Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I should be there

I'm not going to lie and say it isn't hard to see other moms with their babies. I'm not going to pretend that it's not difficult to see children who are relatively the same age as Shane would be. Yes, life is getting better, but it doesn't mean that I don't have my days.

It's tough to be in this situation. To have to play this waiting game of when it will actually be our turn, I mean, we should be there right now. We should be parents to a rambunctious little boy named Shane; we should be making plans for his first birthday coming up in a month or so, but instead those plans are on hold until our next one. It's so hard, because we should be there! I went though the 38 weeks of pregnancy, the 10 hours of labor...I should be a mom! And I know in my heart I am a mom, I just don't feel like one.

Perhaps these feelings are coming from the fact that Shane's 1st birthday is nearly a month away, that this time last year I was pregnant about to celebrate our 1 year wedding anniversary, so looking forward to being able to celebrate year 2 as a family. My friend Angie said the month out of Aiden's first birthday, she hit a wall, perhaps I have found that same obstacle that I need to overcome...

I know my life is happy or is at least getting there, but not a day goes by that I don't feel sad for what happened. Sometimes I get the feeling that some people think "Why isn't she over this already? He was just a baby" and to be honest, some people will just never get it. Yes, he WAS a baby and maybe he didn't live 5, 10, 20+ years of life, but he was MY baby who had 33 hours of life, but it was a still a life and he had my heart.

I wrote an entry about my Friends who allow me to feel the way I feel and how appreciative I am for them being there for us and never making me feel like this is something that I should "just get over". This experience has opened my world to a whole new set of people as well. People from all over the world, of all different ages and ethnicities. I've met some pretty remarkable women out there, who have had to deal with the same situation of losing a child. Where I've met them are through blogs and through baby loss organizations. If you have never had to go through something like this, or never really been affected by something like this, you may not know that there is a world of people who have had tragedy hit them too. No person is ever deserving of losing a baby, and I would not wish this upon anyone. But through it all it's been inspiring to me to read how other women have felt and how they have dealt and it's a support system for this shitty situation. Writing these blogs are a way for us to support each other and ourselves, so that we don't feel so alone. Some postings might be too hard for people to read, but perhaps to someone who truly needs the truth of the reality, it will help them to know they are not alone.

I started this blog to document things in my life, and right now this is my life. I write because it is my way of getting through this. I write because people ask how I am doing and sometimes this is the only way I can answer. I don't expect the world to read it, but if people want to, they are free to read about what goes on in my mind. I don't do this for sympathy, or for praise; I write because I want to, plain and simple! I don't intend to only write about the fact that I lost a son, but right now, this is what I am going through. Shane will always be mentioned in my posts because he is part of my life regardless of whether he is here physically or not.
I wish I could write about our trip to the park and how Shane slide down the slide today, but it's not my reality right now. The reality of today is that I am sad, because I just feel like I should be there already..

Thursday, July 14, 2011

To My Friends:

My husband loves the show Friends and while, I can't truly say that it is or was ever my favorite show, I will sit and watch it with him, as long as the Bachelorette is not on at the same time. But this post is not about the show Friends, or about the fact that my husband could probably beat anyone in the Friends Scene It game :), this post is dedicated to all of my friends, and I bet if we had a show dedicated to all of our friendships, it would be so much more entertaining than that show ever was. (haha)

I have always felt that I had some wonderful friends. Some of them I've known since the age of 2, some of them I have grown up with, and some of them I've met in my adult life. But time doesn't define a friendship, nor does a "family" title. A true friendship is defined by the bond that is shared and I am so fortunate to have some of the best friendships anyone could ever wish for.

Since Shane's passing, I've come to realize how truly blessed I really am. Yes, we've had a very tragic thing happen in our lives, but tragedy does not have to define me. I've been to some very dark and sad places since Shane passed away, and there were day's where I thought I might never see the light again, that I would be trapped in this darkness forever. But when I felt that all hope was lost, I would see the flicker of light being carried by a friends coming to find me.

