Thursday, October 4, 2012

2 years out

I haven't been blogging much lately. I felt like it really helped me at first and for awhile after Noah died. I was able to get my feelings out, grieve, vent, whatever. And then I just kind of felt like I didn't need to do it anymore. I'm not sure why. It's not like anything has changed. I guess as you move along in the grieving process, the way you grieve changes. It's ever evolving. You always grieve after you lose a child. That never goes away. But how you do it is different as time goes on. 

Which brings me to now - Sunday marks 2 years since Noah died. I cannot believe it. I cannot believe that as each day passes, it's another day that I don't get to be with my baby. I don't feel I get the adequate time to grieve these days. After 2 years people don't ask you about it as much, talk about it, focus on it, etc. They expect you've moved on and are "ok" now. It always helps to talk about how I feel. Have a real good break down session where I just cry it all out. They are much fewer and farther between now. But those usually just happen with my husband, mom, sister, or therapist. So I thought maybe if I started writing my feelings down, I'd feel like I was getting it out. After 2 years, this is how I feel: So incredibly messed up in the head! That is the best way I can describe it. Not like a crazy person, but imagine how hard and emotionally draining it is to be so happy, yet so miserable, every single day of your life. I don't feel in control of my emotions. On any given day I am happy, smiling, laughing, enjoying my amazing life with my beautiful son Oliver. We take trips, go fun places, and overall live a pretty great life. And that is totally me. I really am happy. It's not fake, it's not for show (as it once was some time ago). Yet I'm also heartbroken and sad. It's hard to describe. It's like I can talk about Noah, even the day he died and not cry. I can remember all the great memories, moments that defined his life and mine. But then something like a stupid episode of greys anatomy where a grown man dies will send me into hours of hysterical crying. Certain things bring me back to the feelings I had when he died and right after. Those times were so depressing, so dark, such a blur. I don't ever want to go back there. And when I do, it's hard to get out of. I think now, as my therapist says, I box up my grief and only unpackage it when I feel it's right. Sometimes I'm ok with that, but sometimes I feel bad. It's a constant balance. Trying to be the best mom you can be to a living child and a child who has died. Oliver is here and my main focus is on taking care of him of course. But even when your child is gone, you don't ever stop feeling the need to take care of them. They are still your baby, a part of you. So I make Noah things, bring them to his grave site. Make sure it's decorated for each season. Sounds silly, but it's what works for me. It makes me happy when his grave area looks nice. How sick is that? I don't care if my house is decorated for fall, but as long as the cemetery is. And then I think of Oliver. How this poor child is literally growing up at a cemetery and going to Faith's Lodge. We are going there tomorrow (Oliver's 2nd time) and again for Thanksgiving. I dread the day I have to explain this all to him. But he knows his brother. I can ask him where Noah is and he will point to his picture. It's amazing. 

These are just a few of my feelings these days. It's an ongoing battle. It doesn't end or get better. It just changes. You just adapt to life without your child. There are those tough questions that I still try to figure out how to answer, "how many children do you have?" Or being at the grocery store next to a lady with 2 screaming children who looks over at me and Oliver sitting there in the cart and says "One is enough. Just stop at one. Two kids is insane!" and she laughs as she walks away. If only you knew lady, If only you knew. 

What I do appreciate more than anything in the world are those that remember Noah, continue to honor him, talk about him, have their kids send me pictures they drew for him, send balloons up for him, draw rainbows on my driveway, visit his gravesite, send me a note to tell me they are thinking of me/us. You have no idea what it means to me. And even as time goes on and people move forward with their lives, Noah was and always will be my baby. My first son. The boy who made me a mom and changed my life forever. He is the boy who loved Mickey, laughed as he crawled up the stairs, said dada, but not mama, he was the best! I miss him with all my heart and soul. As we approach 2 years I still thank God everyday that I got 11 months with him. I wouldn't trade that for the world. But I do live everyday now just hoping and praying I get to keep Oliver forever. Mostly I'm just really sad that I never got to see Noah grow up. I didn't get to see him walk or talk or go to school or get married or anything. One month from today he would be 3 years old. I can't even picture it. 

