You Smile I Smile

You Smile I Smile
Sonshine: My Journey After the Loss of My Son

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Birthday Sonshine!

Twenty-three years ago today, Andrew Edward Katchuk came into this world. It was a Monday. I remember because I thought, "oh yay, I don't have to go to work today!" They said "It's a boy" and I heard his first cries...oh, what a beautiful sound! Then they placed him in my arms for the first time. It was instant love, absolutely instant! Then they whisked him off, and after pressing on my stomach for what seemed like forever (ouch) and a few stitches, they sent me to my room.

I was absolutely starving, so they brought me a huge tray of food. I ate every last bite, and yes, the hospital food tasted like the best meal I had ever eaten. I was also exhausted, and I fell asleep with a full stomach and a heart full of love for MY new baby. It was just too good to be true. Truly it was the best day of my life (except for all the days and years to come with my precious son).

Some time later, I woke up, probably because the epidural was starting to wear off. I thought, "Oh, this is starting to hurt a little." And as the minutes clicked by, and it eventually wore off all together, it really, really hurt. I remember telling Ken, "Wow, nobody warned me about this part." But I didn't care, I was ecstatic. One of my friends from work had had her baby the day before, so I walked down to see her...very sloooowly walked down haha! Later that day, they brought Andy in to stay with was so wonderful. I was sitting in bed just crying my eyes out. The nurse asked me what was wrong, and I said "I'm just so happy!" Can you say "hormones going crazy?"  :-)

Fast forward to 22 years of being a Mom. They were years filled with love, joy, and some pain...but overwhelmingly joy. I had the best son a mother could ever ask for and I am so deeply grateful that I got to have this handsome, loving, intelligent, wonderful person in my life. It's so hard now, but it was all worth it, and if I knew then that he would die so young, I would still do it. Thank you, Andy, for the best years of my life. You are forever in my heart, my soul, my memory. I can't wait to see you again. What a wonderful day that will be. I love you sonshine.

All my love,

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Reflections on a beautiful day...

I woke up this morning to the sound of wind chimes. I bought these chimes in memory of Andy. They say “When the wind blows, know that I am near.”  It was such a pretty sound, and I knew my baby was near, so I woke up with a smile on my face. This was important because every day I wake up happy but then it goes away. In those first few seconds of wakefulness, I forget Andy is gone—I’m happy--but then I remember, and sadness immediately falls over me. Today was different. It was like he was waking me up and saying “Good morning Mom! I’m here!” He’s been on my mind so much lately because his birthday is in a few days. Today it’s like he’s sticking close to me all day. Thanks baby!!! I noticed, and I love you with everything I am. And it’s such a gorgeous day!! The sun is bright, there’s a chill in the air that is so welcome after such a long, hot summer. I think it’s going to be a great day. 

I’m reflecting on so many people and how they have loved me and carried me through these awful months. 

·        My family, always there, always reaching out to me. I have the best family and I love you! How blessed I am to have 7 incredible brothers and sisters who love me unconditionally and have always been there for me. My mom, the best mom in the world. To know her is to love her. She is an amazing, compassionate, beautiful woman. My Dad, whose presence I feel helping me from heaven. Lexi, who graciously spent Mother’s Day with me and made it bearable.

·        Andy’s friends and their parents, who have stayed in touch when you didn’t have to.  Kids, I couldn’t love you more if you were my own children, and I have officially adopted you. You are my link to Andy. You are so wonderful, and I’m proud that my son chose you as his friends. I will be here for you always, I love you, and I believe in you. Reach for the stars—I look forward to all the great things you are going to do in the years to come.

·        Hanna’s parents, who showed their support by coming to the calling hours and funeral despite their still-fresh sorrow. The compassion you have shown us touches me to my soul. 

·        My coworkers who so graciously and kindly helped me adapt to being back at work. Kim and Crystal who carried most of the burden at work and never made me feel like I wasn’t doing enough, bless their hearts; who let me talk about Andy, shared their kids’ stories with me. Loved the noodle necklace! It has a place of honor in my room. Paula who eased me back in with such compassion and who continues to look after me still. My whole team and extended team who have just been angels and have dealt with my mood swings and forgetfulness (can you say asking the same questions repeatedly?) with kindness and a blind eye. My work friends, you are family to me.

·        My dearest girlfriends, sisters in spirit--Gail, Janine, Betty. I love you and wouldn’t have gotten through this without you!

·        Ken, the one person on earth who truly understands my pain and is the person who, with me, created such a beautiful son. You got me through the first dark days and carried me, comforted me, cried with me, shared memories with me. You carry me still, and I am filled with gratitude and love for you. I believe I might be dead now if not for you, the pain has been too great. Thank you for saving my life.

I’m reflecting on why I thought some things were important--money, prestige, wearing the right clothes, being “important” at work, having a spotless home, day-to-day noise. It truly perplexes me. I was so clueless, but I am a different person now. Now I appreciate the sunshine, kindness, friendship, lending a helping hand, health, nature, a roof over my head, a laughing child, my dog greeting me like she hasn't seen me in a year when I come home, time alone, making *others* feel important, faith that there is a God who is looking out for me and will reunite me with Andy one day, precious memories that can never be erased.

I still cry, but I’m also able to see the glimmer of hope. And that glimmer is very strong today. Thank you beloved Andy for waking me up this morning!! Love you forever Sonshine!!