Thursday, December 31, 2009

Deeds

Joseph Henry Jean: A Good Deed... In Memory of our Beautiful Son. Joseph's life has turned out to be much much bigger than I thought. In 37 amazing hours he touched so many hearts. Because of this I have been grieving in the light instead of in the dark. To know how much he was loved would be too hard to describe. It is a feeling of joy and pride for him that shines even when the darkness of grief tries to sneak in. I had these cards made for Paul for Christmas this year. We are doing good in his name whenever we can. It helps spread Josephs message of love and hope to those that may not have as much as they need. So, when I pass a stranger I'm going to say hello. That is Joseph. When I see an older lady sitting alone, I may go to join her in conversation... That is Joseph. When I feel the need I may just buy someone a hot cup of coffee... That is Joseph. Each gift I give I will also pass out one of these cards to those that he might touch. To let them know why we are doing this deed. It is to honor what Joseph brought to us. His life was all love. His life was all hope and everyone should have a chance, even for a moment to be loved and to have this hope and life to hold on and to be comforted. I don't expect everyone to get it...and maybe they won't when they first receive this message from our son, but they will. One day I bet I get one of these cards back. Someone who was open to this love will pass along this deed of love and hope and Joseph can continue to live on in others.

Joseph can you hear mommy? What a blessing you are. I am kissing you and hugging you and sending all of my love to heaven. I love you, mommy.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Miss you


I miss you.... I miss the way you kicked my ribs. I miss the way you swung out your arms and made me run to the bathroom. I miss the way you tumbled like little tickles inside. I miss the way you hiccuped and made your hair grow. I miss the way you felt inside my tummy. I miss your bully nose. I miss your curly hair. I miss your sweet baby lips. I miss your cute little legs. I miss your fingers and toes. I miss your brow. I miss that rounded little chin. I miss the way you smell. I miss the way you feel. I miss your warm body. I miss the weight of you. I miss my son.
Joseph can you hear mommy? I miss you baby. I miss you with every ounce that I am. I love you desperately. Mommy.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Grief Sticks like Tar

It has not been very long... I don't expect miracles and for grief to end any time soon. I am only now coming to terms with the extent of it. I went in for acupuncture yesterday to start getting my body in order. It is all out of whack. I met a wonderful Doctor that was recommended by my fertility specialist. I needed to change everything I did so I could not go back to the other acupuncture doctor this time. She told me that we had a lot of work to do and I half agreed and half thought nah... lets just get started. She told me that grief is held in your lungs and we needed to get it moving out. OK I said and we began. We started out gentle with lots of healing heart needles and warming needles to try to get my circulation and liver under control. That felt good. A half an hour later she took those needles out and we Begin the lungs. As soon as the first needle entered I started to cry. Not sobs just tears started to roll down my face like a faucet. See, she said... grief sticks like tar and we have to work it out before your body can begin to heal. I left feeling cleansed and felt like I made some progress in healing of my body. The scars fade quickly but now I can attest that the grief sticks and it will take a lifetime of healing.

Joseph can you hear mommy? We are going sledding today, me and your dad are going out for some much needed silly fun. We will be thinking of you each time we race down the hill. I love you with all of my heart and am sending you a million kisses. Mommy

Monday, December 28, 2009

Gentle Healing

I got to play with a 5 month old baby girl yesterday. She was one of the happiest babies I have seen. She has 2 dimples and smiled and giggled the whole time. The pleasure I felt was so real. Somehow babies have a way of healing a heart. It is gentle the way they weave right in and can make you smile. Tiny little kisses on her cheek... a tickle of the feet. She nestled right into my chest...next to my heart. I feel like I'm healing. There are lessons I am learning every day on how to manage this grief. How to protect my heart in moments of pain. How to open my heart in moments I need to share. How to just let my heart be... sometimes. I like the gentle healing the best. It warms me from the inside out.

Joseph can you hear mommy? I imagined you playing yesterday with Priya. I bet that was you making her giggle so much. My happy baby boy.. I am glad. I love you until forever, your mommy.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I am right here


When baby Joseph Henry was inside my belly he was so active. For the longest time he was facing out toward the world. It was almost like he could see out my belly button. Ready for action. When I glided my hands across my belly I could feel the whole outline of him. I could make out his nose... his chin.. his little butt and could even feel the difference between a knee and a heal. This picture of him reminds me of just how close he was to the surface. His nose is being pushed in by the ultrasound tech. She started to laugh at this as he was mad that she squished his nose. He looks like he is yelling "hey you get OFF my nose already Gheeze.... I'm right here at the surface don't press so hard." Happy memories of my boy. I am trying to remember all of him now. As each day passes I need to go back and reach into the brain bank of all the fun things. This is one of those fun things. My beautiful baby.
Joseph can you hear mommy? I got your nose.. just kidding. I'll put it back. You are so cute and thank you for all the joy you brought to me. I love you my sweet baby boy. mom.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Somehow

Somehow I am doing "it". I am living life after Josephs death. I'm not sure really how this is... that you can go on but you do. Other mom's who have had loss said this would happen and people who have experienced death before told me it would get better. I did not believe them as I imagine nobody would when you are in it for real. But, here I sit smiling at life. My husband and I refreshed from a nice get a way. We are laughing with one another again. We are able to talk about our son fondly. There are still tears... lots of them but they don't burn on the way down my face as they once did. There are part of who I am now. So for those who want to know how I am doing "it" I can now say... somehow I just am. I am not broken... I am just really different. Just because I am living with a baby in heaven does not mean I can't be who I want to be. I still have dreams... of building a family. I have lots of hope and I believe somehow each day will be a little easier. Somehow I will come to understand completely as my life's journey unfolds.

Baby Joe Jean.... can you hear mommy? I love you. You melt my heart with pride for you and I am beaming. Love, mommy.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas

Christmas has been wonderful. We opened cards and gifts that our framily sent to us and to our son in heaven. Joseph made out this year. He got more love and his angel wings grew bigger. His Mamalene gave him a new ornament His G-mom big blessings for the gifts he has opened up inside all of us that are beyond measure. His deda, a totem of items to help guide his spirit world. His dad an I am so proud of you card and his mom a card of peace and hope. We got wishes of big love and hugs from almost everyone. A tiny token of PB&J tossed in. His auntie and uncle made a Christmas Angel and gave him his first matchbox car. Some of the sorrow has lifted... some of the churning has eased. Our son gave the best gift of all this year.. himself. Joseph Henry Jean gave us a closeness never before reached and a simple sweetness of knowing that we believe.... in him... and in us.

Joseph can you hear mommy? Merry Christmas baby.. I heard you today as daddy read the card I gave to you... you are smart and funny already. A million kisses to you. mommy.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sugar Plums

It is Christmas eve. Josephs first Christmas in heaven will be tomorrow. We are excited about the tradition we are starting for him. He is so much a part of us that we bought a stocking and hung it in between mine and my husbands. It is red with a teddy bear head on the top. We bought a pin in the letter J to mark that stocking his own. Earlier this month I asked that close friends and family send Joseph Christmas cards. Not in sympathy cards... real Christmas cards for him telling him how much he is loved. The stocking is overflowing with such cards for him. It makes it feel like Christmas is coming when I can see the stocking all puffy with loot. We are leaving to go out of town in a few hours. Time to get out of dodge and see a good show, eat a good meal and stay in a nice hotel. It will be the first time I did not wake up in our house for Christmas in 11 years. That feels liberating. No gifts under the tree this time also a relief. We will take our stockings with us to be opened tomorrow morning. I actually have that excited Christmas feeling to see what people have written to our son. We have something to look forward to and will do this every year.

Joseph can you hear mommy? Hi my little sugar plum.. your dad and I love you so much... We send you big love. In our hearts and always on our minds... mommy.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Rain

Angels cried with me yesterday. Tears from heaven streamed down from above to dampen the dry desert again. It was cold and wet and I went out anyway. I wanted to feel the drops of rain on my skin. To feel the cold on my face and in my fingers. My legs numb from the temperature. When the thunder and lightning struck I hardly noticed that was nature and not my heart breaking. The smell of the earth and the sight of the sun just past the storm... all things necessary and right so that our world can continue. Balance in the face of uncertainty... I could see my own breath as I walked to the park by our house. White clouds of air from my lungs. I had to drink it all in deep gulps. As I am getting air some rain falls directly onto my lips. Is this a kiss from heaven? Are these Josephs tears? He misses his mom and wanted to play with me in the park I am now sitting in alone. I swung on the swing and felt a colder breeze rush past. We cried together, me and the angels and I know that I was not alone.

