You Smile I Smile

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

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Happy 24th Birthday!

My Dearest Andy,

I can't let your birthday go by without including you in my blog.  10/10/88 - the best day of my life!!! I hope you had the most wonderful party in heaven. Do they eat angel food cake there? I know, dumb joke, I can see you rolling your eyes. Remember when I used to embarrass you in the car by dancing in my seat at red lights? Haha! I love you so much honey and miss you still. But I take great comfort knowing you are in such a wonderful place, living in peace and happiness.  Thank you for looking out for me. I love knowing I have an angel watching over me  ^i^    We are having a little get-together Saturday night to celebrate your life and the joy you brought to us. Look for the lighted balloons!! I know you will be there <3

I'm just remembering your precious little face when you were young and the handsome young man you grew up to be. I was and still am so proud of you. You were a beautiful person to whom life was not always kind. I know it was hard for you to be a sensitive soul in this world. I want you to know that you left a beautiful many love you, miss you, and strive to honor you every day. As for me, you brought me the most wonderful, happy days of my life. And now, I have one favor to supremely, completely, ridiculously happy until we meet again. If you are happy, I am happy...or maybe more aptly, "You smile, I smile"  :-)  Love you Bean!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Just for Today...

I got a beautiful gift last night. Andy's dad, Ken, moved last week, and naturally he came upon many of Andy's things in the process of packing and unpacking. When he opened Andy's guitar case, he found this poem which I had given Andy probably 15 years ago. It made me smile, and it made me cry. It made me happy I gave it to him. Mostly I was filled with joy that it meant enough to him that he kept it all those years, and it was in pristine condition. I'm going to have it framed. It is a beautiful and wise poem, and it rings especially true for me in one part--you'll know it when you see it. If you are a parent, please take a moment to read it, and more importantly, practice what it says. Do it in memory of Andy if you would. I love you honey and I will until the end of time.

Just For Today
by Sally Meyer

Just for this morning,
I am going to smile when I see your face...
and laugh when I feel like crying.

Just for this morning,
I will let you wake up softly in your flannel p.j.'s...
and hold you until you are ready to stir.

Just for this morning,
I will let you choose what you want to wear...
and I will say how beautiful you are.

Just for this morning,
I will step over the laundry to pick you up...
and take you to the park to play

Just for this morning,
I will leave the dishes in the sink...
and let you teach me how to put your puzzle together.

Just for this afternoon,
I will unplug the telephone and keep the computer off...
and sit with you in the garden
blowing bubbles.

Just for this afternoon,
I will not yell once, not even a tiny grumble when you
scream and whine for the ice cream truck...
and I will buy you one, if he comes by.

Just for this afternoon,
I won't worry about what you are going to be
when you grow up...
I will simply love you for the joy you bring me

Just for this afternoon,
I will let you help me make cookies...
and I wont stand over you . . . trying to 'fix things.'

Just for this afternoon,
I will take you to McDonald's and buy us both a 'Happy Meal'...
so you can have two toys.

Just for this evening,
I will hold you in my arms and tell you the story of how you
were born...
and how much we love you.

Just for this evening,
I will let you splash in the bathtub...
and I won't get angry when you pour water over your sister's

Just for this evening,
I will let you stay up late...
while we sit on the porch swing
and count all the stars.

Just for this evening,
I will bring you glasses of water...
and snuggle beside you for hours...
and miss my favorite t.v. show.

And tonight when you are sleeping safe and warm in your bed,
I will think of the mothers and fathers
who mourn for the children they have lost.

I will remember the parents who sit by hospital beds,
watching over the little ones they love.

I will weep for those parents whose children are cold,
hungry and suffering,

and .... this evening,
when I kneel down to pray,
I will simply be grateful for all that I have

and not ask for anything...

except just one more day.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Random poems written on a rainy day...

Beautiful boy I miss you so
I wish you didn’t have to go
You made my life a joy to live
All the love you had to give

Now my life is incomplete
Now it simply isn’t so sweet
Your lovely face, your sunny smile
They made me happy for awhile

I pray for you to joyfully play
In heaven’s clouds on sunny days
All my love to you I send
In paradise at rainbow’s end

I feel you are happy, peaceful and free
Forever the best thing that ever happened to me
So wait for me, I love you best
And thank you for the lives you blessed.