I miss you sweet boy! More than I could ever describe with words. You are our angel. Thank you for being the person you are and always watching over us. I am eternally grateful for our amazing bond. You are perfect and we will continue to do everything we can to do good in your name. You deserve it! 
p.s. looking at these pictures really makes me want to climb into the sky and pull you back down here. my heart aches for the day we can be together again, peanut.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Noah's Memorial Classic #2

The 2nd Annual Noah's Memorial Classic took place on Monday July 9th at Medina Golf and Country Club. We were surrounded by 250 family and friends on an absolutely beautiful, sunny summer day to honor Noah. Everything went so well - we were so happy with how the event turned out. We want to thank everyone who came, donated, etc. We are so grateful that we are able to do this event for Noah each year. It takes the support of family and friends to make this event so successful! 

We are still awaiting a final total as to how much was made but I do know that we were able to raise a lot of money for some amazing charities: CJ Foundation for SIDS, Faith's Lodge, and the Children's Hospital of MN. I will update with a final total as soon as I have it. 

I'm also waiting for pictures from West Meadow Photography, our event photographer! In the meantime, here are some pictures from Joey Tichenor Photography, who also helped with some group shots on the course! Enjoy!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

the gift of life

The day after Noah died, we received a call from Life Source, the organ and tissue donation center. They asked us if we would like Noah to be a donor. At the time I remember just trying talk was a daunting task. They said they needed to know right away. "Yes, of course" was all I could really remember saying. The thought of them taking parts of him was sickening to me. Yet I knew if he could help someone else, that would be an amazing gift to give. It's quite a process once you decide your child should be a donor. They made me answer about an hour long worth of questions about Noah and myself (since I carried him). This was all the day after he died. It was unbearable. I cried the whole time. I understand it all has to happen right away, but trying to answer all those questions while you're in such a state of shock and while the world has just been ripped out from under your feet is an extremely difficult task. 

Fast forward to about a week ago when Life Source called me again. They said they had about 10 questions that did not get recorded during that first session. Are you kidding me? I have to do this again? They asked me all these questions about the week before Noah died. I barely remember the week before he died. It was a year and a half ago! The pain came flooding back. 

But yesterday I received a letter in the mail from Life Source stating that Noah's heart valves have been used for a little girl in Massachusetts that is less than a month old. The heart valve transplant saved her life. To know that a part of Noah is living on in another little girl is an amazing feeling. It makes me very proud as a mother to know your child helped save another child's life. I wish so badly I could find out who this little girl is. Obviously it's confidential information. Otherwise you better believe I would be on the next flight to MA knocking on their door. I would love to meet her. To see the girl who has my son's heart valves. Let's face it, I'd probably stalk them. To know their daughter has a part of Noah inside of her. I would probably move next door just to feel closer to Noah. Noah gave this girl the gift of life. And has made such a difference in the life of her family. Because of him, they do not have to feel the pain we feel everyday. And for that I am grateful. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

happy valentines day peanut!

Dear Noah,
I wish you were here so badly this Valentine's Day. We always make a big deal out of holidays - even the little ones so I probably would've made you something dorky like heart shaped pancakes. We would've made really cute valentines to hand out to your friends. On your first and only Valentine's Day with us, I will never forget that you made your first art project at daycare. It had your footprints on it. It was the sweetest thing I had ever seen. 

Three years ago today our journey began together. You were created and we started our special bond. That's another reason Valentine's Day always holds a special place in my heart. When we found out we were going to have you, our lives changed forever. I never knew how amazing you could be and how much I could possibly love. 

I want you to know that mommy misses you more and more everyday. I want you to know that no one forgets about you. Your friends make you rainbow pictures which makes mommy so happy! Sometimes we bring them to your gravesite. Everyone still talks about you and what an amazing boy you are. I hope you're having a special Valentine's Day in heaven. 