Joseph can you hear mommy? I love you my sweet son. Tender kisses from me to you have been sent. I am holding you close in my heart. mom.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Do you have Kids...

Do you have any kids seems to be the question a lot of people ask me. I get it almost daily. I am not sure why people ask me this question so much or if I am just overly sensitive to the situation right now... Do I look like I have kids with me? Do you see any in the car with me or riding in a stroller that I'm NOT pushing? I have vowed never to ask anyone again if they have any children because you just never know how painful that is. I want to scream at them YES I have one... a son. Then I think about it and I can't really say that because then they will ask me.. How old is he? I will have to say he should be 2 months old right now but he died. There is no way I can do that to the person asking the question. I know because I've answered that question so many times recently and each time something different comes out.... The intention is to start a conversation not to make the person asking feel bad and sad. Inevitably what happens is we both feel bad after I've answered it. I have figured out that what I need to do is be prepared for all the questions I'm going to get asked. So.... I've decided my official answer is going to be... Yes, I have one... a son who is in heaven. I will try not to be surprised by this question any more and I will insure that I include the part about being in heaven as to not give any pretense that he should be with me right now. I don't like this question and I really don't like what my answer is because I shouldn't have to have a repaired answer for it I simply should have my son.

Joseph can you hear mommy? Hi sweet child of mine... I love you, Mommy.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Birthmark

I have a birthmark.. it is on the very tip of my ring finger on my right hand. It looks kind of like a freckle only it has a triangle shape to it. I have another one on my foot... etc. I dawned on me this morning that I never looked for a birthmark on my baby Joe. I wonder now if he had one or maybe two of them and I don't know where they are. I have looked at ALL of the pictures over and over in search of this one little thing and I can't find one. It is something that as a mother I should know right? I didn't get enough time with him alive to look and during the time we did have together I really did not think about it. This makes me so frustrated. Here I sit in the early morning before dawn searching pictures to find something. I'm searching for something new of him. I want something new to hold onto... to create a new memory of him with. This is a secret he gets to keep. I will never know if he had one or not.

Joseph can you hear mommy? I love you my baby boy... so much and so big. My arms are reaching up for you to receive my hugs. I love you forever, mom.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Infinity

Paul and I have tattoo's of our wedding bands. I can see his in this picture. So we can still vbe married even when we don't have our actual rings on (ha ha) People say everything happens for a reason... I now know the reason we chose to have Infinity put on our hands. The definition is a quantity without bound or end. To love someone forever. I no longer feel that death does us part... we are forever intertwined with love for our family. We needed those rings as a symbol that could show love without being bound to life as we know it. We have had almost 7 years to practice with that knowledge. Love that does not end in death. Love that is strong enough to reach up to heaven and cradle our son in it. Until Forever has new meaning.

Joseph can you hear mommy? I love you infinity... mom.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mullet

Joseph had a full head of curly black hair. When I was about 7 months pregnant I started dreaming about the baby in my belly. In this dream I had I delivered a boy and he had a full head of black hair and a mullet. Yup a mullet. That cracks me up. I in my whole life would never ever allow for such a hair do but... he was born with one in my dream and that makes me laugh. In that same dream I was caring him around on my hip while he was only wearing a diaper. Go figure. When I told my friends at work that dream we cracked up for hours about my red neck baby. This became a huge joke. Then every time Joseph got the hicups in my belly we would crack up all over again. You know the old wives tail that if the baby gets the hicups he will have a full head of hair. He would get them alright almost every day and I would say.. He is growing his mullet again... So funny.... My husbands mom told me that he was born with a full head of hair too and that he had black fuzz all over his shoulders and back. I wonder if in my dreaming mind I knew that and was manifesting a mullet. Paul's dad had a full head of curly black hair too. I often wonder what Josephs' grandad would want to be called. I guess only he and Joseph know that now. I dreamed of the two of them last night. It was very brief right before I woke up. Paul's dad was in an old fashioned rocking chair in a pair of overalls while cradling Joseph in his left arm. The two of them with all the black hair..... They were rocking together and I could hear the Lul and creek of the rocker hitting the wood floor. How peaceful.

Joseph can you hear mommy? I'm glad you and your grampa are together... Give him a kiss for me. I love you until forever, mommy.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Empty

Today feels a little empty. This week has been really emotional and now I feel like I got it all out and there is nothing left. It is kind of like an ocean how the tide of emotions, memories and moments come crashing into my heart. One day I am treading water in the depths of it and then the next I am standing on a sand bar waiting for the tide to come back in. I am now thankful for days like today where I feel a little like my old self again. My mind is clear, my body is strong and my heart is full. I actually took a deep breath. I am pretty sure I will never be the same again and it is nice to have small parts of me feel like me again but... it is so different. When did I get so old? I have an updated picture of myself taken just yesterday... My smile doesn't reach my eyes anymore. I guess that is what I mean by empty.

Joseph can you hear mommy? I stopped by your big boy place yesterday but I'm sure you already know that. The ornament and little Christmas tree are still there, they did not blow away. I miss you my son... My only child... I love you so much and I'm sending you all of my kisses today. mom.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hang on

He is in my arms... wrapped in love... holding both our hands. He was letting us know that he was ready to go to heaven. In his final moments of life, Joseph Henry showed us how to hang on. How to hang onto every second you are here... Hang onto one another... Hold tightly the ones you love the most... Hold out your hand and open your heart to everyone around you. He is an amazing kind of love. Tiny fingers with the immense strength to hold up both our hearts even when his could not longer beat.
Joseph can you hear mommy? I am holding you closely but openly and I will never let go of the hope you brought. I am hanging onto love and you are amazing. I love you deeply... mommy.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Moment

There have been so many moments of time lately where I have to stop and take it all in. I am trying very hard not to forget a single thing that happened. I don't think I will forget but just in case that is why I'm writing it all down. There was one moment when I did not think I was going to make it to the hospital to see my son in time. I knew he was dying and I could feel it happening without me. Because I was at a different hospital I had to wait to get released to go and see Joseph. My sister waiting with the car to take me... We got to the car and I got a text message from Paul. Where are you he asked? I'm leaving the hospital I am on my way I said. OK I love you. I knew things had taken a turn and I could feel the anguish in his call. As we drove toward the 51 exit ramp... another text. Are you almost here? Yes, I said and you tell them to wait. YOU TELL THEM TO WAIT. I love you please hurry is the reply. Oh my god this is really happening. Joseph is dying and I am not there to hold him. My sister dropped me off at the door. I am running down the hall. I am there. I made it. There he is.. He is holding on for me. As I arrive all of the alarms are ringing in the isolate. He is having a very hard time. The nurses change him to a respirator so that I can hold him. I am going to hold my baby for the first and the last time. I made it. He held on for me.

Joseph can you hear mommy? Thank you for waiting for me. For giving me that precious time with you in my arms. I am grateful for you and for every second you were here. I love you so much.. mom.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My baby

My baby boy is whispering in the soft cold breeze..."I love you mom". I can hear him cooing with little baby giggles in the background of rustling trees everywhere I go when I am outside..."I am safe and happy mommy" I imagine him playing with other babies in heaven. He is learning how to communicate with me. I am learning how to evolve in this spiritual relationship. I listen for him and I open my heart to whatever is going on. I have a hightened sense of everything. I can hear more clearly. I can see further. I can smell differently and I can Feel... I can feel everything. On the surface of my body there is my soul.. exposed to the senses and it is raw with emotion. My soul is reaching to touch my son in heaven but it is not there yet. Like a sound just out of earshot or an object at your fingertips just out of reach... I need practice. So I close my eyes and rock in the nursery. I hold those items I do have of Joseph very tight. His hat, his onesie, his booties and his blanket and I weep. It is not in sorrow so much now but in longing to reach him from here. I want more.

