Mommy's heart for Baby Jacob

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Remembering Jacob's loss - two year's later

I learned something this week.

Well, or perhaps I was just reminded of something.  Maybe I needed to be reminded of it actually.

About a week and half ago or so I noticed something in my quiet moments around the house.  Because of our schedule lately, quiet moments for me are often hard to come by and usually not until late at night when everyone else is asleep.  But as few as they were that busy week, they were there.  And out of the blue I felt a sadness during those times, like something was pulling me ever so gently...but it was pulling me and weighting me down with a glum feeling that I couldn't figure out and that I didn't like.  I didn't have time to be down. 

I knew it wasn't time for my period...isn't that what we typically look for?  :)  Well, surely there must be some reason for my moping around the house, I bet it's PMS.  That's the first thing I questioned.  Such an easy explanation although that didn't fit for me.  Neither did being pregnant and newly pregnant hormones, unfortunately.  So what could it be?  Why amidst the busy fall activities that we were enjoying day after day was this down feeling creeping in to my schedule?

I didn't think much about it, because like I said, my quiet times have been rare and minimal so I just brushed the nagging sorrow aside and continued with my day-to-day activities and events.  Planning, coordinating, remembering, shopping, cleaning, more planning, thinking, etc.  All in a day's work for me.

Last weekend Alex was out of town for drill and it was just the boys and I. I  had a million things on my to do list including working on things for Jacob's anniversary (and some other things which I will keep a secret for now), possibly blogging, and tackling every possible project needing done around the house.  I'm always a tad over-ambitious when he's out of town. :) 

On Saturday the boys and I joined some friends and I at our church for a Family Fall Festival and Trunk-or-Treat.  The boys had a ball romping on the playground.  All of the kids were hanging, running, chasing, climbing, sliding...and all in costume.  A snow fairy, fireman, two cats, Snow White, a goth girl, a nanny, Darth Vader, a shark and tons of other characters frolicked for hours out there.  We had a chili cook-off.  The kids filled up their buckets and bags with candy.  They made fall crafts.  We sang with the new Pastor around a bonfire eating s'mores.  We watched "The Nightmare Before Christmas."  It was such an enjoyable evening.

And then came Sunday.  It started out normal enough.  I was planning dinner for when Alex would come home.  Doing laundry.  Called my dad. 

But before I knew it, a friend of mine unintentionally hurt me.  It wasn't a big thing but it hurt all the same. I know she didn't mean it and probably wasn't aware of how her words came across but it seemed to release a lot of the sadness that I had felt building throughout the past week.  And the tears that had been building finally came.

That night my mom and I talked for two hours about every possible thing on my mind.  Every worry, fret, frustration, you name it came out.  I cried.  I laughed with my mom. I  was so grateful for her time and for doing what she always does best, making me feel better.  Eventually I put myself and that strange Sunday to bed.

The first thought that popped into my head Monday morning when I woke up was there without any conscious thinking about the night before, without any wondering about what had sent my mood spiralling, it was just...there.  I can't explain it any more than that.  Almost as if the words just marched out right in front of me one by one...

Sunday was October 21.  Two years ago on the 21st we found out the devastating news that Jacob more than likely had Trisomy 13 and would not survive to be born, let alone live much longer into the pregnancy.

That was it.  It dawned on me that that was why I had been in such a sullen state...it had been building underneath the surface all week and had to come out on Sunday.  Those feelings couldn't be kept in or quiet or stifled, they needed to come out.  It didn't matter how busy I kept myself, how many times I smiled throughout the week at all of the good things in my life, the memories were still there.  The heart knew.  The heart knows.  It always knows.  The heart will always know.

I know this is nothing new but for me it's a beautiful thing to think about and to reflect on throughout my journey as a mother, and especially as a mother to my son in Heaven.  It doesn't matter how long into my journey I will be, how much healing occurs, how well I move forward, how much I reach out to other baby loss moms...my love for my child will always be there.  It doesn't go anywhere.  It doesn't stop when your baby passes.  It doesn't weaken and fade away over time.  It stays.  It remains.  It's a part of me and always will be.  Because Jacob is part of me.  He is my child.  He existed.  He still exists, just not here with us on Earth. 

