Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thankful to be Confronted

Over the last year I have really found the importance of being thankful for the blessings we have. It is so easy to get overwhelmed with life, the negative, the pain, and forget about all the good things. I have made it a goal to find something each day to be thankful for. Though I have not done as well as I hoped I would it has challenged my thoughts and has made me look at each day a little differently.

One of the things I am so thankful for is Dr. West.
For 3 years we struggled with finding a Dr., counselor, social worker, etc. to help Nathaniel. With my background I know the importance of getting help and talking about things with other trusted people. Due to scheduling, personality clashes, finaces, etc.. we have seem to hit one brick wall after another. As Nathaniel gets older I worry about his anxiety, his grieving, his memories... I want for him to process what he had to experience at such a young age the right way and begin the process of healing so that it makes him a better, stronger, more loving and appreciative person.
Several months, well almost a year ago, we were told about a local child psychologist Dr. West. He is in high demand and hard to get in with but is excellent with kids. Though we waited a while for an appointment it was worth it ten times over! Nathaniel has hit it off so well with Dr. West. has opened up and shared things, and has made lots of progress through his appointments. Dr. West has so much experience, is so wise in his years, but can cut it up with Nathaniel just the same. He is funny, smart, caring, and intuitive.

Well back a few months, Dr. West asked me to schedule a seperate appointment without Nathaniel so that we could just talk more openly. We always take a few minutes at the beginning or end of appointments but Nathaniel is there (along with Ellie and even Avery at times!)So this particular appointment was set aside for just us.

I believe it was late June. I was stressed, having trouble coping with life, struggling at home with Nathaniel, etc..
Dr. West sat me down in his office and immediately stated that he was worried about Me. He told me that he wanted to share some observations but to correct him if he was seeing things wrong. He went on to say that he saw me as overwhemed, up to my eyeballs and greatly struggling. He said He imagined I was not handeling life in general very well... especially at home.
Before he was even finished talking the tears began to flow. Here is this man, who hardly know me at all... sees me for a few moments every other week... but can see right through me!
Though I knew how bad things were I denied that fact that I was "depressed". I don't sit around crying for hours, thinking about Brayden like I used to. I 'know better' that to be depressed. With my background, education, etc.. that can't be me. But as we talked on Dr. West looked me in the eye and told me, those hours mindlessly behind the computer, sitting in one spot on the couch, avoiding many of lives responsibilities, etc... "That's called depression". I cried, alot. It was so hard to hear this.. about myself. But knew it was so true. Things had gotten out of hand. I was hurting, and needed to do something about it. He encouraged me to call someone right away. To talk to a psychiatrist about my medication, which was obviously not doing it's job.
"Nathaniel is really doing ok," he said, "but he's not going to continue to get better if you don't take care of yourself. " To know that me and my problems were not only hurting myself but my family as well was a hard pill to swallow.

Wow. I left feeling overwhelemed, suprised, hurt, this was not what I expected.
But I felt a sence of hope, encouragement and motivation to for the first time in along time, take care of me. I was actually glad that he had been so honest and straight forward with me.
I was caught off guard.
I was put in my place.
I was forced to look inward.
And I have never been so thankful to be confronted.

OH Blogger... I have missed you!

Wow.. so it has been entirely too long since I've written. I've said it before but I hate that life gets so busy and it's things like this blog that get pushed aside, and pretty much forgotten.
I miss my freedom to write here... the chance to put out my feelings, give voice to my thoughts.
So much has taken place since I've written. It has been quite an interesting few months. I've made notes and begun to write down thoughts and updates but never got it all down together here. So now I am going to try and catch up. Pardon me now as it will probably be all over the place.
It's hard to even know where to begin, how to fit it in to one post. So I think I am going to take it a little at a time, in different posts.
So much has been needed...
So many necessary changes
So many "new's"
So much to be thankful for.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Not Enough

Grief sucks
I feel knocked off my feet again.
The weight is heavy on my chest.
I can't see past this storm.

My head hurts
My emotions are raw
My eyes are puffy
I've had my cry.... more than one.

But tonight, its not enough.

I hate this feeling.