Joseph can you hear mommy? I love you and I am learning for you. My heart is all yours and I can hear you sweet baby of mine. Keep whispering to me. I love you until forever... your mom.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Lovely Letters

Since Joseph Died there has been such an outpouring of support for me and my husband. We have a good support team and are so thankful for every single one of them. It is so important to have a group of people to count on, to lean on, to cry with and to laugh with. In this very difficult time it has just been... nice. Every day I have been looking forward to the mail. In fact I found myself a little down yesterday because there is no mail on Sunday. Each day I've gotten something really lovely. A letter for Joseph for Christmas or another kind from Phoenix Children's hospital. When someone makes a donation to the NICU at PCH they send us a letter. I love to read the letters that someone has made a donation in memory of Joseph and that this money will be helping others in need as Joseph was helped when he was there. I also really love the cards for him.. I can't wait to open them on Christmas day. Everything that mentions his name or has a memory of him I cherish.

Joseph can you hear mommy? Good morning little one. I love you more than I could ever tell you. I miss you my sweet son. mommy.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Every beat

From the time we found out we were pregnant with Joseph, he was part of the family. We got so excited when we got to see the heart beating for the first time and even more excited each visit with the Dr. when we could hear the heart beating again and again. In my heart I knew Joseph was a boy. From day one I called him Gus. (we did not find out the sex of the baby) My nickname for him was Gus. I could picture him being a little tough guy in school asking all the other kids for their milk money. Not that I wanted a bully I could just picture his features. Tough and cute. A Gus for sure. I never got to have the moment that I had been dreaming of, when the baby was born. I pictured Paul in the room with me and a labor where when he arrived the Dr. would call out.. "Its a BOY" and I would cry and Paul would cry tears of joy, a BOY. I know now that even though I did not get to have that moment I got something different. It is not better but it is something so present. I got to have Joseph placed with every beat, in my heart. Now he is just as much a part of the family as I had hoped only silently. I don't hear him laugh or cry. I don't see him physically. I feel him with every Lub nub as my heart beats on.

Joseph can you hear mommy? I love you little Gus. My heart is full and warm beating for you. Our baby boy forever in my heart. I love you more than there are hearts beating each day. I love you until Forever, Mom.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Finishing the Nursery


A friend of mine at work has a very talented husband. He has been working on the canvas paintings for the nursery for some time. When Joseph died we decided that we still wanted to have the paintings finished. One of the things we really wanted to do was finish the nursery. Here is one of the paintings done. Amazing. This is the best gift we could have gotten. I feel like we really did get things done for him. Joseph would have loved this room so much. Bright colors all done in Muppet's. He was for sure going to be an animal! Finishing the nursery is allowing us to remember our son and it will also allow us to move forward just a little bit. We are going to keep the room finished until we are ready but have already started moving things around to make it different. I love turning on the light in the morning and saying good morning to my baby... Now the room feels so warm and inviting.
Joseph can you hear mommy? Do you like the beautiful paintings in your room? I know you do. You are smiling down from heaven on me right now. I feel your love. I'm holding you so close to me right now and I'm singing your song. Oh Joseph Jean, How much I love you. Mommy

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tucson

I wish we could afford to go to Bahamas for Christmas this year, but reality of not working and bills from the hospital have put us more on the path to Tucson instead. Not that there is anything wrong with Tucson but it is not Bahamas by any stretch. I finished decorating the tree yesterday. Paul has decided to boycott altogether so I was left to my own arrangement. I don't blame him it really did not feel like Christmas when putting up the ornaments. One thing I have enjoyed this year is getting letters in the mail to Joseph. Something about seeing his name on the envelope makes me so happy. I'm putting all the cards in Josephs stocking to be opened on Christmas day. We are going to bring the stockings with us and just enjoy reading each one. I am excited this will be a new tradition. I imagine that Paul and I will do this each year even if we are lucky enough to have more kids down the road I'm sure we will still stay in bed and read the cards in Josephs stocking before getting up. That feels good. So along with going to a fancy hotel... we will go to the Nutcracker. I'm not much of a ballet person but it will be good to see a show and enjoy getting out of the house. I am also looking forward to a fancy dinner with a nice glass or two of really good wine. We've got the makings of a good trip and I'm feeling good about it. Christmas in Tucson.

Joseph can you hear mommy? your stocking is filling up with a lot of Christmas wishes to you. I love you baby boy and miss you very much. I am holding you tight each time I place a card in your stocking and sending you kisses to heaven. Mom.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Marker

I've been calling about Josephs marker for 2 weeks. We got a custom marker made for Joseph that has his footprint on it. The footprint cast in plaster so we can see and feel the toes and more of him. They told us it would take 6-8 weeks. As we approach 8 weeks I figured any day now they will be calling us with the marker. Nope. Yesterday I got a message from Melchner... they forgot to order it. WHAT? How can someone forget to order something so important. Frustration is not the word here. They told me that we had not signed the final proof for the bronzed foot. So don't you think if you had a plaster cast baby foot sitting on your desk for the past 7 weeks you would think to call the parents and tell them that something had yet to be done? Don't I remember them coming to our house to have us sign said proof? I know people make mistakes but come on. I'm tired of everything happens for a reason. I want my sons marker. I drove over to sign the proof and asked that they do everything possible to get this thing done and to us so we can honor Josephs place of rest. In the back of my mind I know that it is not the marker... but it is just one thing that as his parent I can do for him and yet.. I can't seem to get it done!

Joseph Can you hear mommy? We turned on the heat last night for the first time this year. I could feel you snuggling into my lap as I dosed off in the chair. I dreamed of you in the place between awake and asleep and you looked so peaceful. I am glad for your peace and I'm sending you snugly hugs from here. I love you, baby boy... I love you Mommy.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A ring

I found something that I can have to remember Joseph. There are lots of things that I have planned to do still, in memory of...but I found a ring that is perfect. It goes on my first finger and it is really big. There is a silver curved bar and next to it an oval shaped mother of pearl stone. It looks like an angel to me. I had it engraved. There is joy in sorrow. It has Joseph Henry's name on it and when I am thinking of him my thumb touches the inscription. The ring is noticeable so I know that when I am wearing it people will comment.. What a beautiful ring. Yes I will answer thank you and I will know that I am really telling them I have a beautiful son in heaven. I think this is a nice symbol of love and peace. Peace in my heart. Hope

Joseph can you hear mommy? I am wearing the ring you helped me find. It is beautiful just as you are. What a sweet son I have in heaven. My heart is full of love for you. I miss you so much. I am sending you kisses can you catch them? I love you Mom.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Odds

The odds of what happened to me during my pregnancy are small. According to my Dr. this should not have happened at all. I had an Obstetrics Catastrophe, odds are 1 in 1 million that this could have happened. 1 in 1 million and we are the one. I was told this a while ago but it didn't really register to me how slim those odds where until I went back to the Dr. last Friday. My Dr. puts all of the babies that he delivers up on his wall in the office. You can see all the babies born when you are in the waiting room or when you check out. When I went to leave last week I looked for Joseph's picture on the wall. I could not find it. The nurse told me "we made a special place for all of our angel babies pictures". You did I said where? She said "right there in the upper left hand corner".. Oh, so I look again. Joseph is the only angel there. So of all the babies delivered to my Dr this year, Joseph Henry is the only angel. The odds sunk in pretty good as I reviewed all of the other babies pictures this year. I did not feel comforted in knowing this but then again I did knowing that the other babies are home and safe. The nurses were so proud that they had created an angel's section on the picture board. I would have rather that they just left his picture where it was... With all the other babies but, I just smiled and said thank you.