And so my love exists for him...always.

I went into the month of October, "Jacob's Month", as you may remember me referring to it, with joy in my heart and with excitement in my steps as I looked forward to all of the beautiful opportunities we had to celebrate our precious baby.  The HEAL Walk to Remember kicked off our month.  I planned our local Face2Face Dayton (part of Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope) October 15th Event, I lit candles for and remembered babies of friends of mine and I looked forward to Jacob's actual day...a day all for him...today, the second anniversary of his death.

So yes, I knew all of this was coming. I knew there would be tears.  There would be memories.  There would be joy and so much love. 

But I think to tell you the truth I hadn't been actively thinking of October 21 on or around that date.  Does that make sense?  But my heart did.  It remembered how profound that date was and always will be in our lives.  It was one of those dates which changed everything.  Our plans for our third and final baby to add to our family were cruelly halted by the news of Jacob's fatal diagnosis.  Everything stopped that day.  How could I not feel an echo of what I felt two years ago?  I had to.  My heart just reminded me, that's all.

Funny thing.  On Monday, I felt fine.  The tugging sadness that I'd felt all week had disappeared.  The challenging Sunday was now just a memory.  It was back to normal life.  I'd like to think that what happened was just a normal step along this journey.  There will always be certain times where the emotions are more intense, where the memories are more fresh...such is the nature of grief, even when healing has occurred.

And do you know what?  That is okay.  It is okay to allow those times and to feel what you need to feel.  I am so glad my heart gave me a gentle reminder to go back to that day when the doctor put his hand on to mine and said, "I'm sorry."  Two words which altered everything that day and every moment since then.  While I may not have revisited that day through remembering actively, I didn't need to.  My heart knew.  It remembered.

And so here I sit.  It is now Jacob's Second Angelversary.  Sometime today on October 25, 2010 and before 5:00 PM, my sweet little baby's heart stopped beating.  He made it 13 weeks. I was 13 weeks exactly.  I've said it before, but it brings me such comfort to know that he was with me then.  That I knew exactly when he died. 

We had faced so much anxiety, anguish, uncertainty and pain in the days from October 21 up to October 25.  We carried a lot of fear in those days too...how would we handle not knowing our baby's future, what if my life would have been at risk for carrying him, what would happen if I miscarried later, or if he passed away later into the pregnancy, or if he lived to be born but only for a few moments...so much fear and pain in those days. 

Almost the same as how my journey started with the doctor's "I'm sorry", came my OB's "Kim, I"m so sorry..." on October 25 but only after I verbalized what I saw first. I knew when I looked at the screen on the opposite side of the room amidst the silence that my baby was gone.  My beloved little flicker had stopped...the little flicker that I loved to watch in Jacob was no longer beating and my baby was still, kind of stretched out as it he had just taken a nap.

Mommy knew.  Mommy knew her sweet baby had gone home to Heaven and had opened his eyes in Jesus' arms.

So with that, I'll close for now.  I'll be back to update more on Jacob's Angelversary later.  Thank you all for being a part of my journey for the last two years.  Your support means more to me and our family than you will ever know.

My dearest Jacob,

Mommy loves you so much! I miss you and wish so much that you were here with us.  You would be 18 mos and 5 days. :)  Oh, I can't even imagine how big you'd be!  How you would laugh and squeal and cuddle with me. 

It brings me so much comfort to know that you are alive and well and happy in Heaven. I know when we are reunited some day, I won't be able to stop hugging and kissing you. I hope you won't mind all of my love for you pouring out all at once! 

Today makes two years since you left us and since you went home to Heaven.  No matter how much time passes, I will never forget you.  I will always be your Mommy and I am so honored and happy to be your Mommy. I will always remember you. I will always cherish you and the time I carried you. I will treasure your ultrasound pictures and your story. I will forever love you. 

I love you sweetie.  I always will.


We all hold you in our hearts, until we can hold you in person...forever...
Love Mommy, Daddy, Sammy and Benny
October 25, 2012
(photo taken at HEAL Walk to Remember, October 6, 2012...we were the last family in the garden)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

On the eve of the Walk...