There’s a garden I keep
It lives in my heart
Beautiful memories
Since you had to part.

Where flowers bloom
In colorful hues
Purples and reds
Yellows and blues.

Where butterflies flutter
On delicate wings            
In the golden sunshine
That each new day brings.

I tend to it lovingly
For all that you gave
It helps me still smile
It helps me be brave.

I cherish this garden
My beautiful son
And I’ll meet you there soon
When my life is done.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

When one door closes...

Well, it's been awhile since I've posted anything, but the spirit moved me today to jump back in. It's been a rough couple of days. Someone(s) said something incredibly cruel to me, but I am not going to say what because it's not true, it's fear-based, and frankly, it's not worth repeating or wasting good energy on. My heart goes out to the sadly misguided souls. Fear is the opposite of love. But enough about that.

Anyway, it got me thinking about how awful people can be. Why was Andy taken away from me? Why me?... blah blah blah. But THEN I started thinking about all the beautiful people that would never have come into my life if Andy hadn't died. It's a veritable feast of awesome, beautiful people! I am truly blessed. God has a way of bringing new beauty into our lives to help us deal with terrible losses. These amazing souls will help and already have helped, carry me through until I see my baby again.

I have all these totally and completely awesome friends of Andy's that I didn't know very well before Andy died (you know, Moms can be an embarrassment haha), but who have become my adopted children. I couldn't love them more if they were my own. So I DO have living children. They are too many to name, but they know who they are. Andy had a large circle of lovely friends. He had good taste in friends, I must say.

I will never have biological grandchildren, but I have these beautiful kids' children and those yet to be born. So, yes, I do have grandchildren...there's Diamony, a shiny diamond whose beautiful spirit got me through my darkest days, Donovan, the cutest little boy with his mischievous smile, Evelyn, with her delicate face and delightfully sweet heart, and (soon) Izabel, whom I cannot wait to meet, among them, and more to come, I'm sure. Yippee!

I have become friends with these kids' parents who have welcomed me into their lives with openness, kindness and love. People like Bibi and Janice and Susan, and other awesome parents that I'm just getting to know. I'm so glad I've met you! I love that I have these new friends to hang with, go to O'Malley's with, go to movies with, play games with, share stories with, get diet advice from, and eat their yummy home-grown vegetables with.

There is Rebecca who began as my realtor and ended up as my friend. Cool chain of events here...If Andy hadn't died, I wouldn't have been looking for a new house. If Peter Rumsey hadn't been out of town that day, Rebecca wouldn't have been filling in that day. If we hadn't started talking about our children and I hadn't told her about Andy, she wouldn't have hugged me and done just the right thing, and I wouldn't have felt an instant kinship with her. And of course, her 2 beautiful, adorable, sweet, smart little girls Layla and Harper wouldn't be in my life either. I must count them as part of my family too. Their artistic and gorgeous painted sculptures wouldn't be displayed proudly at my home (that Rebecca helped me find!).

And last, but not least, there are the valiant, battered souls who have walked this same journey with me. We members of the club no one wants to be in. Again, there are too many to list, but you know who you are. Though I haven't even met many of you in person, we have a bond that is stronger than strong and will never, ever be broken. God bless the ones who helped me when I was new to all this by sharing the wisdom that only time can bring. God bless those new to all this. I will be there for you. Probably the saddest thing is that our numbers grow each day.

If I have left anyone off, please forgive was only a memory lapse, but the heart never forgets. You are in my heart.

It's true that when one door closes, another opens. I thought I lost everything the day Andy died. In some ways I did, but also look at what I've gained. For that I am deeply grateful, and I am truly blessed!

Have a beautiful day! 

I love you ~ Andy ~, yesterday, today and every day for eternity!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Taking a Stand...

I am deeply saddened by “Christians” who try to deny basic rights to people out of fear and ignorance; bigotry cloaked as religious freedom. It’s a sad day for North Carolina. I don’t know what God these people have, but he’s sure not mine.