Joseph can you hear mommy? Hi baby. We lit a candle for you last night with all the other moms and dads who have angels that are in heaven with you. We said your name and read the poem your dad wrote. It was a beautiful night. Your candle shines so bright. I am sending you a thousand kisses today. Love Mommy.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Of Course

I think my baby Joe was trying to tell me something yesterday... There are a lot of things I believe in. Messages sent to us from spirit world is one those things. Christmas Service was held at Josephs Big boy place. We all went. They had a candle lighting and an opportunity for us to put a message to our loved who had passed inside a glass ornament and then place it on the tree. Check. The harpist was playing a "my heart will go on". Of course a song from Josephs service... Check All of the stage has been set for spirit world, rituals completed service began. We prayed and the Scripture reading began... I wasn't paying attention to anything really, just listening and looking around. Every person in the chapel was there because a loved one had passed and that loved one was buried in the Mariposa Garden ... that is powerful stuff. So I begin looking a little closer at the people around us. Some old, some young. Then I notice another thing... Every Single Child in this chapel today is a boy. Of Course they are. I'm not exaggerating, every single one. Then a family enters the building a little late. They sit in front of me... All boys with this family. Of course they are all boys... The mom takes her infant son and puts him up on her shoulder... Hello blue eyes. There is a cooing baby boy staring right at me smiling. He is smiling at me and my mom and my sister. Of course I cry. There is no way in the world that this family would know the pain of seeing one so young and then to literally put him inches from my reach facing me... Of course it happened anyway and my mind is drifting further toward Joseph. This is how old he would have been almost 2 months old and this is how his cheeks would have looked all filled out and sweet. My Ears perk up a little more as I am listening to the scripture reading now and then WHAM... The Chaplain speaking today in our sons Big Boy place... Chaplain Bill McReynolds...... the man who gave Joseph his blessing in the hospital before he died. I had not noticed when he first began speaking...Of course it was him.. who else could be doing this service on this day with all of the thousands of places he could be. He was in Mesa many many miles from Phoenix Children's where he first touched my heart. His words to be happy and joyful at Christmas are sinking in.... he is talking about how Joseph in the bible.... OK I'm listening my baby Joe.. I hear you loud and clear.

Joseph can you hear mommy? Merry Christmas to you to, my son and Thank you for my beautiful gift from heaven yesterday. You gave me something that I really wanted this year.. peace in my heart that you are really there. I promise to try not to be so sad now that I can feel you so deeply. I love you bigger than heaven... mom.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ornaments

Yesterday was a good day. Paul and I went to an art/wine festival in Tempe. The weather was nice and the day clear. We took the light rail downtown so we wouldn't have to drive.. We had no agenda so it was fun to just walk hand in hand looking at each of the artists. We found a booth that was making personalized ornaments for Christmas. We bought 2 of them. One for us to put on the tree and one for Joseph to put at his big boy place. They are very sweet both personalized with the year and in honor of him. It was good to do. Paul picked out the one we are putting at the memorial and I picked the one for our tree. Josephs is a heart ornament with a Santa hat hanging off of one side of it. It says Merry Christmas Joseph and on the hat it has 2009. We are going to put the ornament out today. The Mariposa gardens is having a candle lighting ceremony at 2:00. Paul and I are going and so is my mom and sister Jill. It will be nice to go there when there and decorate for the holiday. As we continued to stroll the art fest we came upon another booth selling handmade jewelry. I found a ring... It is for the first finger and it is large. There are two sides to this ring. One is a curved sterling silver bar and the other is an oval shaped mother of pearl. It is beautiful and large enough to have engraved. I love it. So.. the day was so good. We found things that were wonderful tokens of love and a new way to celebrate Christmas.

Joseph can you hear mommy? We got you a present yesterday and we will bring it today. I know you will like it because it is a big heart... filled with all of the love your dad and I have for you. We miss you baby Joe. mom

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Teaching

Today is my first day back to teaching classes at the gym. I am wondering who will come and how I will feel. The last time I taught I was still pregnant with my little guy. There are so many people there that have been with me the whole time... All of the years we struggled to get pregnant and then the whole 9 months during. Almost all of my aqua members came to Josephs service. They will be supportive today I know.. but they will also cry I am sure. I find myself consoling others a lot. Letting them know I'm OK. Am I OK? really? No... I know the answer to that one but it just seems like the only logical thing to say. I mean physically I am doing OK I know but how can I be OK when Joseph is not here with me? I'm not. Working out helps ease the heartache some. Talking about Joseph with other people who didn't get to know him helps a lot too. But being OK? I wonder what I'll answer when they ask.

Joseph can you hear mommy? Hi baby. I'm on my way to the gym today just like we did for so many mornings together. I used to joke that you were holding on to the umbilical cord while I was teaching. Were you? I know you love some of the songs I am teaching today. I remember the flips and flops in my belly. I hope you are dancing in heaven.. I'm teaching today for you.
All of my love, mom

Friday, December 4, 2009

Contents of the box

On the day Joseph died, Paul and I left PCH in hand in hand. Our hearts so heavy. We walked slowly to the car stunned. I remember feeling so defeated Our son was gone, how could this be true? Did that just happen? Yes... and I still had to go back to Banner Dessert hospital for another night. I did not want to go back to the hospital. I wanted to go home, I wanted to be in my bed with my husband and never leave there again. One of the nurses saw us coming and helped us get back to my room. We got settled in and took a few deep breaths. The nurse came to give me pain medicine and dinner.... She brought dinner for Paul to, so kind, so thoughtful. They brought in a cot for Paul to sleep on but, if you ask him he would tell you that the chair would have been much better. My room was so quiet neither Paul nor I had anything to say. Lost is the best word I can think of for that night. A few hours after we were settled in one of the nurses came to check on me... she brought me one white rose in a tiny vase. The nurses had pitched in and bought it for us. So thoughtful, so kind. Then the nurse asked if we had received a grieving package from PCH... no, not really I stated. I think they gave us some paperwork but I was not sure... Silently the nurse walked out.. Ten minutes later she came back with a Box. This box is blue for Boy.. The cover decorated with scrapbook paper and such. The saying on the box " Some people come into our lives and quickly go... Some stay for awhile and leave footprints in our hearts..... and we are never the same."
Whoa... that one thing, that tiny box, so thoughtful. Hope. Inside the box was a photo album, tissues, a candle and a few other little things for comforting. Really what I had was a place to put all of Josephs things. Somehow this box, this little box now contains everything we have left of Joseph. It is filled with love, memories and hope.

The contents of the box....
1 - His going home outfit. Green and white onsie, Green hat, green and white pants, green socks and a blanket that has doggies on it.
2 - His feet and hand prints and some of his hair we cut.
3 - The cold cap (used to stop the swelling on his head)
4 - The blood pressure cuff.
5 - The photo album, now full of Josephs pictures.
6 - An outfit that we got for him.. it says first born on it.
7 - All of the letters written to Joseph, said at the service.
8 - The tiny plastic hospital bracelets.
9 - His social security card.
10 - The tape measure used to see how long he was.
11 - A mold of his feet made in plaster.
Joseph, can you hear mommy? You came into our lives and left your footprint on so many hearts... and we will never be the same. I have all of your things in your box.. wrapped in your great grandmothers blanket.. Don't worry we kept your stuffed puppy too. I'm kissing you and hugging you so tightly. I love you.... mommy.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Big Boy Place

Baby Joe's ashes are at rest at Mariposa Gardens. It is about 3 miles from our house and I am glad that it is not too far. I like to go there while listening to music that reminds me of my son. I have two play lists saved on my ipod.. One I created for our baby and one that my husband made. Every night while I was pregnant with Joseph, I would alternate the play lists placing the headphones on my belly before saying goodnight. There were a few songs that used to make my stomach jump like butterflies in my tummy... It was Joseph dancing to his favorite tunes. He loved to hear "dance of the firefly" a meditation song from my play list. Mariposa means butterfly a fitting name for a place that is now so special to me. If you were driving in your car past this place you would never know that behind the gates is the most peaceful garden. Such a thoughtfully put together memorial. I never knew what an in-urnment was before Joseph died. It is a word that I still wish I didn't know the meaning of but, I'm happy that the gardens have in-urnments that are so perfect. When you walk into the garden you walk through a pergola hallway, partially shaded and right next to green grass. Then there is a water feature.. the sound of water trickling down and around a bend. In a giant circle made of brick next to the water is where our sons memorial is. Joseph Henry's BIG BOY place is at the top of the half brick wall... slightly around the bend from the water so you can still hear it... there is a tree that hangs in front shading him to the afternoon sun. It feels good to go there.... it is peaceful and calm. Our son, such a big boy... for one so small.

Joseph can you hear mommy? I know you can hear me everywhere.. but I wonder if I'm louder at your big boy place. I'm looking forward to getting the marker that your dad and I chose for you.... it has your footprint on it... it should be ready any day now. I love you my little one. I am holding you close in my heart. Mom..