My friends have walked beside me in my journey of grief. They have allowed me to feel the way I wanted to feel. No one ever pressured me to feel a certain way, they just allowed me to undergo the emotions I experienced. They listened when all I did was cry. They allowed me to be angry and upset, they called to be there for me, and they were accepting of whatever I felt on that given day.

I particularly remember a conversation that has resonated with me over the many months that have passed. It took place about a month or so after Shane passed, when one of my friends called. He would call me at least once a week on his way home, he would always tell me he just wanted to say hi and he just wanted to chat and see how I was. Since Shane passed, I had always tried to be strong when I interacted with people; I didn't want anyone to feel uncomfortable around me, so I tried my very best to be strong. This friend and his wife had just had a son, a month or so after Shane was born and every time he called I always asked about the little guy. But I remember this one conversation in particular. After we had chatted some about his baby and we talked about the plans for Shane's Foundation a little, he stopped me and he said: "You always seem so strong, but I want you to know that if you don't feel like being strong and you just want to be sad, you can call me, and I will be sad with you. We don't always have to talk about my son if you don't want to, I won't be offended and if you just feel like crying, I will cry with you." I don't think I ever told him, but hearing him say those words allowed me realize that my friends didn't want me to just "get over it". He helped me realize that those who truly loved us, weren't going to pretend like it didn't happen in order to help us heal. They wanted to be there for us, to hold our hands while they helped us navigate through this difficult time together. It is because of my friends that I write this post.

I have no idea who will read this but my hope is that it will reach each one of my friends who has made an impact in my life.

To My Friends;
Thank you fore being the best friends I could ever ask for. For giving Mike, me and especially Shane so much love and support. The fact that you sat with me, you let me cry, you let me laugh, you let me do nothing, is appreciated more than you will ever know. Thank you for being there for me at 2 am. when I called to give you the news. Thank you for driving out to my home to just hang out with me, go shopping with me, or to sit with me, during those very difficult first days. Thank you for coming to Shane's memorial, to remember the life of this special little boy and for just giving me a hug on one of my saddest days. Thank you for reaching out to me, even if we haven't spoken in years, or have never even met, for sending your thoughts and prayers; for walking with us on Thanksgiving, for supporting Shane's Foundation, and for showing us your love. Thank you for wearing those blue wristbands, on the softball field, in your weddings, and in your everyday lives. Thank you for calling, writing letters, sending messages and for your prayers. Thank you for allowing me to talk, to express my emotions, and most of all for your understanding. I know without all of you, I would be lost in a tunnel of darkness. Without your light I might never have been able to feel happiness again. Thank you for reassuring me that Shane will never be forgotten, for talking about him, remembering him, and for loving him. Thank you for being you and for being my friend. I wish I could find another phrase for Thank You, a more powerful one, to truly articulate my sincere appreciation, but I hope you know how much I love each one of you.

I opened this post by talking about Friends, the T.V. show, so I feel it's only appropriate that I quote the famous theme song to end this entry.

No one could ever know me, no one could ever see me.
Seems like you're the only one who knows what it's like to be me.
Someone to face the day with, make it through all the rest with,
Someone I'll always laugh with, even at my worst, I'm best with you.

But, I'll be there for you, when the rain starts to pour...
...I'll be there for you, cause you're there for me too.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Celebrating Beautiful Lives