My dearest Jacob,

Mommy is sitting here tonight thinking about tomorrow's Walk to Remember.  It will be our second Walk since losing you almost two years ago.  Sometimes it seems like an entire year has passed since our first emotional and healing experience there, other times it seems like just a short while ago that I started the event full of tension and tears, but ended it with a much-welcomed sense of peace in my heart.

I have been looking forward to this event for months.  Why?  Because I need to feel close to you.  And this event really helps me to do that.  I know it sounds dumb to like an event as something to "help me" feel close to you, and I hope it doesn't sound like I can't feel close to you without doing something like this.  But you know Mommy.  Mommy is busy taking care of your big brothers and your daddy.  It seems like Mommy is always doing something, huh? :)  So when an event as special as this comes around....something that is solely focused on you and you alone...it is just the time I need to quiet everything else and let me just be your Mommy...and let my love for you spill out of me.  You are my baby and you always will be my baby. I need to be your Mommy.  That's who I am.  I can't not be your Mommy.  It doesn't matter if it's one day after losing you or almost two years.  I will always be your Mommy and my love for you will never be turned off.  It can't.  It just isn't possible.  And so I will always be close to you.  And I will always cherish events like this where I get to focus on feeling close to you.

I look forward to this celebration of you sweetheart...tomorrow we and hundreds of more family members will remember all of our sweet babies and children who left us too soon.  We will remember you.  We will honor you.  We will miss you.  And we will celebrate our overwhelming love for each of you.  And we will cry for you.  The tears may start out heavy and weighted with sadness full of "whys" and "if onlys".  But then hopefully our tears will lighten with joy, hope and love.  I know that's my hope and I bet that's your hope for Mommy too.  I remember how at peace I felt last year watching the last of the orange and black balloons dot the sky.  It was as if my tears purged the anxiety I felt coming into this event--it was after all my first public and "official" good-bye to you in this manner. There was something that scared me about that "good-bye".  It was so official.  Up until then, we had not yet reached your anniversary so time was measured as if we had just lost you, rather than moving into the "one year later" and so on phase of loss and grief.  And so I had no idea what to expect when I came to the Walk in 2011.  I certainly did not expect to break down at each table in the parking lot while I was so tenderly greeted by HEAL Volunteers handing me name tags, balloon tags and butterflies--all on which to write your name.

Your name.  Your sweet name.  How I love to hear your name.  How I love to see your name written!  Jacob.  Jacob Alexander.  Your name sings to my heart...I try to hard to imagine what it would be like hearing your name said aloud on a daily basis as a part of our normal family routine--"Jacob needs his bath tonight," or perhaps, "What time is Jacob's doctor appointment tomorrow?"  or perhaps, "Aw, look Jacob!  Big Brothers, Sammy and Benny, are sharing their cuddly guys with you!" 

But our daily family chatter does not include your sweet name in that way...and so I cherish whenever your name does come up.  If Benny finds a giraffe somewhere and wants me to buy it for "Baby Jacob", I feel my heart smile inside.  Sammy talks of you too, just not as often as he used to.  At least not on his own initiative like when he was younger.  He is growing up; Benny too, but Sammy is starting to find his way out of the sweet, sweet innocence of younger childhood.  After all, he is a big first grader now, you know. :)

If not Benny, probably the other person uttering your name on as much of a regular basis as possible is Mommy.  Me. :)  I think of you so often, and say your name aloud whenever I can.  Just today we were riding in the car on the way to the Spring Valley Potato Festival.  The colors were so pretty!  I can't believe fall just seemed to sneak up on us as quickly as it did!  It was almost like overnight the colors started changing--bright golds, vibrant reds, warm oranges and soft greens.  Daddy had said something about the beautiful scenery along the drive and I said, "I wish Jacob was here to see this.  Although I'm sure what he is seeing is so much prettier than what we have."