I've given my time
I've shared my heart
I've tried to make a difference
I've tried to make his life carry on

But tonight, its not enough.

I just want him here.

I've screwed up in so many areas
I feel so disoriented ...with life.
I wish things would stop spinning around me
And life would pause

But tonight, that wouldn't be enough.

I just want things back the way they were
It hurts.
It sucks.
Its unfair.

Yet, Its my reality.

Tonight, nothings good enough.

Tough Questions

Over the last several months we have had the opportunity to share our story with MANY people. It means so much to have my life, experiences, and dreams encourage someone else. I have been told by lots that there is power to our story. I feel as though it is all I have, I have no option but to use it, share it and hope that it will make a difference for someone else.
To save one life, would make it all worth it.
To help others to think about things differently
To make bettere choices...
That would give me purpose
That would give reason behind my pain
That would create even more value to a precious life, lost too soon
Through the organization we have had a number of invitations for Interviews
This particular interview was certainly the hardest one yet...
She was very nice, and compassionate. But when it was time for the questioning she pryed very hard. Asking questions like How he specifically got out the back door, and exactely what we felt in the moment we 'found' him. What was the first thing we did, said, etc..
It was so difficult. Felt like someone pulled the rug from under me and it caught me so off guard. I felt myself getting so emotional and I wanted desperately to keep it together.
My reason for coming, my purpose for sharing was to focus on water safety. I want to encourage other people to not make the mistakes we made, by educating on the things that can and should be done.
But why was she digging deeper into the details of this awful tradgedy? Why did she feel the need to open up such painful memories?
I was at a loss for words.
The camera was rolling and I tried hard to make it obvious to move on..
God gave me the strength to answer honestly but briefly.
I was able to keep going.
I was so glad when it was over.
But I was also thankful. I knew that time was going to come. I knew I would be faced with those questions and forced into uncomfortable situations.
And now that 'first' time is done.
And I'm stronger because of it.
...I can only hope those who heard the interview saw the heart of my message and were encouraged to do things different. To help save lives.

First Responder

For a long time now I have had lots of questions.
Truths I really don't want to be told, things I'm not sure I want to hear... but answers that yet, I feel I need.
Ever since the accident I have wanted to know why we never left the house that night. I have read, heard and met many others who went through similar accidents, and each one of them was rushed, usually airlifted, to the hospital.
Why is it that it took (what seemed to me) forever for EMS to arrive?
Why did the firetruck arrive first and not until several moments later the ambulance?
Do the first responders truly have the same training and equipment as the ambulance/ paramedic??
... Would any of this really made a difference?
An opportunity showed up at one of the most unexpected times.
It was May 22, 2011.
2nd Annual Water Safety Day
I saw a few of the members of the fire department looking at the B.O.B table and saw them talking. I didn't think much of it. We had invited them (for the 2nd year) to come participate with us and looked forward to partnering with them more in the future.
It wasn't until I heard them talking about addresses and then a friend, Jo, turned to find me and ask me my address that I looked over and saw her.
As soon as our eyes met, I knew that the one Jo had been talking to, was one of those who responded the night of the accident.
A flood of emotions raced through me as I walked over to the group.
I could see the memories come flashing back as she shared how deeply Brayden's accident had impacted her. In fact, knowing that they were coming to a "drowning prevention" event, she had shared with a co-worker about our story... never assuming that we were the same family.
That was, until she saw Brayden's picture.
I was moved and encouraged as she shared how rare it is to get to meet or see a family again after a call, especially when it was a difficult outcome.
She was so thankful to see that we had made the decision to make something positive out of our tragedy and do all that we can to educate others.
I couldn't hold it in... I had to open the box and begin to ask some of the questions that had flooded my thoughts for so long. This was not the way, the setting that I had imagined. I did not feel prepared- but yet I just had to take the opportunity put in front of me.
Though emotions took over and I stumbled over words I did hear some things I needed to hear that day.
I didn't feel that I received the 'answers' I was looking for but somehow I still felt a bit of peace.
I don't believe in coincidences... I believe this was a divine meeting. I hope that it impacted her the way it impacted me and I am thankful.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Blessed by Words

