Friday, April 23, 2010

Heart Tugs

I've mentioned before that I am really at a point where I want... and need to start doing something. I feel that urge to begin making a difference.
Since the accident we have said it, felt it, and claimed that something GOOD was going to come from all this.
I am ready to see that come to pass. The tug at my heart is growing and more frequent.
Just knowing that my story can touch, encourage or help someone else means so much.
It is hard to know what the right thing is for me to do. What is it I am supose to do? There are several avenues I feel I could go.

My heart is truly for the support. I am a believer in Counseling, I am a believer in support groups. There is nothing like being with others who understand, who are experienceing similar hurts. I validates your feelings, it makes you feel less alone... down this hard journey.
I still desire so much to start a group for parents who have lost young children. I love my monthly support group but it just isn't quite enough. I want to be able to relate to others on a deeper level.

In the last few weeks we have been working really hard with Nathaniel. He has started opening up and talking quite a bit. I feel that he is ready to talk. He remembers everything. It has been confirmed through several people that he is a very anxious little boy. He is sad, confused, worried, and hurting. He misses his little brother.
That is so hard for me. There is nothing like seeing one of your children hurting, ...and not be able to do anything to 'fix' it.
He is back to going too weekly counseling and it seems to be helping. He has started opening up to her and is able to express himself better. He has also had a really great week in school, which we have not seen in awhile.
We know that the best thing for Nathaniel would be intense group grief therapy. I have lokked, and called, and researched, and looked... and found Nothing! In the whole state of South Carolina... there does not seem to be a single bereavement group for children.
This hurts my heart. More recently, it angers me.
What an incredible need that is not being filled! Each and every day their are children who loose close loved ones and are hurting and grieving... just as adults do.
Just like us they need to know they are not alone. They need to be free to share their feelings and have a place to talk when they need to.
Each time I meet someone or hear another story of loss, leaving children... the heart tugs begin again. I am beginning to feel more and more that this is what I need to get started right away... a group for children.
My real desire would be to have an adult group going on at the same time for parents/caregivers and to also have age appropirate groups (younger and older)
When I start thinking about all this my mind gets flooded with ideas. There are so many things we could do... so many kids we could be reaching. It is truly a passion.

The third avenue for me is advocacy. This area has always been in the back of my mind somewhere.. but is the most difficult for me to think about. I think this comes from the guilt and shame that I still feel about the accident. The thought of being able to educate and help prevent other similar accidents would be great. There is a definate need for people to better understand the dangers with children and water. There are programs and other things in place, that people just do not know about.
I would love to be able to be used in this area. I have been in touch with SafeKids of Charleston and do hope that one day we will be able to meet and discuss ways for me to become involved.
I just know it's not going to be easy.

I often sit and doubt myself. Am I ready? Am I skilled enough? Can I communicate well enough to really make a difference? Would I be able to hold together my emotions and not transfer my pain and hurts onto others but instead be able to help, encourage and educate?
Do I even want others to know my story?...

I take a deep breath. I say a little prayer. God, give me the strength to make it through. Give me the passion to touch others. Open the doors that you want me to walk through. Help me to be sensitive to the things that I can do to make a difference in others.
I am reminded of the story of Moses and Aaron in Exodus 3-4.
He felt so inadequate... yet God used him in such a mighty way. God asked Moses, "What is in your hand?" In the midst of his doubt he didn't stop to think that God has already provided what he needed.
I know that God too, has given me what I need. I pray for the confidence and strenth to walk in it. To use what I have been given... to touch the lives of others. I feel God leading me saying, All I need is you.. and an open heart. "What is in your (hands) heart? What are the things I have gifted you with? Go, Use them... Make your mark... touch others.

Use me... make good come from such a difficult and painful situation.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Peices of him...

My heart is heavy tonight... the tears are flowing...It's one of those.

Once again, I know that I am probably making things worse, or harder for myself. It's amazing how much your thoughts can eat at you!
Missing him to badly tonight.

My heart aches as I sit and cuddle with Elliana. She was walking over to me, laying her head on my shoulder to give me a cuddle hug, then hoping right back down again.
Just like Brayden always did.

I've said it before... there are so many little peices of Brayden in Elliana. Her looks, her demeanor, her dramactics!, her cuddles...
It's such a blessing.
But sometimes it hurts..
Watching her tonight cut like a knife... to my heart.

I caught myself several times just picturing him. Trying to remember all the little things he did and said. Wanting to compare and decide, was Brayden this tall? or taller? Was he this talkitive and smart? Did he smile this way? Could he figure things out so quickly like that?

May 4th.
Elliana will be 17 months old.
May 5th
Elliana will be 17 months and 1 day old. The exact age Brayden was the day he died.
May 6th
Elliana will be older than Brayden ever was... this side of heaven.

Been thinking about this alot lately. Tonight it just hit me really hard. Starring at Elliana, watching her every move. Wanting so badly to remember every little thing about Brayden... this very age.
Holding her.
Remembering how he felt.
Kissing her forhead.
Picturing his adorable face looking up at me... dropping his face for a kiss on the forehead.
Remembering his waddle over to me on the couch to simply give me a quick hug. much like the ones I'm recieving from Ellie tonight.

How can she be His age? How can she get older? What do we do from here?
How a part of me wishes we could just freeze time.
What I wouldn't give to go back in time!
Thinking about whats ahead. About all the things we will experience with Elliana that we missed out on with Brayden.
Not even wanting to go on...