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Cherish

10 hours after my emergency c-section I was able to see my son. I was given a pass from my hospital, the one where Joseph was born, to go to Phoenix Children's, the one where he was given great care. I had to be in a wheelchair and that was difficult. I remember it being too big to fit in the bed one area where Joseph stayed. The isolate was too tall for me to reach him so kindly the nurses lowered the bed for me so I could be with my son. Ah, the memory of seeing him for the first time imprinted in my heart. I never saw the tubes, wires, needles and blood. I only saw him. My son. My heart. I remember my husbands face when I looked up at him while holding Josephs hand, happy. I cherish those memories, those few moments when I didn't know what was really wrong with our son or that he would soon die. I thought in those moments that he would be OK and we would be OK and that no matter what happened it would all work out. Joseph Henry Jean, so beautiful. Those early moments so full of hope and life. I can still smell his breath and taste the gentle softness of his skin on my lips. When I close my eyes I can feel the pressure of his tiny hand grasping my finger. He knew it was me. I love all of the time I was with my son, but those few moments... I cherish the most.

Joseph can you hear mommy? I love you sweet little one. You are precious. I am sending all my kisses to heaven for you. Your mothers love is deep and strong.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A new kind of love

For the past 3 years my husband and I had been working on a common dream together... to start a family. Joseph was are son, our dream...reached... our happy. We were so excited when we found out I was pregnant. We celebrated each week when we would receive our little email telling us what to expect this week and what the baby was doing inside. We took pictures of my belly every Friday. We were elated when we saw him on the ultrasounds and got to guess when we though he would come into the world. When he was born our dreams came truer and we were so happy and in love. When he died our dreams died a little bit and we are trying to understand that... We have always said that we have been lucky. Lucky in love, lucky in life.... and when Joseph died, well.. we aren't so lucky anymore. We are trying to figure out who we are today, what we want, what we like and what we are doing. We need to get to know each other again... now that so much has changed. Our love is stronger... but there is a difference. We are more protective.. more gentle with one another. We need to find our fun. Before we started down our infertility path we used to have so much fun together... then things were pretty serious for a few years as we buckled down and really focused our attention to creation. month after month.. was I or wasn't I.. then shots, pills, patches and Dr's apt. That is what we did "together" for a long time. It was fun because we were so excited about a baby... about Joseph. We miss our little boy so much that we miss each other even when we are in the same room. I love my family and need to figure out a way not only to be a mom of a baby in heaven, but a wife to a man who's lost his first born son. I don't know what that looks like yet, but we will figure it out. Time to get out of town together and see what we've been missing in each other for a while... who we are now and what each other's hopes and dreams are now. A new kind of love... and I am looking forward to it.

Joseph can you hear mommy? Hi, baby.... I love you dearly and you make me smile. I am so proud of you. You are my dream come true and a beautiful one at that. You are so powerful for one so young... Thank you for sending Emma in this morning.. she snuggled in at 3 am between me and your dad and we felt your love. Sending you kisses and joy... mommy.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Stocking for Joseph

A Christmas Stocking. One of the suggestions we received from the bereavement workers at Banner Desert was to buy a stocking for Joseph. Hang it up and ask family to write notes to the baby and put them in the stocking. Then on Christmas morning, open the letters and read them out loud. I love this idea. This is what I want to do. I'm sure family will like to do this too. We need to have these things... these little things that include our son in all of the holiday traditions. I'm going to send out this request when I send out the Christmas cards this year. All of our neighbors have put out their Christmas decorations already. We see the same ones each year. I wonder if we will put our lights up. We did decide to put up the tree we have. We also decided to buy a special ornament for Joseph. I imagine that new tradition will keep going forever. It is so strange to have Christmas on the way and no baby in the house. We've never had a baby in the house for Christmas but... we should have had this year. Joseph will be here I know but not in the same way I was thinking. It seems like we should have always had a baby in the house on Christmas. Maybe next year.

Joseph can you hear mommy? Good morning baby. I love you. I gently close my eyes and see you smiling back at me. Thank you my son... already so big for someone so small. You are dearly loved. mommy

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Arizona cold

It is only 46 this morning. That is very cold for Arizona. I am not used to it. As I snuggle back in with long pants and shirt and curl into a ball with slippers and my blanket I feel comforted. This is the first morning I have not cried. It feels strange to say but, maybe being comforted and cozy helps. I still turned on the light in the nursery and said good morning.. I still sang to him in the rocking chair but no tears today. I think that is because Joseph is being comforted today. I am wondering if he found Paul's dad, his grampa and they are rocking in heaven with each other. Paul changed a few pictures around yesterday in our house and put on of his dad next to Joseph. Huh, now that I think about it... it makes perfect sense. It is cold outside but, we are all being comforted by peace and love today. Feels like the start of a good day to me.

Joseph can you hear mommy? Kiss grampa for me and tell him that I'm taking care of his son... and that he needs to hold and care for you...for me... for us....and love. I miss you my sweet baby boy but I can feel that you are being comforted. I can feel your joy and love from here. Mom.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

La Lina Nigra

I love to look at the Lina Nigra that is still on my belly. It is the line that is still there as if to say.. yes Joseph Henry was born and you did carry him 40 weeks in your womb. He was born. You are a mother... I love that line... I am so glad that is has not yet faded away. I don't want it to ever go away. I look at myself so differently now. I am the same person but, so much has changed. Have my eyes always looked this way? No, they are too knowing now and there is a pain there that has never been before. They are a deeper color of brown. Has my mouth always looked this way? No, it has a different look to it as it curves down at the ends when I am not thinking or paying attention. Has my heart always felt this way? No, it is bigger now and it is heavy...but with love. There are so many questions and no real answers. I miss my baby boy so much.

Joseph can you hear mommy? The sun is coming up and I am singing to you, can you hear it? Here comes the sun...... Here comes the sun, little darling... Its alright, its alright.
I miss you a lot, but I love you more than I miss you.

Friday, November 27, 2009

sore throat

I woke up yesterday with a sore throat. I was hoping that it was just a little scratchy from something but... nope. Today I am for sure sick. Yuck. Time for some mega vitamins and good for the body food for sure. I'm going to curl up on the couch and watch movies all day. The only thing about being home all day is that Joseph will be heavy in my mind. Not that he isn't always there now but heavy due to the amount of time I have to think. I woke up sick. Joseph never got sick. He never had a runny nose or an ear ache. That is a blessing for him but it makes me think how much I would love to care for him if he was not feeling well. If he had a runny nose I'd wipe it and if he was not feeling well I'd rock him. I miss my son. His was the heart that I would have cared for most.

Joseph can you hear mommy? I am wrapping you in the warm blanket of my heart today. It is quiet here without you. I miss you and love you so much. Until forever.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Butterball

Joseph Henry was a butterball. He was 20 1/2 inches long but had chubby rolls on his arms and legs too. He was so cute and round with cheeks you just wanted to pinch and kiss all day long. Today is Thanksgiving. I still have a lot to be thankful for. I am most thankful for baby Joe's life. It was short but, it was full. He was here to touch my sole and it touched deep. Baby Joe would not have had even as long of a life as he did have without the nurses and Dr's at Phoenix Children's Hospital. I am Thankful for that hospital. Thankful for all of the staff that treated our son and kept him safe for those short 37 hours. Those nurses our angels right here on earth. I am thankful for my husband, Paul. He is my everything. Together we will get through this different people, but more loving if that is possible of one another. I am thankful for my "heart mom" who nurses my heart. I am thankful for my sister, Jill who was by my side ever single second I was in the hospital. Who is strong for me even when she does not feel strong. I am thankful for all of my family and my friends who were there for me in my time of need and still are every day here with dinner or checking in. Without that support, that love I think I would still be in bed. I am greatful.

Joseph can you hear mommy? Happy Thanksgiving baby... I'm gobbling you up from here. I'm sending you hugs and snuggles and lots and lots of tender kisses. I miss you baby boy and I wish you were here with us today but, I am also thankful you are in heaven with no hurts or pain.. perfect. My little butterball I love you... mom.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Little Star

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.... How I wonder what you are.. Up above the world so high, Like a diamond in the sky. Twinkle Twinkle little star, How I wonder what you are. When the blazing sun is gone, when there is nothing he shines upon, Then you show your little light, Twinkle Twinkle through the night. Twinkle Twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are. In the dark blue sky so deep, Through my curtains you often peep. For you never close your eyes Til the morning sun does rise. Twinkle Twinkle little star, How I wonder what you are... Twinkle Twinkle little star.. how I wonder what you are.