I believe my son is dead today in large part because of people like Amendment One supporters who made him feel like some kind of freak, someone to be despised, feared, an “abomination”. My son was a beautiful human being. He was kind, loving, so intelligent, and I loved him EXACTLY the way he was, and part of who he was, was gay. I am proud of my son. I so looked forward to the day when he found his true love and might actually…GASP!...marry that person and live in a committed relationship. I often think about how his life might have turned out so differently if we lived in a country that wasn’t steeped in homophobia. His last several years might have been happy instead of spent in shame and hurt--the feelings that sent him to drugs in an effort to suppress the pain and the shame; the feelings that many people would shun him and hate him because of who he was…who he was born as. Who God made him.

There’s not a person on earth who can convince me being gay is a choice. Who, in God’s name, would choose to be an outcast?--to be discriminated against, made to feel horrible for who they were? He could no more change being gay than he could change the color of his skin. And trust me, if he could have changed it, he would have. But it’s just not possible.

There’s been a lot written about gay kids committing suicide lately. It’s a sad commentary on the state of our country, and I largely blame misguided “Christians”. As a God-loving heterosexual Christian, I have to ask what is going on in the US?!!! The Tea Party, who would boo a veteran who honorably served our country, because he was gay, has been in the headlines. Or some crazy church that pickets the funerals of soldiers with signs like “God hates fags” because they believe that’s why our soldiers are dying. It’s so disgusting, I don’t even know what to say about it. Back in the day, people used the bible to justify slavery too.  To every church who pushed this agenda, if you want to influence our government and use church money to do so, start paying taxes like every other corporation.

Most importantly, to every gay kid out there who may be suffering: you are a beautiful person, a person of value, just the way you are. God knitted each one of you personally in the womb (that’s from the bible), he knows every hair on your head (that’s in the bible too), and he knows your heart. If you can hang in there for a few years, get some experience under your belt, you will grow into yourself, accept yourself, and live a happy life. Yes, it’s hard now, but don’t turn to drugs, alcohol, or God forbid, suicide. Treat yourself and your body with the love and respect you deserve! You are a child of God the same as every other person who walks this earth. He loves you, and I do too.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Love and Appreciate the Mess!

I was just reminiscing about a couple of things today. The first was a cherished possession that Andy made in SAS Children’s House. It was a sweet little poster that I received for Mother’s Day one year. On it were his little handprints and the following poem:

"Sometimes you get discouraged
Because I am so small,
And always leave my fingerprints
On furniture and walls.

But everyday I'm growing,
I'll be grown up someday,
And all these tiny handprints
Will simply fade away.

So here's a final handprint
Just so you can recall,
Exactly how my fingers looked
When I was very small."

It really touched me at the time, and I realized how true it was. I would often reflect back to that poem when he would make a “mess”. I can’t begin to tell you how glad I am that I had that little poem of great wisdom. Truer words were never spoken. Cherish the moments, even the messes, and appreciate just how lucky you are to have this darling child. What I would give to come home and find my sink full of dirty dishes that Andy had left in the sink or to see a pile of his laundry that needed washing.

The second thing was a cigarette burn in the guest bedroom. A year and a half ago, the air conditioning in Andy’s room over the garage bit the dust, so he moved into the guest bedroom while we had a new one installed. He was known to smoke a cigarette now and then. The day he moved back into his real room, I noticed a small cigarette burn on the window sill. I thought oh geez, look at that, darn it. But then I thought to myself, “is this really something you want to make a big deal about?” And I decided, no, it wasn’t. One stroke of a paintbrush, and it would be gone. I never did get around to painting it, so I guess that shows how unimportant it really was. Fast-forward to this week. I went into the guest room to make the bed because I had company coming. I happened to look down, and my eyes fell upon that burn mark. I sobbed when I saw it because it was visual proof that he had once been here. I thanked God that I had never made a stink about it nor painted over it.

So do me a favor and hug your kids for me. When you see a mess, smile and thank heaven above that you are so lucky to have a mess to clean up. I would give everything I own to go home to one.

