Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Hardest Day

You might think that August 23rd was the hardest day of this journey--the day my son was born sleeping. Or, maybe you think it was the day before when I got the news that he was gone. But thinking back over the past 4 weeks (Today makes 4 weeks since he was born), the hardest day was August 26. This was the day of Barrett's funeral. There was a book signing at the funeral home that morning, but I couldn't bring myself to go. I was terrified to see anyone face to face because I knew I would break all over again. I spent all day that Saturday thinking about the finality of his funeral.

His funeral meant that I wouldn't wake up from this dream. It was definite. My son himself was gone and I was laying his earthly body to rest. I would never be able to look in his beautiful eyes again. I would only have pictures and memories. No birthday celebrations with him, no first steps, no football games, no graduation, no watching his face when he got married--I would never hold his children in my arms--only could have beens. At this time, I had no idea of the "would be's" that he would bring to us.

In the days prior, I had not been able to make any decisions. I remember my mom calling me on Friday to ask me about the book signing and I couldn't even get a word out. I just had to lay the phone down. My husband looked at me and through tears I said "I can't do this". I am so thankful she understood that meant I trust you--please handle it for me. I know it was not easy for her and my mother-in-law to make these decisions either--Barrett was the first grandson for both of them. I am so thankful for all they did--everything was beautiful and I was in no state of mind to make those decisions.

The morning of the funeral, my friend came over to stay with Audrey. My husband and I both agreed that we didn't want to take her. At this point, I still had not told Audrey her brother was gone. When I was getting dressed for the funeral, I looked in the mirror and I lost it. My beautiful baby belly was gone. This was the first time I had worn anything fitted and I just remember how real that moment was when I faced myself in the mirror for the first time since losing Barrett. I looked so tiny and I hated it. I felt so empty.

Audrey walked back to my room and I felt the urgent need to tell her about her brother. I felt like God was telling me that it was time to tell her. So I sat down with her on my bed and made it through the conversation the best I could.

I composed myself as my husband and I went to meet our family for them to follow us. When we got there, the reality of seeing everyone hit me so hard and I locked myself in the car like a child. I just wasn't ready to break yet. I so badly wanted to keep myself composed. I don't know why, but I did.

On the ride to the funeral, I remember having The Message playing on XM radio. I remember staring out the window as I sang along to every song. In a way, I was talking to God through the songs because at the time words were escaping me.

The Flowers on Barrett's Casket
When we pulled up, I saw it. I saw where my baby boy would be buried. And that was it. I lost it. All composure was gone. When we walked to our seats, I saw his casket. It was so tiny. I know this shouldn't be shocking since he was so tiny, but it was. I remember thinking God, why do they even have to make caskets this small?. But, even then, God was in control and covering us in His love. I made it through the service in a zombie like fashion. I don't remember what anyone said, I just remember crying on my husband's arm as I stared at my son's casket and begged God to take care of him and let him know how much I loved him and wanted him. I remember thinking Please, God, don't let my baby feel alone. He needs to be held tight. I know that seems so silly knowing that my son is in the best place and best care he could possibly be, but though my son was gone, my mothering instincts were not. I wanted to swaddle him and make him feel secure.

I decided to write about this day, because Sunday will be one month since he was born. I plan to go visit him Sunday. I haven't been able to write about this day yet, because it was the hardest thing I've ever done. But today, I felt compelled to share about this day, because it is a harsh reality of what so many mothers have to face. Please remember these angel mommies and daddies in your prayers--

13 comments:

  1. Hi my name is Amie Ford. My son was born on Jan. 8, 2005 and passed away 27 min after he was born. I understand the grief and heartache from all the times you will not get to share with your son. My son's name was Tristen Lee Hale he weighed 3 lbs 3 oz and was 13 in long. The day I found out I was pregnant I was excited and terrified. I had never felt such a mixture of emotions. When I was 12 weeks pregnant I went for my very first ultrasound and my mom was with me. When my doctor told me they found a problem my heart sank. The doctor was not sure exactly what it was but went through everything that it could me from spina bifida to amniotic band syndrome. As my pregnancy went on they discovered that what Tristen had was actually Limb Body Wall Complex (LBWC) He had an opening from the top of his chest to his groin. Most of his organs were on the outside of his body. I never saw the problems on the ultrasound. No matter how many times they pointed them out to me, all I ever saw was my baby boy. LBWC is a fatal disorder and it is rare. (1 out of 150,000) I did not understand why this was happening to me. No matter what the doctors said I fought for my babies life. On December 27, 2004 I went to a neonatal specialist. I lost my hope on that day when it was confirmed that Tristen had LBWC. I was told there is no chance of survival. I was devastated. On January 4th I started hurting really bad in my back. I hurt for 3 days and on January 7, 2005 my water broke. I was only 6 months and 3 weeks pregnant. Tristen was born at 4:35 am on January 8, 2005 and he grew his wings at 5:02 am. When he was born they took him and I did not get to see him until after I talked to the pediatric doctor. He came in and told me all the problems. Then he asked me the hardest question I have ever had to answer. "How long do you want us to work on him?" I wanted to scream at this man and tell him to fix Tristen. I want my baby. I couldn't do it......I knew my baby was suffering. I just asked to see him and then they could let my baby drift away from me in peace. He was beautiful when they brought him to me. I was told that he could not respond to me at all because he was getting no oxygen to his brain. When they laid him on my chest he opened his eyes. I touched his sweet face and he crinkled his little nose. I kissed him and told him good bye. The nurse took him from my arms and that was the last time I saw my baby alive. When he passed away I knew because I got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I knew my baby was now my guardian angel. We were given so many signs from God that Tristen was ok. I have a picture from the day he was born of clouds that spell out I <3 U and the day of his funeral there was an upside down rainbow in the sky. I miss my little boy everyday. He will be 8 in January and I still grieve to this day. I have since had 2 very healthy beautiful children. A boy 6 and a girl 19mths. I am very blessed to have them but nothing can ever take the place of the child that you long to hold. Please contact me at baby.girl_1980@yahoo.com if you need anything. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

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