Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving: If not thankful, grateful

This going to be weird. What was supposed to be our first holiday with our son turned out to be our first without him.

Last Thanksgiving, we'd really just started talking seriously about when to have kids. We'd decided that 2012 would be it. It's crazy to look back at how different our lives are now. I never would have guessed that we'd get pregnant so fast. And I never would have guessed that we'd have a son...and then lose him, in the very same year.

So much has changed.

It's hard for me to talk about being thankful right now. I'm so bitter. I'm still hurt, and I don't know how to make this go away. In all honesty, it won't. Luke will never come back. But I have my better days. And I'm thankful that the really terrible days seem to be making fewer appearances.

There's Jeff. My rock. I'm not convinced I would have survived labor if Jeff wasn't there with me through every terrible step that we took that day we lost Luke. I literally told myself I had to make it through this...for him. If for no other reason than I couldn't possibly leave him alone. In some ways, I feel like losing Luke has brought us closer together, and I hate that that's what it took.

I say that a lot. There's so many things I've learned since losing Luke. I had no idea just how many people cared about us before this. I had a charmed life before. We have friends and family who we obviously know cared about us. But the depth?

There's our immediate family and closest friends--Who walked every terrible step of this journey side-by-side with us, and shared so much of our grief in those hours and days immediately after everything happened. Luke's death...hurt them as much as it did us. All those expectations of life in the future...were nearly as shattered for them as they were for us.

I know I still haven't answered many of those messages and emails and text messages that I've gotten from many of you in the past couple of months. Just know that they haven't gone unnoticed. Every single one came through. And I'm so grateful to all of you that have reached out to us. Who brought us dinner. Sent us cards.

I feel so lucky to be able to call Gallup my other family. And the same goes for Jeff and his coworkers. Things could have been so much more difficult for us had we not had such an amazing support system of friends where we work.

Then there's everyone who donated and walked for Luke's team for the OC Walk to Remember. I still can't comprehend how much support there was. For walking with us. And for all of your donations made in Luke's name. The day Ali set up that page for us, and we saw everything rolling in, even from some of YOUR friends that we didn't even know? It was a ray of light in our terrible journey. It restored my faith in humanity, honestly. The outpouring of love and support from so many people touched us so deeply.

Through this blog, I've read about so many other families that have gone through the same things we have. Every story is sort of different, but it breaks my heart that this happens to other people too. But I find strength in reading your stories. We're all in different places in our journeys through grief, but I'm so glad we have each other to relate to. No one should know this pain, but I'm so thankful that I'm not the only one carrying it and sharing it.

This is our first holiday without our son, and I'm still trying to figure out how to navigate my way through this phase of my life that I never saw coming--Never made plans for.

I feel cheated and sad and angry that Luke was stolen from us. But if there's anything I can ask of all of you who love us and's to remember him. Remember his birthday each year. And all that could have been for him. I wish every day that this could all be different, but I know that none of us can ever change it. We'll forever have an empty seat at our Thanksgiving table without him. And that hurts my heart.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Back to the Grind

I went back to work Monday.

It's a strange feeling, going back to something that's completely the same and yet totally different at the same time. Another one of those situations I've often found myself in lately that's a complete mindfuck.

I'll admit that it was easier than I expected it to be. That's probably due to the fact that I work with an amazing group of people, many of whom I consider my best friends. In many ways, my work is my home, and I guess I'm lucky to have a place that I can call work AND home. Knowing that...made it easier.

Everyone was amazing. It was really great to see everybody in person, and thankfully, there wasn't much awkwardness.

The work part, though...That part was harder to get back into the swing of things. My brain definitely has a much harder time focusing on things now...Every once in awhile, I just stop. There's a part of me that feels like work is just...stupid. Caring about deadlines and graphs and data...Why? None of it seems as important as you were to us. It isn't.

It's like you've left a permanent imprint on my brain, Luke. You're there, at the forefront of my mind even when I'm not actively thinking about you. I hope that never goes away.

2 Months Without You

Today is your 2-month birthday, Luke.

I can't believe it's been 2-months since we lost you.

Things seem less debilitating today than they did a month ago. I miss you so much, though. I wish I could be posting a picture of you in a cute onesie with a big "2 Months" on it today. It would be big, too, cause you'd definitely be a big guy by now.

Today I'm finding that the tears come a little bit slower than they did just a month ago. But they don't hurt me inside any less. Trying to get used to the idea that I'm still your Mom, just without you? That's still the hardest part to comprehend. Sometimes I still feel like we're just waiting for you to make your appearance. That you'll show up soon. But then reality comes back around, and I go into your empty room and see everything that's still waiting for you. That's our reality. We'll always be waiting for you.

That hole in my heart will always be there for you.

But the one thing I'm thankful for most right now, is that somehow, I feel you're sending me strength to get through this. I've somehow avoided crumbling into pieces after losing you (at least so far). Part of me feels guilty that I'm not.

But then another part of me is proud that you gave that to me--You gave me that strength. And that makes you the best son in the world right now.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Last few days of #captureyourgrief

The last week of October turned out to be kinda rough for me.  I really wasn't in the mood to finish doing this, but I wanted to finish the challenge eventually, so here we go...

Day 26: Their Age

I took this picture of my cankles the day before we went to the hospital.  Luke was born and died at exactly 39 weeks gestation on September 10, 2012.  It seemed impossible--if we made it that far, that we could have lost him. 

Day 27: Artwork

Pretty early after we found out we were having a boy, Jeff and I agreed to do Luke's room in a Star Wars theme. One of the first few things we bought was a Wampa rug off of, and just a week before we lost him, we'd finally gotten these prints hung up that we had found on Etsy. I'm in love with them, and I wish he could see them.

Day 28: A Memory

There are so many memories I have, this being my first pregnancy. I can almost replay the entire thing back in my head--nearly week by week. I hope I never forget these memories, because playing them back in my head is all I have of Luke.

At about 18 weeks, we found out we were having a boy on a Wednesday, and then the next day, we went to Coachella, AND celebrated Jeff's birthday that weekend. There was so much to be excited about then. Jeff was so excited we were having a boy, and we talked about the possibility of someday bringing him to his first Coachella with us. We got him his first concert tee that weekend, too. So much to look forward to.

Day 29: Music

Pearl Jam's Light Years pretty much sums up the way I feel about losing Luke. I can't even think of one that's by any other artist that hits it on the head as well, and...well, it's fitting. We had they lyrics printed in the program for Luke's service, and to this day, I still haven't found a more personally-fitting song that we could have used.

Day 30: Your Grief – Tell The World

I don't want to be here feeling this. It's the last thing that was supposed to happen to me in MY LIFE. Nothing can prepare you for these feelings, but the one thing that we have going for us is knowing that so many of you care...and were/are there for us when we need/ed you. I know I'm a strong person, but this has shaken me to my core, and without your love and support...I don't know what this would be like. And I don't want to.

Day 31: Sunset

I kind of cheated and didn't take a picture on October 31...It was a bad week for me, and I was actually at my acupuncturist's office as the sun went down anyway...So I took this picture earlier this month--when we headed to Solvang/Santa Barbara to get away from everything. I've neglected my photography skills for a year or so now, and I decided to try to get some sunset pics on a sunset sailing cruise we took through the Santa Barbara harbor. It was a gorgeous sunset, and I could feel Luke shining down on us the whole time...I somehow managed to perfectly catch the sun setting inbetween the sails on this sail boat. I love this picture. It's beautiful and peaceful. Now if only I could find that within myself.