July 10,2011- Shane would have been 10 months and 1 day old. God I miss that little boy and I often catch myself daydreaming about what that handsome boy would look like. He'd be capable of smiling and laughing, maybe even walking, and definitely talking, maybe not real words, but words of his own. There is no denying the sadness in my heart but for as long as I live, I will never forget his life, his lesson, and the impact he has left on this world.
Yesterday, UCLA held a memorial service for the children who have passed away at the Children's Hospital. It was a celebration of their lives, whether they were 17 years or 2 days old, each one of them had a beautiful life and it was a touching service dedicated to honor the individual lives of these very special children.
Sitting in the auditorium, staring at the table covered in roses, listening to the music of IZ's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", it was difficult to not find myself remembering the memorial service we held for Shane, nearly 10 months ago. The sadness of that day revisited my soul and I was mourning the loss of Shane. It was a difficult situation. There was Shane's photo on a board next to other children who were also no longer with us here on earth. We were surrounded by other families who knew too well the pain that I was feeling. I remember sitting there and revising that day of Shane's memorial service. But something was definitely different. Reflecting on that day was like watching from the outside of a snow globe (if that makes any sense). I watched Mike and I grieve, I saw myself hugging my friend Natalie, bursting into tears saying "This is not fair!" I remember that raw pain, but I knew this was a memory.
I knew that life has changed from that day because when I opened up the program to the service I found a poem. It was a poem I have never seen before and for once this poem, being a poem dealing with loss, didn't seem so cliche. As I read it, I found myself liking the message, instead of feeling like it was some stupid saying made just to make me feel better. The poem brought me to tears; it was as if I could hear Shane's heart speak to me. The poem reads:
"And if I go, while you're still here...
Know that I live on, vibrating to a
different measure behind a thin
veil you cannot see me through.
You will not see me, so you must have faith.
I wait for the time when we both
can soar together again, both
aware of each other.
Until then, live your life to its
And when you need me, just
whisper my name in your heart...
I will be there."
Ascension by Colleen Corath Hitchcock

The service was absolutely beautiful and touching. Each child's name was read aloud and a message from their parents was made. When each child's name was called, the families were able to come up and place a rose in a vase in the child's honor. It was definitely surreal to be surrounded by other parents who have had to deal with such terrible tragedy. I remember right after Shane's service, I was told by my former coach, who had also lost a son, that we were now part of a fraternity that no one wanted to join, but that we weren't alone in this world. I couldn't help but think about what he had told me, about that fraternity, because here we were, surrounded by other families who have had to deal with the same kind of pain.
Along with the tears of sadness, there was comfort and smiles. We met some wonderful people and were able to share stories of our children. I loved hearing stories of other children as I love to talk about Shane. It's ironic because I remember having a conversation with my good friend Angie, who was my pregnancy buddy. We went through nearly our entire pregnancies together. We shared so many stories, discussed our crazy emotions, and dealt with interesting cravings. We looked forward to our futures filled with mommy dates so Shane and Aiden could play together. I envisioned visiting her in the hospital, seeing precious baby Aiden for the first time, me 9 months pregnant. But the world that we had envisioned and talked about for so long wasn't the reality of what it was going to be. Aiden Kenneth Bailey, was taken from this earth far too early and Angie and Kevin were far too young to have to say goodbye to him. I wasn't sure what was going on in the world when nearly 3 weeks after Aiden had passed, so did our precious Shane. Not only did Angie and I go through our pregnancies together, but we now shared a similar grief.
I'm not going to talk about the journey of grief or the pain that we experienced, as this was not why I brought this up. But I remember during one of our conversations, Angie and I were talking about how hard it feels sometimes to interact with the "normal" world. Not many people know the pain that we've dealt with, and no one, including us, knew how to truly navigate through it. We often talked about our interaction with people and how we both knew that the mentioning of our boys' names might not be brought up by other people because they feared that it might upset us. We both knew that people don't mention them, not because they don't care, but because they just don't know how it will affect us. But for me, and her for that matter, we enjoy hearing their name. I would rather someone acknowledge what happened then pretend like it didn't. I know it's weird for people, especially ones who we may not have seen in a long time, to wonder whether they should say something about him and if you want to truly know, it is TOTALLY ok. Infact, I would prefer it.
I remembered that conversation with Angie when the Chaplain read a poem. It is something that speaks from the heart of many parents who have lost a child. The poem she read went like this:
"The mention of my child's name may bring tears to my eyes,
But it never fails to bring music to my ears.
If you are really my friend,
let me hear the music of his name!
It soothes my broken heart and sings to my soul!"
~Author Unknown ~
Revisiting the feelings of Shane's memorial was difficult, but being at that ceremony was the right place for me. To remember Shane along with so many other parents' children, who love their child the same way we love Shane was SO special. I cried because I miss Shane, but I will always miss him, and I am ok with feeling that, because I love that little boys so much, it hurts.
"A dragonfly lights besides us like a sunbeam.
And for a brief moment, its glory and beauty
belong to our world. But then it flies on
again and though we wish it could have
stayed, we feel lucky to have seen it."