Love you so much sweet peanut!

Monday, February 6, 2012

double personalities

I feel like my life is split in two and I have double personalities. There is one part of me that is happy and thankful and one part of me that is so completely heart broken and miserable. You'd think it'd be hard to be such extreme opposites at the same time, but I've mastered it. 

I can go through my days feeling so happy and blessed because of the opportunities I've had. I had the most amazing 11 months with the most amazing little boy. He brought us so much joy and happiness. He truly taught me the meaning of life. I feel like my life before Noah was wonderful, but I did not know true happiness until being a mom. I feel like my life really began after we had Noah. All the prior events in my life brought me to that time, but being a mom is like no other. Looking into those beautiful blue eyes and kissing those sweet chubby cheeks and knowing you made that little person. It's an indescribable feeling. I never wanted it to end. I even remember kissing Noah so many times in a day that I once thought, "if there is ever a time I don't get to kiss you, at least I'll feel like I got all my kisses in." Sadly, I am now at the place where I don't get to kiss that beautiful face and I absolutely do NOT feel like I got enough kisses in. 

Having Oliver brought back those feelings of motherhood all over again. I now look at Oliver and just squeeze him and kiss him and snuggle him to the point that he is probably so sick of me :) I tell him, "you may get sick of my kisses, but I am never going to stop. I made you, I grew you in my tummy for 9 months so I get to do whatever I want :)" I feel so blessed to have this second chance. To have a baby again and I pray everyday nothing happens to him. Being at home with him right now is such a gift. I went back to work after 10 weeks when I had Noah, so to have spent 5 months at home with Oliver has been so much fun. It's definitely tiring - I never understood how stay at home moms were so tired. I always thought, "what do you do all day?" Well, trust me - the days are full and I'm exhausted! But I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. I get this feeling of pride when Oliver learns a new trick because I know I taught it to him. With Noah I figured he picked up a lot of what he learned in daycare and through other kids. We are just having so much fun together. I am starting to look for jobs so I will be going back to work, but I hope to find something flexible. 

But with all the happiness I've experienced, I have also experienced the worst pain a person could ever go through. I lost a child. I lost my own flesh and blood. My own creation. A beautiful 11 month old boy that Scott and I brought into this world. I still have his handprints on my windows, his spit up stained shirts - he was here. He was real. As long ago as it may seem. It feels like an eternity since I saw that smiling face. That face that lit up every room and every person. Everyday I am heartbroken. I am broken. The pain is so real and so deep that sometimes I can't even "go there". It's too painful. I think people think because we've had Oliver and they see how happy we are that things are ok now. Sadly they will never be ok. We are happy and we feel so blessed. But I also feel so robbed. So robbed of being able to have my 2 boys that are 2 years apart. I watch Oliver with other kids. He laughs at them and smiles at them. It is so unfair that he can't have his older brother here to play with him. I cannot imagine my life without Oliver but he doesn't replace Noah. They are both my sons and hold equal love in our hearts. I wish this wasn't the life that was handed to me. I wish I didn't have to experience this daily pain. But I do feel stronger (and older! Yikes! I have definitely grown some gray hairs in this process). But it's a strength I wish I didn't have to endure. I hold strong to keep my family together and to keep my friendships and all other aspects of my life as "normal" as they can be. But it is hard because sometimes you just want to scream and cry. This is a never ending journey. We are growing and evolving and changing each day. But our love for our boys never changes. And we never forget the incredible memories we made with Noah. And most of all we are so thankful for the never ending support from our amazing friends and families (and even strangers!). Those people know that no amount of time will ever make this easier. That we need constant support, prayers, and most importantly to know that people are still thinking of our sweet peanut. That he changed their lives for the better. That means more than I could ever tell you. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Another year without you...

Dear Noah,
I can't believe it's 2012. I can't believe I went the entire 2011 without you. I can't believe you've been gone 1 year and 3 months. I can't believe you'd be over 2 years old. I can't believe you have a 4 month old little brother with us now. I can't believe this is still my life. 

