You Smile I Smile

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

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas in the mountains...

Ken and I decided months ago to spend Christmas away from home in the mountains. It was the best idea we ever had. So here I am, day 6 in Asheville in a cozy little cabin. The fireplace is burning, my Christmas tree-scented candle is burning. It's COLD outside, but it's warm in here. This could have been the worst time of my life...first Christmas without my baby, but instead it was relaxing, healing, and maybe even a little bit happy. Yes, there have been some tears, but overall, it was a nice Christmas. And Andy was certainly here in my heart.

I'm just reminiscing about Christmases past. First Christmas was only 2 months after Andy was born. We got his picture taken in a cute little Christmas outfit given to us by one of my co-workers. He was such a happy little guy, and we got a great picture. Other Christmases that followed brought Duplos, rattles, a pounding peg bench, stackable doughnuts, push popper, rocking horse (that was a favorite), plastic snap beads, . And of course, his favorite present of all time, Spuddy, the white Gund bear given to him by my sister Laurie. Spuddy was a permanent attachment to Andy for many, many years. His name was really Snuffles, but Andy couldn't say it, so he became Spuddy forever more.

Ah, and all the books. My sonny bunny loved to read and be read to from the time he was a tiny little boy. We bought him scads of books over the years. When he was little he would chew on them and eat part of them if we weren't watching. One time we went to Barnes and Noble and got him one of those chunky cardboard books which he wanted to hold on the way home. Well, by the time we got home, he had eaten most of it. What a funny, fun memory! Some of his favorite books as a little boy were "Are You My Mother?', "The Very Best Home for Me", and "The Little Red Hen". A couple of weeks ago I was going through my filing cabinet at work and found "Patsy the Pussycat". It had the signature chewed up corner and was taped together. I cried at the memory of him sitting on my office floor on an afghan reading that book after having been sent out of SAS daycare with a small fever. He spent many days sitting on my office floor playing quietly with himself never making any fuss. He was such a wonderful, easy little boy.

Later Christmases brought Beanie Babies, Dance Dance Revolution (to see his coordination on that was a sight to behold), Legos, Beadie Buddies (I still have a Beadie Buddy he made of our cat hanging in my room), art sets. Later still came ipods, phones, stereos, electronics of all kinds. Can you see the escalation in expense here? Haha!!! He was a genius with electronics.

Every year I would make orange rolls and coffee for our Christmas breakfast. I didn't have it in me to do it this year...too much for my heart.

Anyway, I am so thankful for the multitude of beautiful Christmas memories I have, and no one can ever take them away. I sure missed spending Christmas with my boy this year, but in reality, he's been here the whole time in my heart if not in person. Thank God for that.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Christmas Miracle...

Signs…do you believe in them? I’ve said many times that I don’t think there are any coincidences, and I do believe in signs. Let me tell you a story. It starts with sadness and discouragement. It ends with a sign and what I believe was a little miracle courtesy of Andy.
Three days ago I raced to the cemetery after work to get a few minutes with Andy before they locked up the gates for the night. I sat with him for a while and just felt so lost and alone. Hopeless, really. I guess the holidays brought it on. I sat there and thought "Hell, why do I even come here? He's not here anyway and who am I kidding thinking he can still see and hear me?"  I was even doubting the existence of God. I mean, I was having a real pity party. I got in my car and sobbed.
The radio station has been playing all Christmas music, and I swear if I hear Mele Kalikimaka one more time, I'll scream. So as I'm sitting in the car wiping my nose, what comes on but Mele Kalikimaka ugh! And I thought, who sings that awful song anyway? My radio shows what song is playing and who the artist is. So I looked at the display, and up pops "Andy" and I thought it must be Andy Williams, though it didn't sound like him. And it just stayed there...Andy...for a good 10 - 15 seconds. And THEN it said Bing Crosby. Over and over it said Mele Kalikimaka Bing Crosby. And of course, Bing Crosby was singing the song. There was absolutely no reason for Andy to show up on the display.
Was it Andy telling me he was indeed around and could see and hear me? I believe it was, and just when I needed it so much. It would also be like him to show up with that song to tease me. My whole outlook changed. I felt...HAPPY! Thank you Andy! I love you more than life And yes, I believe in signs and I believe in miracles. After all, it’s that time of year, is it not?
Wishing everyone a beautiful Christmas. May it be filled with love, friends, family and joy.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sadness and happiness...

Sad is...
Losing your only voice connection to your child when his message gets erased
When your Christmas tree is located in the cemetery
Waiting for your boy to walk in the door but he never comes
Feeling like an empty shell
Not feeling any purpose anymore
Not knowing who you are anymore
Feeling so homesick for your baby you wish you would die but you don't
Wondering what you did to deserve such sorrow
My life.

Happy is...
The loving support of family and friends
Cherished memories
Bird on the windowsill
Yellow flowers and butterflies
Sunshine on your face
Knowing you have an angel looking out for you
Hearing the music of "Andy" come out of someone's mouth
Wondering what you did to deserve 22 joyful years with your child
My life.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Worldwide Candle Lighting...

A special event will be taking place on Sunday, December 11 at 7:00 PM. It is a beautiful and deeply meaningful event that is held around the world.  From the Compassionate Friends website:

Anticipation of a very special and memorable day grows as the 15th Worldwide Candle Lighting December 11, 2011 nears.  The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting unites family and friends around the globe in lighting candles for one hour to honor and remember children who have died at any age from any cause. As candles are lit at 7 p.m. local time, creating a virtual wave of light, hundreds of thousands of persons commemorate and honor the memory of children in a way that transcends all ethnic, cultural, religious, and political boundaries.
Now believed to be the largest mass candle lighting on the globe, the Worldwide Candle Lighting, a gift to the bereavement community from The Compassionate Friends, creates a virtual 24-hour wave of light as it moves from time zone to time zone. Hundreds of formal candle lighting events are held and thousands of informal candle lightings are conducted in homes as families gather in quiet remembrance of children who have died, but will never be forgotten.
The Worldwide Candle Lighting started in the United States in 1997 as a small Internet observance but has since swelled in numbers as word has spread throughout the world of the remembrance. In 2010, information was submitted to TCF's national website on services in 15 countries outside the United States including more than 530 services, as this special day continues to grow.

I am blessed that there will be a formal candle lighting at Apex United Methodist Church, and I will be there. I would ask everyone to light a candle next Sunday at 7 PM in remembrance of Andy and of all children who left us too soon. And please hug your children for me as well.

Children we remember
Though missing from our sight
In honor and remembrance
We light candles in the night...

We will not forget
And every year in deep December
On Earth we will light candles
              As we remember

    ~Jacqueline Brown