Joseph can you hear mommy? I know you are the little star. You shine so bright all through the night. You shine so bright I can see you in the day... I love you more than words can ever say and more than all the stars in the sky. I miss you so much but am sending you my song... my love.. from me to you. mommy.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Shea Butter

Shea is 8 months old. She is the cutest baby and really good medicine for me. I got to watch her yesterday for more than just an hour. She was here most of the afternoon. As we played I noticed a great sense of calm around me. Just the joy of having her in the house, changing her diaper, changing her clothes and feeding her. I had fun. I was laughing and really really happy. She can stand on her own now but can't quite take a step by herself. She could if she wanted to but, she does not know that yet... It is so inspiring to watch her as she holds herself on two feet and tires really hard to take that firs step. I feel like I'm in the same boat. I'm standing on my own two feet but I don't know how to take that next step. I don't even know what the next step is or what direction it should be. For now just to be standing on solid legs is a start. Josephs death knocked me to my knees.... but, his life and my moments with him give me the strength to get back up again.

Joseph can you hear mommy? I am standing. My arms are reaching out to you and I am holding you so close in my heart. My precious little man all of my love.... mom.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Gym

The gym is my therapy. I love to go there. I love all of the people there. I love what that place does for my spirit. To me there is nothing better when you are feeling down than going to the gym to sweat it out. Yesterday I went back to my step class. This time I did not feel nervous for walking in the door. My regular steppers all still there waiting for my return. Seriously good therapy to be there. Yes we cried but mostly they were just so happy to see me and the room was lit up. I took class yesterday as I'm not released yet to teach class by my doctor. Nobody cared that I was not on stage.. they all just loved having me in the room. It is hard to describe how close you can feel to someone at the gym... I don't think anyone can understand that feeling unless they belong to mine. I don't get full release until December but, everyone will be there for my return. I can't wait for that moment when I can put my microphone back on crank up the music and GO. It just feels good.

Joseph can you hear mommy? I used to tell everyone that I bet you held onto the umbilical cord the whole hour that we did step together every Sunday. I'm thinking you did for sure. I love all of the music we used to listen to while practicing our moves for class... I miss you, my baby boy. I'm going to play all of your favorite music in class when I can return to teach. Get ready to dance in heaven. I love you until forever. mommy.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pit

There is a hole in the pit of my stomach. I feel it every day. No matter what I do I can't get rid of it. Today my pit is so big that I almost can't drink my coffee. I don't know why it is particularly large today but, I feel empty.. hollow. It was 5 o'clock when I woke (again) and the pit was rolling. I just can't sleep past 5. In the early hours of dawn I lie awake with my pit. I swallow hard and try to ebb the tide but it always wins. I am up. My body is returning to its old self physically and I bet that has something to do with my pit. My stomach is almost back to the pre-pregnancy feel. My muscles are returning to shape. I can see the transformation in the mirror. I long to still be pregnant. I find myself Wishing and hoping that Joseph was still safely inside my womb and not gone. This pit is stubborn, but I am too. I calm my pit with deep breaths and slowly I am able to rise. Another day to face.... am I ready? I am.

Joseph, can you hear mommy? I miss you. I love you until forever.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Earth mom

Even though baby Joe is in heaven, I'm still his mom. I've never been a mom before. I thought for sure there would be challenges but none could prepare me for being a parent to a child in heaven. I turn the light on in the nursery each morning and I sit in the rocking chair. To my right is the changing table, not a diaper has been changed. Instead it is now a shrine to Joseph with cards and pictures sprinkled about. The plaster casting of his feet all I have to feel of him. There is a box of his things from the hospital with the outfit we put on him. I touch the hat, the onesie and the little booties that almost didn't fit his large feet. Pride beams into me at how big he was. I look at his pictures and hold the plastic bracelet that once linked me to him as his mom while we were apart. I look at the crib all set up. It is filled with blankets from his great grandmother, grandmother and me, his mom. My eyes still dry I begin to sing to him. Oh, Joseph Jean... How much I love you... For now that is all I can do as his mom. Honor his things, sing silly songs and hope he can feel me loving him deeply.

Joseph can you hear mommy? Good morning my sweet son. I love you so much baby and I'm kissing your sweet lips and cheeks from here. Can you feel them? There was a warm breeze yesterday that I felt when walking... I know that was you, answering me back that you love me too.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Kindergarten

25 little kindergarten students did more for me in 2 hours than they will ever know. I went to kindergarten the other day to help with some arts and crafts projects. I needed to go somewhere with a lot of laughter and spirit and boy, they have some serious energy. With thanksgiving around the corner it was time for the kindergarten class to do the proverbial hand print turkeys. I got to hold each child's hand and paint the palm and thumb brown for the turkey and each tiny little finger got an individual color for the feathers. Every time I held another child's hand my heart would sing. It was so sweet. Most of the kids thought it "tickled" and it was so cute to see them giggle and wiggle while I painted their hands. As each child made their card to mommy or daddy I wondered... Would that mom and dad cherish this child's hand print as I do my sons little feet print? Is this just another art and craft project that will eventually be tossed in the trash because they already have too many? If only that parent knew... how much I wish I could have that hand print... that turkey.. that moment when my child came home with pride to show me what they have made, maybe they wouldn't take it for granted. I know most don't.. but some will. I'm jealous of the moments those parents get to have. I know in my heart that we will try again and I am hopeful that we will be successful... but, we had our son and should be making turkey hand prints with him for our family to have on Thursday..... and it hurts that we won't. It hurts that we have to remember him instead of holding him in our arms and having him with us. It just hurts. When I feel this pain I will always dive back to my fresh memory of kindergarten class. My heart lifts again as I see those little kids faces when the turkey appeared on the page and they were so proud. My ears perk up when I hear the laughter and I know that big things are in store for each one... and me.

Joseph Henry can you hear mommy? Did you get the turkey hand print that I made for you? I put it at your big boy place and I hope you like it. I love you so much and I am thankful for you every day. I am so thankful for you and my time with you. You did so good. I am proud. All of my love, mom.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Banner Desert

What an amazing place Banner Desert hospital is. That is where I gave birth to Joseph Henry. He didn't get to stay there as they flew him to PCH along with my husband but I had to stay... and the nurses were amazing. They knew just what to do and say during my time there. I went back to the hospital yesterday. I got the same welcome that I had received the morning Joseph was born. This time, however, I was going to the maternity grief counselor instead of to a birthing room. As I passed the room I was in while I recovered from my C-Section I felt some shock to my body but, that is not where Joseph was so that passed pretty quickly. Next to my room was the nurses office who is the grief consultant. She has pictures on her wall of a lot of angels. Now, Joseph's is on the wall too.. He is so chubby in his pictures. I was there to get the luminaries that my husband and I made in early November during our first parents support group. They are so beautiful and mean so much to me. While I was collecting our luminaries another woman was there for hers. I recognised her from our support group. She and I started sharing our story of loss. We connected on a different level than most. Our stories are so different for loss but, the same when it comes to infertility. She also has infertility and like me had gotten pregnant with IVF. When it comes to pregnancy and loss with infertility it is a different beast. It makes me so mad that myself and others have to have this weighing over us. It is like a Looming hurricane that is hovering over a thunderstorm that is already pounding in my heart. My son died. Everyone knows that is the worst thing that can happen to a parent and I know that is true. Everyone other than those that suffer from infertility seem to think it is OK to tell you " try again soon" you will get pregnant right away I'm sure. ... That is not the case. I'm not ready anyway, but even if I were I will need months of preparation, fertility treatments, drugs, needles and a Dr's help to get there. It has been a year since the woman I spoke with yesterday lost her twin babies. She just went through a cycle of IVF for the first time since it happened. The IVF was not successful for her.. Her hurricane has hit land. I know her pain well. She was still going strong and I could see the fight in her eyes that she had not given up hope that it would happen for her. It made me understand this journey is longer than even I can see... but that hope keeps you going. Banner Desert will forever be a place I hold close. I could not do this without them. They are bringing me out of the dark and helping me meet people I can share with as well giving me tools to guide me to a new path. I am so hopeful that my hurricane dissipates into a tropical storm and turns out to sea instead of land. That the thunderstorm in my heart parts into a rainbow. Hope is a beautiful gift. We lit the luminaries last night and watched the light dance inside the carved area's we made. So beautiful and soft.... warm hope filled the room. Love enveloped me.
Joseph, can you hear mommy? Our hope for you was so strong. It still is. Our love for you grows bigger every day. You are our son and we are proud parents. I love you and I miss you and I thank you for being my baby, my hope. Love mom.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tears

