my journey through the loss of my first son and the life of my second

Monday, August 23, 2010


I am 31. Today.

Yesterday Ken said to me, "I just don't know how I am supposed to act tomorrow. I know you miss Trent and you don't want to celebrate." The truth is I have no idea either.

This weekend I went hiking with a friend down in Alpine, TX. First - let me say I spent a lot of summers camping...but, I'm not really the outdoorsy type. Second - hiking in Florida meant walking a long way across flat land. In Alpine, Texas it means hiking up the side of a mountain. Third - I really enjoyed myself. I didn't mind getting dirty as we hiked. Did I mention it was raining on us and the path was slick with mud? I didn't mind the burn in my legs. I amazed myself that I could keep up. I almost backed out at the last minute and waited at the bottom. I didn't want to slow the group up. But, I made it. I kept up. And, it was well worth it. We hiked into the the mountain to two different waterfalls. It was amazing. They were beautiful. I am always in awe of God's creation when I get into it. The climb was beautiful. It was wet and dirty and hard work...but, I made it to the top and really did enjoy myself. On the way up the friend I went with got a tick on her arm. It didn't get to attach. She was able to pull it off before it did. Later in the day I also found a tick on my arm. I was able to pull it off before it attached to me. (thank goodness!!!)

Last night as I was falling asleep I was thinking of the first and only time I have ever had a tick attached to me. I was in kindergarten. I am old so way back then I went to half day kindergarten. I was in the afternoon session. I remember it was time for me to take a bath so my mom could take me to school and I ran out from the bathroom screaming I had a spider stuck to my arm. My mom tried and tried to pull it off. She called my dad and asked what she should do. (This was before the Internet so she could not just google it.) My dad told her to put Vaseline on it. That didn't work. She tried pliers. That didn't work. She finally called her mother-in-law, my grandma. My grandma told her to spray it with hairspray. That didn't work. My grandma then told her to put butter on it so it was slick. That didn't work. And, if you are picturing a calm 5 year old waiting patiently as her mom tries to pull this nasty thing would be wrong. I was hysterical. I was crying. I was kicking. I was in full brat mode. My grandma finally told my mom to burn it off! Hello!!! I was only five but even I knew that was a bad idea! She wanted to put the wick of a candle up to my armpit and burn this little bloodsucker off. I am pretty sure my dad was home and this point...because, I remember being held down to do the burning. I remember my mom holding the phone on her shoulder and the candle in the other hand. She was crying, I was crying, the tick I am sure was crying. She burned the thing off. I was traumatized I am sure. But, the point of all this nonsense is that she had no idea how to handle the tick situation. And, yes I did miss kindergarten that day. I am sure that is why I am bad at math to this day.

I know you have heard that old saying that kids don't come with a handbook. Well, duh. But, the thing is in most families there is an older, wiser parent to turn to. My sister's can call my mom when one of their girls falls and bumps their head. My sister can call my mom when Aubree will not nurse. My mom could call her mom or my dad's mom and get ideas to get a tick off me. But, I don't have that luxury. There sure is not a handbook that comes when your child dies. (Right now I just got the image of Bettlejuice and that "Instruction Book of the Dead" in my head.") There is no manual that tells you that the happiest day of your life will also be the worst. There is no page in the baby books that says what to expect when the funeral director asks if you would like your son cremated or buried. There is not a number I can call when the grief takes me over so strongly that I don't want to take another breath. There are not people giving me help in the store with a crying infant. I am not googling how to help a colicky baby sleep. I am lost...with no idea of how it is all supposed to go.

So, when Ken said last night he didn't know how to act either. How do you celebrate when the thing you loved the most is gone? How do you smile when world has stopped for you? How? I don't know. But, I am trying to figure it all out.

One year ago today we created Trent. One year ago today the journey began. One year ago today I was still naive enough to think the world was a good, fair place.

Oh the difference a year can make. A year later and I have loved more than I knew I could. I have lost more than I knew was possible. I have cried more tears than seem possible for a lifetime. I have searched and searched for the "why?" I have beat myself up for it all being my fault. I have lost myself.

What will my 31st year old? I am hoping for moments of joy. I am hoping for moments of happiness. I am hoping for more bright days than dark days. I am hoping for less pain.

30 was not good for me....I am hoping 31 is better.


Anonymous said...

Wishing you the happiest birhtday possible and a wonderful 31st year!

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you today, thinking of your beautiful little angel, and how he is smiling over you with such joy, as Jesus whispers in his ear, "Mommy's birthday is today." Love you friend...

Melissa said...

I'm dreading my birthday in a few months too, so I can't offer much advice there. But I do wish you a wonderful 31st year.

Andrea said...

My birthday jumped up and bit me in the butt. I hadn't expected that reaction, but I left work for the day and needed some serious down time. Like yourself, thoughts of what the next year would bring, thoughts of what happened over the last year were all consuming and I needed to let it all out.

I think we celebrated a bit more in the following days and that was okay with me.

I hope that you are doing okay and that you did have some nice moments on your birthday. :) Try to think positive thoughts for the year to certainly deserve them! Hugs, and Happy Birthday :)

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