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.