A lot of days now I can go without crying. I can actually be happy. I'm so happy to have your little brother. He brings mommy so much joy! He reminds me so much of you in so many ways, yet he definitely has his own distinct personality as well. He's mischevious like you. I can already tell. He's really silly and goofy like you too. He has a big smile like yours, but he does not have your laugh. Your laugh is like no other - I long for the day I'll hear you laugh again. Until then, I still watch your videos all the time so I can hear you, see you, and listen to that adorable little laugh. Although I am learning how to be happy, I still miss you so much it hurts. I know that will never go away. Everyone says the hard days get fewer and farther in between. I guess that is true, but the hard days are so very hard. I just wish so badly I could have both you and Oliver here. I wish I could watch you interact with each other. I wonder every day what it would be like to have 2 crazy, silly boys here with me. I know Oliver would think the world of you and I know you would LOVE playing with him. You'd probably torment him in some way, knowing you :) But I bet he wouldn't even mind. I wish I could have a picture of both of you together. In fact, I wish I could have a picture of our whole family together. It's so unfair that it has to be this way. I see so many other families at Target or while out and about that have a little boy your age and another child. I wonder if they realize how lucky they are. How lucky they are to have both of their children with them. To hold and hug and kiss both of them. 

As you probably know, we are beginning to work on your golf tournament for 2012! The 2nd Annual Noah's Memorial Classic. We are so excited to do this for you again, peanut. Daddy and I just finished designing the website so that people can get information and register and donate online this year.
**(the website will be up next month with details about the tournament so stay tuned!**
We hope this year can be as successful as last year. We are happy to be able to do something so wonderful in your name and get all our family and friends together for such a great cause! We want to raise awareness of SIDS and raise money for SIDS research, but we also just want people to come together and talk about you, look at your pictures, and honor you and the amazing 11 months you were with us. 

I know you are watching over us all the time. I know that every time the dining room china hutch light is mysteriously on, it's you telling me you're with me. I know every night when I unwind after the day and watch tv and see that shadow quickly sweep over the room, I know you're right there. I wish I could see you and hold you and kiss you. I wish I knew what you'd be like at 2 years old. But I do know we will be together again. I do know you're an amazing son and big brother. And I do know how very lucky I am to have had you for the short time I did. You changed my life - you made it better. You are an angel and I can say I made an angel, I held an angel, and I love you so very very much. 

xoxo mommy

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

the room change

This is a post I should have made a long time ago, but I wanted to share how we transformed Noah's room into Oliver's room since I talked so much about how difficult it was to make that transition and to decide to "change" the room. I still think of it as Noah's room as well as Oliver's room. I feel like Noah is still in that room watching over his little brother. But I do call it "Oliver's Room" more and more. For awhile, while we were transitioning it, I couldn't call it that. I just called it "The Nursery" or "The Baby's Room". It felt weird to stop calling it "Noah's Room." But as you'll see, there are still very much parts of Noah in this new room. 

Here is Noah's room as it was left after he died. It was a Pottery Barn Monkey theme. 

Here are the messages we wrote on the walls before they got painted. We changed where the crib is placed. So on the wall where Noah's crib was we wrote messages to him. On the wall where Oliver's crib would go we wrote messages to him. 

And here is Oliver's room. It's completely different!!

There is a rainbow mobile to represent Noah watching over his brother while he sleeps. 

This is the part of the wall we left unpainted from Noah's room. It's framed out and has a guardian angel quote. 

So as you can see the room is completely transformed, yet there are still very much pieces of Noah in this room. It is definitely a bright and cheerful room. I'm so happy with how it turned out and I'm happy that Oliver gets his own room that is special to him, yet his brother is still very much a part of it. 

There is no way I could have done this room by myself. My friend Sarah Martin (from Majesty Companies) is an interior designer and helped me create the look and feel I wanted for this room. She painted the whole thing herself as well. She's amazing!!!