Yesterday we had the opportunity to participate in an event downtown. It was the 2011 Kids Fair. We were blown away with how involved this event was, the number of vender's and organizations represented and how many people came. We stayed consistently BUSY the entire time... and by the end we were wiped to say the least! We ran out of all our giveaways, and coloring sheets and only have a handful of books and pamphlets left! What an awesome event. I hope that our message reached many many families and is one that will be remembered.
As we always do, we met several very sweet and encouraging people. One of things that meant the most to me today was when a woman came with several of her grandchildren. She was so glad to see that we were teaching about water safety and wanted to be sure that each child took the water safety pledge, and fully understood it's meaning. She shared how she would be watching many kids over the summer and that they would be swimming as well as going to the beach. She knew the importance of water safety and shared with the kids that she would be reminding them and holding them accountable to the things that we shared with them.
This made me feel like it was all worth it. This is the reason I am doing what we are doing.
Before she left she came up to me, asked to give me a hug and said,
"Thank you for turning your hurt into a Halo"...
I thought about it for a moment and then just smiled. I had never heard that phrase before and it meant so much to me. She continued saying that me and my 'angel' would impact and save many lives.
I was so thankful for this opportunity today and was blessed in many ways... but most of all it was blessed by this woman's simple sweet words.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A kiss from you...

It is an absolutely beautiful day here today. The sun is shinning, the gentle breeze is calming and the temp's are in the 70's!
While me and Ellie were out running errands we ended up right around the corner. With not a specific time to be anywhere I couldn't we went to visit you today...
It put a smile on my face to see your colorful flowers. I wish I did better about bringing new ones more often. They even kept the pinwheel's in this time. Today there was the perfect amount of wind to set them spinning away. How you would have squealed in delight to have seen them go. Elliana loved them too. When the wind would stop it made her sad so she would use her hand to keep them going. I tried to teach her how to blow them (o: What I wouldn't give to see the two of you together. The fun we would have while Bubby is in school. The three of you together would have been even more of a sight... the adventures we would have! I'm tired just thinking about all the energy! Oh, but the laughter and playing would be music to my ears.
Without you here our family has such a void. The lack of your presence feels like such a hole. I love to see Thanie and Ellie play together... and the moments when you see how much they love each other mean so much. Yet their age difference makes it a little difficult. They will never really be able to play together as I know you both would have. (As would have been with you and Ellie as well) The bond they share, though special, is different. Thanie is such a good big brother... looking after lil sister, as I'm sure you would too. Oh how very much we miss you! I remind her often that she has a big brother watching out from Heaven! And what an advantage and full view you have! (o:

As I sat there just dreaming and thinking of you the neatest thing happened. Out of nowhere came a butterfly, the only one is sight, and it landed right on the pinwheel we'd been playing with. And just as quickly as it landed... it was off again. Gently brushed my arm as it flew away.
It was small and so beautiful.
It was quick and so meaningful.
What I wouldn't give to have a picture of that moment! Yet now it is just as everything else... and just a memory. One I will cherish in my thoughts and in my heart.
The simplest thing... brought such a smile to my face. And all I could do is look up and say "Thank you!"
For I felt that it was a kiss from you.

Love to you to the moon...

Saturday, February 12, 2011


This weekend was one full of emotions. We had the opportunity to attend a class in Infant, Child and Adult CPR. This is something that we have thought about and considered many times but had not made the move to do it. We knew that it was going to be difficult. There was not alot of preparing to do this and I don't think any of us quite knew what to expect. The group was small... just family. Jake, myself, my mom, and two sisters had an instructor come to the house to do the training. I was glad that it would be intimate and just us. Some of us had been certified in the past and some of us had never taken a course before.
Jake had not taken one.. and I knew this was such a huge step for him to do this. Throughout the class I know his thoughts were so much on Brayden. Remember the events of that day and thinking of so many "what if's." I know that Jake feels like he didn't know what he was doing that day and questions his actions. He has since told me that he wishes I had taken over the CPR when I arrived, but I was too out of it to have even realized that. Not that I think I would have been able to do it. I was so proud of what Jake did that day. I believe that he selflessly did everything he was told to do and gave his all to help his son.
There are so many questions we will never have answers to. There are so many scenarios that can be played in our minds. Many of those came back to the surface through this course. It's so hard to hear "how sucessful CPR is" and how it is "how to save a life" ... when you know that it does not always work.
Why did it take so long for help to arrive??
Why did the firetruck arrive first? (with what appeared in that moment to be clueless unprepared idiots on it?)
Why did the ambulance take so much longer? Why did they not have the right equipment?
Why did we never leave the house? ...
What was his "state" when help first arrived? Was he completely gone before they even started?
I could go on and on...
So many thoughts, so many questions.