Do you think that's silly when we say things like that?  How could anything ever top the sights of Heaven? I know that you have the prettiest colors imaginable there in your sights all the time. You don't have to wait for seasons, they are there whenever you open your eyes.  I guess we, I, say things like that because we miss you.  Even though I know you are so happy and at peace right now, the selfish part of me as your Mommy wishes you were here in my arms.  I wish I could show you the pretty leaves. I wish I could take you out on our upcoming fall photo shoot--the one I do every year for your brothers, and that I've done every year since they were babies.  I'd take you out this year and plop you down on a blanket of oranges, yellows and reds. You would be almost 18 months old.  Of course, I'd help make that blanket as pretty as I could by moving leaves if I had to for just the right background! :)  But then I'd sit you in the pile and let you explore to your heart's content. I'd lay down on damp earth and take tons and tons of pictures of you from every angle.  I'd look up at your sweet face and try to catch you smile with a red leaf in your hand and the bright blue sky overhead.  And then later I'd send Grandma all of the bazillion pictures I took of you and she and I would gush over every single one of them.

This is the second fall we've gone through without you, my sweet baby.  The second season where we remember losing you.  I try not to associate the beauty of the fall with the pain of your loss because I know you wouldn't want that for me.  I know you want Mommy to love every pretty leaf that falls.  And I do.  And so do your brothers.  And so does your Daddy, especially now that we live in Ohio and get to experience fall all season long.  I'm glad that what I've come to call, "Jacob's Month", is right when all of this beauty abounds.  We go to festivals.  We smell the fall scents dancing in air.  We hug each other a little closer when the bitter air sends a chill down our necks.  But through it all, you are there with us.  Because this is your month.  What better way to keep you included in everything we do and enjoy this month than to wrap all of these family events in between your events.

Take tomorrow's Walk.  We went to a Potato Festival today.  Your brothers picked out their pumpkins today.  They are nice and big too!  Perfect for Daddy to carve!  And tomorrow, we will walk for you.  Next week we will dance at Bob Evans' Farm Festival.  And then the very next day, on the 15th, we will release a balloon and light a candle for you as a part of the National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.  We will take your brothers to our church's Trunk or Treat the following weekend.  And then we will have your special day...October 25th.  See, baby?  You are always on our minds and in our hearts, but this month especially we have so many days set aside to remember you and to love you.  I think October has come to be one of my most favorite months for this reason.

Will you be watching us tomorrow Jacob?  Will you look down from Heaven and see Mommy carrying your giraffe?  The poor thing is getting beat up. His neck is getting floppy.  I don't care.  Since I can't carry you, I will carry your giraffe.  He is my little guy to hug, especially at night whenever I miss you, when I cry sometimes and just want to see you and to hold you...when I miss you.  I just wish I could see you, baby.  Just once in a dream.  It is my wish and always will be.  Just once...to see you...

Will you see Mommy with your giraffe tomorrow?  Will you see your brothers holding their balloons?  Will you see Mommy and Daddy cry together like we did last year?  I hope you see us but most importantly I hope you feel our love for you. I hope you feel it floating all the way up to Heaven on a gentle breeze that lands on your cheek like the softest of kisses.

Will you see our balloons soaring high into the sky?  Your brothers are still young and sweet enough to think that balloons reach you in Heaven.  Who am I to say they can't?  Maybe they do in some beautiful way.  Maybe they reach you as brightly-colored pockets of love that come drifting into Heaven's playgrounds.  And you will stop playing with Grandpa just long enough to look up to see our love floating right into your arms.  You reach up, grab it and it pops all over you.  You giggle feeling the warmth of our love and joy at having you for our baby boy.  Maybe a few of our tears that sneak a ride with the balloons will pop over your face like a gentle spring rain and you will turn your face upwards with a smile, soaking all of our love in.  You know how very much we miss you.  Maybe that's how it is and maybe that's how it will work tomorrow.  Something as simple and as beautiful as that.

So tomorrow sweetie, I will go on my second Walk to Remember. I will cry.  I will walk. I will hold on to my balloon until the very last second, not wanting to let it go...not wanting to let you go.  I will remember you. I will love you.  You are my baby and I am your Mommy.  Always.

Mommy loves you, Jacob.

Love, Mommy