fact that it is such a rainy day.  It was raining the day she was born and rained every day she was here with us.  The rain reminds me of her and the days following us losing her.  The rain today makes me feel like I am back in June.  The rain reminds me of the fresh pain, my raw emotions I felt during the summer. 

Today, I am feeling very homesick for Avery, for Jesus, for Heaven.  Last week, we attended a candlelight service at the cemetery.  At the service, the worship band played Mercy Me’s Homesick.  A song I had heard many times before but a song that I do not remember hearing in the past 6 months.  The words hit me very hard last week, for the first time I really felt them, they were my thoughts, they were my feelings, and they’re my longing for my reunion with my daughter.  These lyrics describe exactly how I feel.

If you’ve never heard this song, I recommend it.

Homesick by Mercy Me

You're in a better place, I've heard a thousand times
And at least a thousand times I've rejoiced for you
But the reason why I'm broken, the reason why I cry
Is how long must I wait to be with you

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
I've never been more homesick than now

Help me Lord cause I don't understand your ways
The reason why I wonder if I'll ever know
But, even if you showed me, the hurt would be the same
Cause I'm still here so far away from home

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
I've never been more homesick than now

In Christ, there are no goodbye
And in Christ, there is no end
So I'll hold onto Jesus with all that I have
To see you again
To see you again

And I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
Won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
Won't you give me strength to make it through somehow

I've never been more homesick than now

She's Always on My Mind

For my beautiful daughter as we mark 6 months of life without her…

You’re On My Mind

I wake up and my heart starts racing,
You're on my mind.

I force myself up to face the day,
You're on my mind.

I let the shower wash away the tears that fall,
You're on my mind.

A blank expression stares back at me as I get ready,
You're on my mind.

The car is too quiet as I drive to work,
You're on my mind.

I spend the day in my office trying to focus on work,
You're on my mind.

I drive home and let the tears of the day fall,
You're on my mind.

Daddy and I try to pass the hours and entertain ourselves,
Your on my mind.

Dinner time comes and goes,
You're on my mind.

More quiet time,
You're on my mind.

The day ends and sleep calls,
You're on my mind.

I lay awake reliving every memory of you,
You're on my mind.

Eventually I drift off to dreamland,
You're on my mind.

No matter where I go, or what I do,
my thoughts always turn to you.

You're always on my mind,
And always in my heart.

Monday, December 10, 2012

My worst fear realized

What do you do when you expect answers but are given none?  Your daughter was healthy, yet she is gone.  Nothing could be found that would have caused my beautiful, perfect 6 day old daughter to suddenly leave us!? WTH?!?

How do I accept that?

My worst fear as a mom has become my reality.

Takes the lives of 2,500 babies in the US annually…that’s almost 7 a day and yet they don’t know why.

It doesn’t matter if you take the precautions they recommend, it can still happen.  I read the reports, the statistics, I took all the precautions and yet we were told…

Thursday, December 6, 2012

6 Month Birthday

June 6, 2012 was the best day of my life.  Six months ago we were full of joy and excitement.  We finally were a family of three.   Our little girl was finally here with us and we were parents.  Six months ago my future included watching my daughter grow from a cute little baby into an amazing young lady.  Six months ago I was highly anxious about becoming a mother, nervous about raising Avery and not wanting to make any mistakes. 

I cannot believe it’s been six months since Avery blessed us with her presence.  All morning, I’ve been imagining what our life would be like right now if it would have turned out the way I planned.  How would she be sleeping?  How would we be coping with work and a baby?  How many teeth would she have?  Would she be crawling? How long would her beautiful hair be by now?  Would she still have her chunky cheeks?  What would be her favorite foods? There are so many questions that I will never have answers to.

It’s so hard only having 6 days of memories of our little girl.  We’ve missed out on so much.  I am a mother yet not all at the same time.  Today we should be celebrating half a year with our princess.  I’m trying to focus on those six days we did have but it is still so hard not to dwell on what may have been.  I am blessed to have been able to carry Avery, give birth to Avery, feed Avery, cuddle Avery, to feel her warm skin next to mine, to dress her, to change her, to wrap her in my love, to see her smile, to see a little of her personality shine through, to talk to her and to tell her I love her.  Today, I am trying to focus on what I did have.  I have to remind myself that even though it will never be enough, I am blessed with what I was given as there are many mothers who won’t experience those with their precious children.
I hope Avery is celebrating her 6 month birthday in heaven with her friends and family up there.  I pray that she has met those children whose mothers have been an amazing support to me through the last 6 months.  I hope she knows how much she changed us and how much we love and miss her.  Until the day we meet again, I will always remember the amazing day in June when Avery entered our world and changed us forever.