I felt the need to share it with you because it trully cracks me up and makes me smile!
I felt the need to share it with you because it trully cracks me up and makes me smile!
I’ve been in an abyss of sorts for the past year. I’m here today to say that I’m still alive. I’m still kicking. Still breathing. Life? You think you’ve won? You think you’ve beaten me down , don’t you?
My dear friend came to see me the night before this anniversary. I had been “hibernating” for days and she stopped by to check on me. ( I love my dear friend!) She asked me how I was. I started to cry. She started to cry. And then she said to me,” You need to go and get your tree! ”
A little history. I have wanted to go and get a tree for Ethan for the past year. Something ALWAYS happens and we come home with no tree. Whether it is the youngest having a total melt down at the nursery. Or the oldest having a teenage moment. We have gone several times and have come home empty handed. It has crushed me and hurt me many times. My friend said,” You cannot control everything else. You NEED this tree tomorrow and you need to go and get it and get your hands into the earth..into the dirt.” And she was so right. I needed that tree.
That evening I approached my husband and told him that I was going to go and get Ethan’s tree that next day. I explained to him that I would love for him to go but if it wasn’t what he needed to get through this day, I would understand. Explained to him that I needed this. I needed to feel the dirt between my fingers. Needed this to heal. Of course, he wanted to be there too. ( love that man!)
My husband and I dropped the youngest off at Grandma’s house that next morning. And we went to find Ethan’s tree. I wanted a Japanese Maple. Growing up my dad always had one in the backyard and I associate it with comfort and peace. So we went and looked. And the sweet gentleman who helped us said,” Walk around until a tree speaks to you.” Speaks to us? Hmmm.My husband and I were starting to get a little stressed after about an hour. I reminded him of when we were trying to pick out Ethan’s name. There was this…pressure to pick the most perfect name for him. More pressure becasue we knew he would never come home with us. I think my husband and I both felt this way about his tree. So….almost two hours later we found Ethan’s tree. It was tucked away in the back of the nursery. Surrounded by amazingly grand trees. His tree was simple and not the most beautiful of trees. But it spoke to us. It needed us. It was Ethan’s tree.
So, we loaded it up. My husband had to go to work so I brought it home alone. I carefully unloaded it from the truck and set it in the backyard. I cried. And I cried. As if this tree signified me bringing home what I lost a year ago.
I know he is gone. I know this everynight when I fall asleep and the last thing I see, before I close my eyes, is his tiny cherry wood box of ashes on the shelf by my bed. I know this everytime I watch Crazy#3 play and know that he should have a little brother to play with. I even know this when my very best friend comes to visit with her son ( who was born three weeks before my son ) and I hold him and wonder what Ethan would look like right now.
I know it sounds crazy but having this beautiful tree in our yard…..feels like Ethan is here with us. It’s like….he will never be here with us…growing and getting older but his tree? It will be here. With all of us. Everyday. Every year. Growing with us and never being far from us.
And this brings me a sense of calm. A sense of peace.
It’s here. Tomorrow. The one year anniversary of my sons death.
I can close my eyes and remember all the awful moments.
I can remember when he stopped kicking and moving.
I can remember driving to my doctors office that morning, praying that I was wrong. Praying that he simply had begun to run out of room to move. Yeah! That’s why he isn’t moving as much! He’s crowded in there. That makes PERFECT sense.
If I close my eye’s I can see my son’s lifeless body on the ultrasound screen. He looked perfect. Beautifully peaceful. He looked like he was just sleeping. There were no signs during my pregnancy that he was sick. He kicked and moved like he was supposed to, when he was supposed to. My pregnancy was routine. Was perfectly normal. There were no signs.
Can still hear the doctors insenstive words to me as she exited the room after telling me my son was dead,” You can always have more.”
Can remember walking out of the room. Trying so hard not to fall apart as I began the “dead man walking” trip down the hall to the front office door. Trying to remain calm, resisting the urge to race out of the office. Past all the beautifully happy pregnant women waiting in the lobby to hear their babies heartbeats. Rubbing their bellies with smiles on their faces. All of them full of hope. Full of possibility. Past the nurses who could only look at me with pity and regard me with an aerie silence. Past the doctor who never even lifted his head up from his paperwork.
Can remember driving home sobbing. It was my husband’s birthday. What was I going to say to him? How was I going to drive to his work and tell him that our son was dead? That I had failed to keep our son safe. Alive.
Can remember walking in the front door and falling apart. This wasn’t supposed to happen. He’s supposed to be coming home with us. He’s supposed to spit up on my shirt and pee on me when I change his diaper. He’s supposed to walk and then , eventually, run around and chase after his older brothers. He’s supposed to have birthdays and soccer games. He’s supposed to call me mommy and giggle when I tickle him.
I can remember all of these moments.
The sense of failure.
The sense of helplessness.
What I CAN’T remember is the person I was before my son passed away.
Exactly one year ago today….
I was lying on a table in a “specialists” office….located directly above an abortion clinic. Ok. “THEY” like to call it a “Family Planning” facility but …whatever. I’d like to know whose sick joke it is/was to put a genetic specialists office DIRECTLY above an abortion clinic….and then I’d like to beat the crap out of them!