Man how I miss him...
How I wish it still didn't hurt so bad
Wishing my heart would stop aching...

Wishing like Hell I could just have one more...

There could never be enough.

I miss you
I love you
...... My sweet baby boy...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Facing my Fears

"I gain strength, courage and confidence from every experience
in which I really stop to look fear in the face.
I must do the thing I cannot do."
~Eleanor Rossevelt

Another sweet blogger Mom I have begun to follow wrote an incredible post HERE about her sweet JaLaynee Grace. It spoke volumes and I can relate to so much of what she wrote.

It is so true that when we voice our fears, we can begin healing. I also have such a fear of anything to do with swimming. Even bathing is still difficult for me. I am terrified to turn my head from the kids. Nathaniel enjoys "swimming" in the tub, blowing bubbles, putting his face, head in water.. and all of it is hard for me to see. deal with. Ellie uses a seat, but even that is slippery. She wants to be out. To be sitting up playing with toys, etc. and I can't bear the thought of having her out of it. I hate to even let me hand off her while in the tub.
Last summer somehow came and went... I think I was still in a fog. But this year the warm weather is here and summer is fast approaching.
Nathaniel is older, smarter.. faster
Elliana is now walking, into everything, and all over the place.
Our friends have pools, our babysitter goes to her neighborhood pool frequently, water parks will be open, ...
Pools, Oceans, Water... it's everywhere.

I have such a fear and undesire to ever swim again.
Yet, Swimming was such a part of my life.. I was born at the beach. I was in lessons at a very young age and on swim teams throughout my early life.
It's my favorite form of exercise, relazation, and fun.

The thing that I worry most about is Elliana.
The thought of her swimming, is freightening.

So, to face this fear, I have signed her up with a Program called Infant Swimming Resource ISR. This is a very intense, and thorough program that teaches self- rescue tecniques to infants from 6 months old. Through the short, consistant lessons, Elliana will learn to float on her back, grab onto the wall, kick and swim with her face in the water, rolling over as needed to breath/break.. and get herself to the wall, ...
I can only imagine how difficult this will be for me. It is like facing my fear dead on.
Yet, I know it is what I need. I know it is what Elliana needs. Knowing that Ellie has these self rescue skills will help give me a little peace of mind when it comes to her in water.

What I wouldn't give to go back in time... to give Brayden these important skills... he would still be with us here today.

We have decided that because of Nathaniel's age and size and skill level, he will do well with traditional lessons at the local YMCA and we are going to have him signed up early on this summer.
So.. Elliana is all registerd and signed up. Lessons will be each day Mon- Friday for about 3-4 weeks. Due to their intensity the lessons are only 10 minutes each.
I recieved her shirt and swim diaper in the mail. It's sitting on the table and I keep walking past just looking at them. The reality is beginning to hit that she will soon be in the water, in a pool, learning to swim.
It's exciting, and nerve wrecking at the same time. I want so badly to do this. I know that I do not have to do this alone, and I am so thankful for that. I stand in confidence knowing that my God will fill me with His strength, and his peace... and I will choose to remember that I CAN do all things through HIM who gives me the strength.
The time has come to face this fear... to do the thing I cannot do.

For God hath not given us a spirit of fear,
but of power and of love and of sound mind.
II Timothy 1:7

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Just be here...

Don’t Tell Me

Please don't tell me you know how I feel,
Unless you have lost your child too,
Please don't tell me my broken heart will heal,
Because that is just not true,
Please don't tell me my son is in a better place,
Though it is true, I want him here with me,
Don't tell me someday I'll hear his voice, see his face,
Beyond today I cannot see,
Don’t tell me it is time to move on,
Because I cannot,
Don’t tell me to face the fact he is gone,
Because denial is something I can't stop,
Don't tell me to be thankful for the time I had,
Because I wanted more,
Don't tell me when I am my old self you will be glad,
I'll never be as I was before,
What you can tell me is you will be here for me,
That you will listen when I talk of my child,
You can share with me my precious memories,
And speak to me his name.
Do help me remember the good times,
And even the crazy, hard moments too.
Remind me he will never be forgotten,
And that he will always be alive in our hearts.

My *virtual* Walk to Remember

The Compassionate Friends (TCF) is a support group for bereaved parents. This international group touches the lives of thousands each year who are going through one of the most difficult trials ever faced. Compassionate Friends has been one of the most encouraging and important parts of my grief Journey. I have been attending monthly meetings since July 2008, made wonderful friendships, been lifted up, validated, supported, and loved by this group and I am so thankful for them.
Each year, TCF has a national conference. I hope and pray that I will be able to attend this year in Arlington, VA in July. As part of the conference all of the families take part in a Walk to Remember in honor of our children... and all the children, lost too soon. For those who cannot be apart of the walk in person they have also set up a virtual Walk to Remember as a way to raise money for this wonderful organization. To show my support to The Compassionate Friends, and do my part in giving back; I am raising money to help reach many more needy parents and families who are hurting and lonely. Click HERE to go to our personal site in Honor and Memory of Brayden. Any and every gift helps, and will make a difference in the life of someone... just as I am a life who has been touched.
Please visit the site if you wish and consider giving, even a little to help this great need.
Thank you!
Brayden's Mommy