Friday, July 8, 2011

Life: Press Play

I'm ready to live life again, to see the world in color; I want to look forward to the future. For so many months I've felt frozen, like my life had been put on pause while everyone else's life went forward at full speed. I was fully coherent, I mean I saw everyone else's lives continue, but mine...mine was stuck and I didn't know how to get it going again.

I think the initial realization came when one of my best friends gave birth to her daughter in May. She had found out she was pregnant shortly after Shane had passed away and her pregnancy just seemed to fly. I remember when I was pregnant, thinking that time passed so slow, but watching her go through her pregnancy was like someone pressed the fast-forward button and BOOM, she was a mom.

It takes roughly 40 weeks to have a baby...40 weeks! It was roughly 40 weeks since Shane had passed away, and I couldn't remember anything but the month of September. My mind lived in that month for so long. All I was capable of doing was reliving those days with Shane over and over again. I look back on these days and realize I was living life by just going through the motions. To be honest, I can't remember half of the months that have passed. I was stuck grieving, I was scared to live life and I was missing my baby boy.

Grieving is a nasty thing! Right after Shane died, I remember wanting to fast-forward 6 months, so that the initial pain would be gone. I figured by 6 months things would be better. But like I said, grief is nasty and at 6 months, I hit rock bottom; the 6th month was the worst month for me. I couldn't figure out if I was sad, or angry, depressed, or all of the above. People would ask me how I was doing and sometimes all I could say was " I don't know". I remember asking Mike: "Will I ever be happy again? Will I ever know what it's like to genuinely laugh, rather than force myself to smile?" I was so scared that I would never feel those feelings again.

Today, as I write this I reflect on the passing 10 months. In 2 months will be Shane's 1st birthday and also my 29th. I feel like my 28th year has been lost, thrown into a world of oblivion;. I have no idea what it feels like to be 28. I mean, it's probably nothing special by any means, but I have no idea what it even feels like to say I'm 28 and truly believe it because the majority of my 28th year has been frozen in time.

Luckily for me, I have amazing people in my life who have been there for me/us through this difficult time in my/our lives. Our family and friends have stood by us and have helped us pick up the pieces to our shattered life. They have been patient and understanding and the most wonderful people in the world. So many people have shown their support of Shane's Foundation and they continue to wear their blue wristbands. To see Shane's wristband still being worn has meant so much to Mike and me. Shane's band has been seen in engagement photos and wedding ceremonies; I can't find the words to express our gratitude and how honored we feel that people would show their love for us and especially Shane in such a huge events in their private lives. I know that without the love and support from these wonderful people, I would not be able to find myself in the place where I am today.

Recently, I've started to see the beautiful colors of life again. I know that I see things much differently now, but I am also not the same person as I was before I had Shane. Shane will always be a part of my life, and I know that everyday for the rest of my life I will continue to miss him. I know I will never feel completely whole without him here with me, but I also know I can feel happy again. I realize that there will be days where I will be sad, but that's a part of me, and I don't want that to change. If you ask me about him, I will speak of him proudly, the worst thing we could do is forget him or try to pretend this didn't happen. I am so proud to be his mom and I am so grateful for the time I had with him. I know he is with me everyday and when I need him, in my heart is where I can find him. With my guardian angel by my side, I'm ready to press "play" on this thing I call, my life...


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