We have recently been contacted by the wife of one of the officers who responded that night. It was for different reasons but I finally asked if he would be willing to talk with us as well. She gave us his contact info and said that this event impacted his life more than anything has and he would love to help out and talk with us anytime.
I still have not done anything with his information. I want so badly to talk to him. To drill him with all my questions and get answers to the things I don't understand. But I know that is not realistic. I know that I need to keep an open mind that many questions I may never know the answers to.
Please pray for wisdom. Pray that God will prepare my heart and my mind... so that when the time is right we can contact him. That hearing another perspective will bring us some peace and settle some of the questions and doubts. Help me to know if this is something I should really pursue... it is something I truly desire so much.
I hate how much we as adults analyze, and question. What I wouldn't give to have the mind of a child... to just accept things as they are and to be able to move on even when it doesn't make sence or is not completely explained to our liking.
I am grateful for this opportunity. For this weekend and the skills that we learned, and refreshed. I am thankful that my family was there, to support us, and help themselves as much as to help us.
I'm thankful for the opportunity to voice my questions...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

fading memories...

I worked on your scrapbook tonight,
as I have many nights before.
This time was different...
As I flipped through the pictures
of your life that we knew
the memories came flooding back.
Memories that had otherwise felt

Could it be that the memories are fading?
For the memories are all I have left of you.
I know it is impossible to remember each and every day
to never forget a thing
But what I wouldn't give to have that chance.
I want to remember all the details
I want to always hear all the sounds...
like your laughter as you played and tickled with daddy
and your cry for "Momma" through the night...
I want to never forget the exasperated look on your face as you flung your head back so dramatically or that sweet smile of joy as you danced.
I want to always feel the weight of your hugs as you cuddled so close
and cling on to the happiness, the gift of each day we were given.

So as I gaze through these pages
I am so thankful for so many pictures.
I marvel the many fun times we had.
I am even more motivated to complete this sometimes difficult task
and to create a treasure of the precious memories.
A treasure to remind
A treasure to bring joy
A treasure to carry a legacy...

Within, holds memories that may fade from my mind on the surface
but will last with me, in my heart .. for a lifetime.

Missing you so much tonight. Wishing I had more than just the memories...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Check out this entry I found on Eye of the Beholder.

We need your help! Please Vote for the photo of our precious Brayden in the Eye of the Beholder contest with Shutterfly. You can vote daily till Feb. 13th! Thanks for your support!

Check out this entry on Eye of the Beholder.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Four years ago today I was given one of the greatest gifts I ever recieved.
Four years ago today, I looked into the face of a precious baby boy.
Four years ago today, I began what is now one of the most special 17 months of my life.
Four years ago I became Mommy to Brayden Russell.

There was no planning a party, there were no candles on a cake
Instead of wrapping presents... I was making new floral arrangements.
There are visits with friends to Chuck E Cheese... only visits to the cemetary.
His Birthday's have lost there joy.

It's a day of reflection
A day of memories
A day of wishing
A day of of missing.

Today, even though there are tears, I choose to be Thankful.
Though there is sadness, I am Thankful for this day he was born
Though I yearn and ache for more, I am Thankful for each day, each moment of the 17 months and one day we were given
I amThankful for the memories we have.

Happy 4th Birthday Sweet Brayden... I love you so much. We miss you more and more each day. What I wouldn't give to see how big you would be, what you would be into, the excitement as you celebrate your day. I can only imagine what this day must be like in Heaven. I can't wait for the day we will hold you and party with you again.
Jesus, Please give my baby boy hugs for me today... remind him how much we love him and miss him.
Hold him... till we can hold him again.