Monday, February 13, 2012

One year later...

Dear Andy,
I can’t believe you’ve been gone a whole year. The feelings of loss and pain are still there every minute of every day, though a little softer. If anyone had told me it was possible to have someone in your head 24/7 for a whole year, I would not have believed them. I’ve learned it is possible. If anyone had told me it is possible to cry every day for a year, I wouldn’t have believed them. I’ve learned it is possible. I have become very good at hiding it, though, for life must go on.

There came a point when I realized I had a decision to make: I could either wallow in self-pity forever or I could try to make you proud of me. I could make your life count and continue to make a difference.  I am the keeper of your memory. That is a profound duty, and one that I promise to fulfill for as long as I live, as I know your Dad will too.  I continue to heal more every day, and I make a promise to myself each morning to go out and live life to its fullest. I think I’ve come a long way.

Andy, I learned so much from you, but the most important thing I learned is unconditional love. Thank you for that. You are the best thing that ever happened to me, and the memories I hold in my heart sustain me. I’ve learned a lot of important lessons since you went to heaven:

·        Love is the most important thing in life
·        Life is short and not promised to any one of us
·        Every action, thought, and word can be a force for good or harm; choose carefully
·        It’s correct and honorable to put in an honest day’s work, but don’t let work be your life or you are really missing out on much more important things
·        Life rewards action. If you don’t like something, change it if you can; if you want something, and it is an honorable thing, go for it!
·        Things are a temporary high and you can become a slave to them
·        Money is not the root of all evil—greed is
·        You only need enough money to be comfortable; share the rest with those less fortunate because life is unpredictable, and there but for the grace of God, go you
·        We are all our brothers’ keeper. Spread love, charity, and kindness every day, every way you can
·        A baby’s laughter is the sweetest sound on earth
·        Stand up for those weaker than you
·        No one has all the answers; an open mind is a loving mind
·        People are more motivated by encouragement than criticism
·        Judge not, for you do not know the hearts, minds, or life circumstances of others
·        When you hold a grudge, the only person who gets hurt is you
·        A hug is worth a thousand words; share one often; same for a smile
·        Family is more important than gold, power, or glory
·        And this one bears repeating—love is the most important thing in life

Wow, look at all the things you taught me! I’m so proud of you honey, and I hope I can make you proud of me. I love you with every fiber of my being, and I always will. Thank you for the beautiful years you spent with me. I am a far better person for having loved you. Your life touched many others and continues to do so still.  I just can’t wait to run to you with open arms when we are reunited in heaven's garden. You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.

Your Mom

10/10/88 - 2/11/11 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Would you...

I wrote this poem and ask every person who reads it to think of it in every interaction you have with another person, especially someone you don't know or who you think doesn't deserve your most kind self: We never truly know the hearts or lives of others. Let your every deed make the other person walk away feeling better. Words are more powerful than a sword:

Would you...

Would you show me more compassion
If you knew how I struggle to go on?
That my life has been completely shattered
And my reason for living is gone?

Would you go out of your way to protect me
And go the extra mile
If you knew my heart is drowning in tears
Behind my make-believe smile?

Would you give me credit for trying
And smiling and pretending I’m okay
If you knew that to get up is so painful
That it hurts just to face every day?

Would you be forgiving of my lapses
In thoughts and words, my friend
If you knew it takes so much extra effort
For my mind to comprehend?

The doctors and ones who’ve been through this
Tell me I must be patient with me
That I have a life-altering sickness
Not different from a disease

But this disease has a cure, that’s good news
I must stay the course and keep trying
And lean on those who love me
I vow I will ‘til the day that I’m dying.

So please stick with me, be patient           
I am getting better, you know
But this is a process, not instant
I’m sorrier than you it’s been slow.

I’m getting stronger  and clearer each day
And there’s love in these words that I choose
That I’m so glad you can’t really understand
Cause I’d hate you to be in my shoes.

Sending so much gratitude to those who have stood by me,  loved and supported me every step of the way. You know who you are and I love you!!!!