Tears are a funny thing... they used to be so hard for me to shed. Now they spring into action at any given time. They come in small spurts and in big blob drops. They stain my face when they stream down my chin. Sometimes they are like a blinding river and other times a tiny mist. The tears I shed are comforting and painful all at the same time. They are cleansing and fill me back up again with grief. I never know what tears are coming. I don't ask that question any more, I simply let them fall. I miss my son. We went to his memorial last night. Josephs big boy place. It should not be that he is gone. There are no answers as to why this happened to him. It makes it harder not to be able to blame anyone or anything. It just "is". I wish I could point a finger in anger but there is no one. So, I swallow hard and once the tears dry again I open my heart up for love, for hope and for Joseph Henry. I'm not afraid of crying anymore.
Baby Joe, can you hear mommy? I know you can. You are my sweet angel, my first born, my only babe... The love for you stronger than words and bigger than tears. The open for you in my heart large. Come on in and let me fill you up with my love. Come on in and let me hold you in my heart. I will always love you, mommy.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dinners

Paul and I have been so fortunate to have so many friends... I am stunned by the outpouring of support that we have received. One of my friends set up "dinner" for us... We have been getting dinner made for us every other night since Joseph passed. It has been so nice. It is such a little thing but makes the world of difference to us. I love that I have not had to go to the grocery store in a month. Last night we had white chili in bread bowls. YUM. There are a lot of people out there that are talented cooks. I don't know how to thank everyone enough. I know that they will always be in my heart.. and a part of Josephs forever.
As the dinner list slows down I find myself wondering what to do for dinner.. We have people lined up to come until 11/28 and then what? I know, we go back to our regular dinner routine.. I don't want to. Somehow having everyone reach out and come over has helped me so much. It keeps Joseph at the front of every one's mind, not just mine. I know that he has touched so many lives.. but I want him to be remembered all the time. It is just dinner to most but it is more to me.

Joseph Henry, can you hear mommy? I remember the first dinner we had when I found out that I was pregnant with you. Your daddy and I were proud of you from day one. You were a fighter your whole life. I miss you so much and I love you even more. I just wish that we were all sitting down to dinner together.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A month

Time has gone by very quickly.. and yet so slow. It is hard to explain the feeling it have. It is like running in place. My whole life has changed. My son died 1 month ago today. That sounds so strange to say. I shouldn't have to say it. I should be hitting the first month milestone with laughter instead of tears. I should be calling everyone today to tell them Joseph smiled for the first time. I sit here today wondering so deeply about him. Would he be serious like his dad or a jokester like me? Would he still look so much like us or would he change to his own looks? I look at the empty nursery and am stunned. It just is not fair.

Joseph, can you hear mommy? I love you so much. I miss you and I can't stop thinking about you. Are you smiling? I am sending you a big 1 month old kiss right now. My big man already.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dreft

I keep using the dreft. For some reason the smell of the baby laundry soap brings me closer to Joseph. It is like keeping his smell on me or near me at all times. Yesterday I washed the sheets to our bed in it. I love that smell. Somehow though it feel cheated that I'm smelling the soap instead of inhaling the sweet sent of my son. I miss him so much that I can sometimes not even think.. my heart reaches for him.
Joseph Henry, do you hear your mommy? I love you just is not enough. I miss you words don't give justice to the urning in my heart for you. Daddy and I still don't understand what happened or why. We never will. We can only tell you that you are our son and that love is all we have. We are together forever.
I am humbled and raw with emotion. I will keep going.... and hoping for us. Patience.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Horoscope

Joseph Henry's horoscope today read: You put out a healing vibration. Those who are in quiet pain, psychic or otherwise, will gravitate toward you. You might not realize when someone is made well by the energy you emit.

baby Joe, can you hear mommy? I'm soaking up all of the healing vibrations you are sending today. I am holding you close as you are guiding me to be made well today. I love you and I miss you and I wish you were putting out healing vibrations here, next to me but I know you are doing the best you can from where you are.

Mommy's horoscope today : You will have a new found awareness of the necessary order of things. This will bring welcome peace to you and those around you.

My beautiful baby boy. Thank you for my peace today. You shouldn't have to be the one guiding me but I know you have a higher power now in heaven and the ability will only grow stronger.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Dogs

This morning I felt the slightest wet nosed touch on my arm around 5:15. It was Emma the lover lab who was at my bedside. I think she was there because she felt Joseph and I was not awake yet. She almost doesn't touch you when she wants you to know she is there, I call it Emma nudge. She is the sweetest dog and I love it when she cuddles with me. I was awake but did not feel the same thing she was and gratefully I fell back to sleep until 5:45. She jumped on the bed and snuggled in. This is so not like her to do. I wonder what Joseph was telling her.. Go get mommy up and then.... mommy needs your love and a hug from me right now? I think so. I got the sweetest kiss from Emma this morning and I think it was from Joseph Henry. He was asking her to kiss away my tears that simply slide down my face every morning without warning. She did. Dogs have a way of just knowing and I am so thankful for our Emma.

Joseph Henry Jean... do you hear mommy? I got your hug and kiss today. I felt your love from Emma. She did what you told her and I only wish you could be here to feel how much she loves you too. I miss you baby and I love you dearly. Keep those kisses and hugs coming. I'm sending you mine from here can you feel them?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Retail Therapy

I got to go shopping yesterday. There is something so therapeutic about going through all of the clothes in the 80% off rack at Kohl's. My body has changed and after Joseph was born the only thing I could fit into was my sweat pants and my husbands big tee shirts. Because of what happened there was no way I could put on my maternity clothes. It did not seem right or fair and those gave me way to many reminders of happier times with baby Joe in my tummy. So my heart mother took me shopping and we had a really fun time. I'm not sure how that store stays in business because we did some major damage in there and even though the clothes were being treated to me I still am very frugal with how money is spent. By the time we were done we were both exhausted! Janet even told me she was sore from trying on all the clothes.. I am not surprised because we hit up every fitting room in the place. I think that everyone should do a little retail therapy it lifts up your spirit and makes you feel like a woman again.

Joseph can you hear mommy? I dreamed of you last night very briefly. You were giggling with me. I love you and miss you and am holding my heart open for you. Come on in.. giggle with me some more.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Every body's baby

Joseph will always be my little baby boy... forever. Yesterday's email I got from Kristin Shcoop touched me very deeply. I had not talked to her or seen her in 15 years. She had the courage to write to me and say that she thought about me every day... and Joseph even more. She has 3 boys of her own. She told me she felt protective of Joseph and as a mom of boys proud of him in her own way. She asked my story and told me she would like to listen if I was willing to talk. I felt compelled to tell her everything. That was good to do. When I started to write back to her I realized that Joseph is every body's baby. He is our son. He is the grandson to my dad.. my mom.. Paul's mom.. and to my mother in my heart. He is the little boy to all of the "old ladies" at the gym.... He is the baby to Kristin in her heart and in so many others... He is love.... he is hope... and he is all of ours forever. It is comforting to know that he reached out and touched the lives of so many... and we will never be the same. That is powerful.

Joseph can you hear mommy? You have touched the lives of so many people. SO many mommy's... daddy's.. aunties and more. You have stretched your love into every body's hearts.. I am proud of you. I love you and I miss you and I will love to until forever.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Baby things

We have a lot of baby things around our house. Pack -n-plays, rocking horses, swings and so much more. Paul and I used to care for a little baby, Shea in the mornings while her mom taught pump class at the gym. She would come over before 5am and stay until 6:30. Paul and I would take turns getting ready for work and playing with the baby. We loved that routine and thought of it as good practice for when our baby would arrive. She is 8 months old now and her mom gave up her morning classes a while ago. We have not taken care of her since the end of September. Needless to say we had a lot of baby stuff out in the living room for her to use. She never did get a chance to use the pack-n-play but it was out and ready for her.... and then we left it out and ready for us.