I am lying on this table while a nurse does an ultrasound. Now….the day before THIS ultrasound, I went in for another ultrasound and they informed my husband and I that our son would, in fact, die. ( Really? Don’t sugar coat it on our account…we didn’t have a life planned with this child or anything!) They have a HUGE flat screen television on the opposite wall…( So you can CLEARLY see that your child is, in fact, DEAD.) Because GOD knows that I couldn’t and didn’t see that the first time around, right? Because I didn’t HAPPEN to notice that my son was no longer using my ribs and bladder as a soccer ball. They conduct all of their ridiculously retarded tests. Then they lead my husband and I into a room so we can talk to a counselor. ( Yeah. Thats. SO. Going. To. Help. Us. Right. Now.)
Counselor walks in and goes through her “salesman pitch”. Yada. Yada. Yada. “Not your fault”. ” This is a fluke”. “Nothing you could have done”. Gives us a business card with a bunch of online support groups and exits the room.
My husband and I sit there.Alone. Numb. What the hell just happened? We leave.
One year ago my heart was ripped from my chest.
One year ago I lost a piece of my soul.
One year ago……
Please tell me the pain stops. Please tell me the “what if’s” and the ” He would be’s” stop. Please tell me this gets easier. Please tell me my son was not a fluke.
This is my little brother…I hope he doesn’t mind me using his photo. My brother and I are six years apart. He has been so much more than a little brother to me. He has been my friend. My partner in crime.Growing up both of our parents worked full time so it was just my little brother and I alot of the day. I would get him up each morning and help get him ready. I would walk him to and from school every day. He and I were all we had alot of times. From learning how to hook up the disconnected cable ( inside joke) ……to thumb- tacking blankets to the walls to make our SUPER RAD forts. From his first “beer” at 13. ( Ok, so I wasn’t ALWAYS the most responsible big sister but? ) There has never been a time in our lives that we have not held each other up. He is wiser than me in so many ways. He gets me. He knows my strengths and weaknesses . And yet he loves me in spite of them all. I have always been dubbed the strong-willed says- it -how -it -is one. He is the calm, cool and collected one. I tend to shoot from the hip. He steps back and thinks before he speaks. I am the one who spent most of my childhood grounded . He is the one who was SMART and learned from my mistakes and was almost never grounded. My little brother…..he holds a bigger part of my heart than he will likely ever know.
When my husband and I found out that we were expecting , we had a tough time coming up with names. I mean. When you already have three sons? You kind of start running out of ideas for another “perfect” name. You can’t forget the rules. There are very definate rules for picking your child’s name. FIRST: You must take nicknames into account. Who wants to be called “Dick” on a daily basis? People are mean enough as it is. SECOND:You have to take initials into account as well. Can’t have a kid with the initials A.S.S. or anything like that, right? You have to pick a name that will, hopefully, not get him beaten up in school. THIRD and MAYBE MOST IMPORTANT…MEANING: You want a name that will LEAP off a resume. A name that will look distinguished on a white lab coat. A name with history. A family name perhaps?
That kind of pressure is hard on a good day. It’s even more difficult when you are told that your child will not come home from the hospital with you. When you are told that this “perfect” name you pick will never be scribbled in crayon hanging on your refrigerator. Will never be written on a Christmas card with the rest of his brothers names. Will never be cheered for at a baseball game or soccer game. Will never be sung in a Happy Birthday song. It becomes this impossible …….journey of love and purpose to pick the perfect name.
We came up with the name Ethan. Prior to learning our sons diagnoisis , we had asked my brother if we could give a boy HIS name as the middle name. He gave us his blessing and it was all decided. Agreed upon. Done. Then we learned that Ethan would not be coming home with us. At all. Ever.
My husband and I scrambled to come up with a different middle name. I felt that it would be so unfair to my brother. To have his name given to a nephew that he would never hold. Would never know. Would never chase after or play with. I thought it would be easier for my brother if we “saved ” his name. I know how awful that must sound but at the time it made sense. At the time I thought i was sparing my little brother this…pain. This …burden.
I was talking to my brother online shortly after my husband and I decided on our sons name. And our conversation went a little like this….
Me: We’ve decided on a name for our baby.
Brother: What did you decide on?
Me: We decided on Ethan *********.
Brother: What happened to MY name? Not good enough …ha ha ha?
Me: Well, we just thought maybe you wouldn’t want us to give him your name now. I mean, your never going to hold him . Never going to get to know him. We thought it would be too hard for you.
( This is where he just melted my heart down to nothing but a puddle)
Brother: I would be honored if you gave him my name.
I will never be able to thank my brother enough. I will never be able to tell him what Ethan having his name has meant to me. To carry the name of one of the most precious men in my life. I think there are alot of people, in his place, who would have wanted their name “saved” for a very much alive nephew. Who would have insisted that their name be given to a nephew they could hold and love and play with. But not my little brother. He was honored to have our son carry his name.
I am the one that is honored. Honored to have this amazing man for my little brother. I love you Daniel!