Last night we were able to put a few things away. Not far, just into baby Joe's room, but away. The pack-n-play came down and the tummy time floor mat rolled up. The rocking horse that played silly little songs, all now tucked back into the nursery. That was good to do and hard to do. No longer when you come to my house will you see those things in the living room as if expecting there to be a baby, or one coming. We needed to move forward from the day baby Joe was born just a little bit. Today I'll clean that room and set it back to the way it was before we watched Shea and before I was pregnant. It is good to do, but it does make me sad. The room looks so adult and bland. I think I'll add something there... Joe's baby pictures to fill the spot.

Joseph, can you hear mommy? I'm loving you... and kissing you and keeping my heart open and full of you. Is that you in the morning that wakes me softly at 5? Are you looking for Shea too? I love you and miss you so much. You are beautiful.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Brighter moments

And may the future hold brighter moments... I held the brightest moment in my life, my son. I had him in my arms and the world was perfect. I can still feel how heavy he was. I can smell him. I can feel the soft smoothness of his skin and the striations that were on his feet. Everyone I know has been so helpful, so healing for me but, when they tell me that the future will have brighter moments I doubt that. I had mine and I never want that to change.

I saw this post on someone Else's web site the other day. It stopped me and I know the answer...

Once A Mother

A man who has lost his wife is called a widower.
A child without a parent is called an orphan.
But what of a woman who's only child has passed?
What am I to be called?

... I still want to be called " a mom" and we are still a "family".

Baby Joe can you hear mommy? I bet because I've been talking to you all morning. My arms are wrapped around you and I'm holding you so close. I'm kissing your sweet face right now and loving you. I miss you, my sweet baby boy. I love you so much.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Acquaintance's

acquaintance's don't know you but know enough about you that they know something is wrong. Like the guy at the checkout counter at the grocery store that see's you all the time but doesn't know your name. They know that you were pregnant and they see you again but don't know what is wrong. There is an old lady who comes to our house every month for her church. She goes to all the houses on our street. I usually just open the door and accept what she is offering... smile and tell her to have a good day. She came yesterday to see how me and to see the how the baby was doing. She remembered I was pregnant last time she came by... I had to tell her that Joseph died. It is hard to tell someone who you don't really know but they are in your life because you see them. I found out her name is Doris and she was so kind. We cried together and I don't even know her. I got caught off guard. There are a lot of acquaintance's in your life. I think now to ask what thier name is. People are so kind.

Oh Joseph Jean.. how much I love you. There is that song again. I love to sing to you baby Joe. I hope you can hear mommy's love in her song. I hope you are happy today and that you are feeling the love me and your daddy have for you. We put your pictures up and we talk about you all the time. You are so loved.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Growing Stronger

I wake up at 5 am every day.... I used to just get up right away.. early I know but I've always been a morning person. I'm not ready to get up at 5 now but I still open my eyes and wonder for the day. I try to go back to sleep or at least not let the dogs know I am awake (somehow they always know) I think they can feel my eyelids open. This morning I just took some deep breaths and slowly let my racing heart fade back toward rest. I managed to make it to 6 before I actually got out of bed. It felt better to be there in the still and dark listening to 2 dogs snore and to see my husbands chest rise and fall.

I'm working on my connection to baby Joe. I feel him the most in the morning. Instead of being overwhelmed I"m trying to let him in and open my mind and heart to his love. I know he is in heaven but still all around me. I know that I can't hold him but I can have him held in my heart if not my arms. I miss my son. I simply and quietly wish he was here physically... but I will work on having him here with me in hope and love.

Joseph, can you hear mommy? I know you can as I felt you smile on me today and warm my heart to help me start the day. I love you so much.. I love you so much that I can't do anything else but love you. I hope you have a good day today and are playing with other angels in heaven. I will never see you smile... I will never hear you giggle and laugh but I know you are.. I know you are.. I love you my beautiful son.

Friday, November 6, 2009

NILMDTS pictures

We got our pictured today from NILMDTS. I have to figure out how to burn them to a CD so I can post them. I will forever be grateful to Jacqueline Hanna. She was our volunteer. The pictures are such a gift. She captured that "moment" the one that you keep remembering over and over in your mind and loving... I can't wait to get a printed copy of that picture to frame and have and hold onto.

Joseph, can you hear mommy? Your pictures came to us today and they are so beautiful. I love you so much and I miss you. I am happy that we have these pictures of our time together and I hope you can feel how much love I have for you..

Thursday, November 5, 2009

13 Ribs

Baby Joe had 13 ribs. You are supposed to have 12. I think that is the neatest thing. He grew extra. His nails were so long that they needed a trim right away and his big toe on the right foot had a callus on it where he used to rub my rib raw from the inside. He loved to play hide and seek with his daddy. Paul would go to feel my belly when he was being really active and as soon as Paul would put his hand on my belly..... the kicking would stop. That used to make us laugh a lot.

I'm trying something new today.. going to go for a walk as soon as the sky is light enough for the street lights to turn off. I want to get out of the house before the morning overwhelms me. Sometimes I still think this is a bad dream and I'm going to snap out of it at any moment. I know that I've got to face the day so maybe walking early will help. I wish I was well enough to run. I'd like to run until my legs fall out and feel the wind on my face from going so fast. Soon enough I know... soon enough.

Joseph, can you hear mommy? I miss you so much and I love you even more than you will ever know. I hope you are warm and can remember how I held you in my arms. I'm hugging you right now from here. I'm kissing your cheeks and I'm holding your head against my chest. You are loved.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Good Grief

This just sucks. I am sad. My sister just called. She was supposed to come out and help with the baby next week. Now there is no baby and I don't know what to do. She wants to be here with me to help and to hold but I just don't know if I want her to come. I am not alone but am alone. It might be good to have her here. At the same time I don't know if I want anyone staying with me at my house. I feel selfish that I want to have my time.. my mornings to grieve to cry to just be alone in the silence. She only wants to help and to have the same oportunity as the rest of the family got. to help and to be here for me. I understand that. I have to call her later. We should be planning on what we are going to do while she is here with Joseph and instead I question weather or not that I want her to come at all. Uggg.

Joseph, can you hear mommy? I miss you so much and I love you even more. I want you back. I know I can't have you here but I want you to be. It is not fair. I am sad. your mommy misses you so much and she is hugging you so hard from here. I am kissing your eyes and lips and nose. I hope you can hear me. I hope.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Luminaries

Last night Paul and I went to a Parents support group. It was the first time we were in a group setting where everyone there already knows how we feel. There was a couple there that lost thier daughter Grace the same day Joseph was born and at the same hospital. They already knew that their daughter was not going to live as she had passed in the womb and was born still. They were so kind. I felt connected to them as we heard the story of what happened. This is a terrible club. But a good one for your heart. I miss my Son. My heart hearts every time I try to wrap my head around this terrible thing.... and yet I know I can't and that I just have to be with the feeling... the moment and the time.

We walked into the group feeling sick to our stomaches.. Or at least mine was and we saw they had set up some type of art project for us. Slowly the room filled and we began to understand what we were doing there. Making Luminaries for our babies. We each got a piece of clay and began to roll it out to take any shape we wanted. Everyone is so creative and expressive and it was a good way to carve out a little piece of your heart into clay. Our hands got dirty and the molds took shape quickly. Mine has a little foot on it and a big JOE on the side with a heart. Paul made a big sunshine with lots of rays of light coming in. He surprised me on how creative he is. I think it helped that we had something to do and that we could share if we wanted our story or not. I did say what I could.

What a good way to start this journey into the unknown. Next month we go back to pick up our luminaries and to light a candle for our baby in the garden at the hospital. I can't wait to have mine and to see how it looks once it was fired and dried. I can't wait to have something to hold and to light and to see. I love my son. Joseph can you hear mommy? I love you so much and I will light that candle for you so you can see me... and daddy. We will be there together honoring you and loving you. I don't know why I look up when I talk to you. I can feel you all around me.