Saturday, January 14, 2017

Five years.

It's been FIVE years since my baby took his last breath in my arms.
This has been a tough one to swallow.  I'm at a crossroad between being so happy with my 2 sweet boys and being so sad because I am missing one of them.

I still remember the night before/morning that Tripp died.  He was doing so bad.  I knew it was coming, I just didn't know how much longer we had.  The night before, I put him to bed like normal and fell straight asleep with him.  Usually, a typical night would consist of me waking up and having to suction him about every 20 minutes, but the last week or so he had been so exhausted and he's breathing was much more shallow, so we weren't waking as much through the night.  But this night, I woke up at about 3am, just out of the blue, looked over at him (he slept right next to me in my bed) and I knew it was close.  He was pale, more swollen and breathing so shallow.  And for some reason, I never panicked.  I was actually very calm.  I grabbed his swollen little hand in mine, and I started whispering to him.  I told him how very much I loved him.  I told him how proud I was to be his mommy and to be able to call him mine.  I cried. A lot.  And I told him that I didn't know if I could make it without him.  But that I wanted him to be free of his pain and never have to hurt again.  I made a promise to him that I would try my hardest to get to heaven so that I could be with him again.  And I asked him to watch over me, because I was going to need it.  I cried and cried and kissed him a million times.  Then I started to pray.  I started a rosary, and I'm pretty sure I fell asleep before I finished it... with tears in my eyes and his hand in mine.

Then I woke up... on my own, without waking to the sound of his trach.  I looked over and I panicked.  He was so pale, slightly blue.  I jumped out of bed and ran to the other side.  I felt and listened closely and he was still breathing, but things were just different.  I ran for my mom, who followed me back in the room and we picked him up gently and brought him into the living room into his rocking chair where we spent all of our time.  I was panicking.  It was nothing like the peaceful feeling I woke up to in the middle of the night.  We were both in tears and not sure what to do.  But as always, Tripp coached us through and ever so gracefully and peacefully took his final few soft gasps and then stopped breathing.  In my arms.  In the rocking chair.  With my mom kneeling beside us.

And I didn't imagine it then (because I was hysterical), but I can imagine it now, that he left his tiny, lifeless body and looked down at us and smiled before the angels led him straight up to heaven.  I just  get chills thinking about his little soul, so mighty and so brave, and finally free of pain, making it's way back to Jesus... and Jesus saying, "well done my child."

When I think back on his death and the way everything happened, I am so grateful for that peaceful hour I spent with him before he died.  I know he could hear me.  Even though he didn't move a muscle.  I know he knew how much I loved him.  I may have been lacking at some things, but I ALWAYS told him and showed him how much I loved him.  And he definitely reciprocated that love back to me.

I'm not sad because Tripp died.
I'm sad simply because I MISS him.
I miss the joy he radiated in the room.  I miss the way he made me feel.  Even when I had the whole mom thing wrong or when I was stressed to the max, he made me feel like I was the best mom in the world.  And I know that sounds silly because he was only a baby, but he knew me.  He could read me and my feelings like a book.  When I was sad, he was so calm and still.  Almost like he was sad too, or like he was trying to calm me down.  And when times were happy... he made them oh so extra happy.  With that drumming, or "lip" singing or dancing he would do.
Tripp lived a life of suffering.
And he LOVED life.
Gosh, he is my hero.
The times that he cried were few and far between.  He only cried at bath time, and rarely ever even cried during dressing changes (until the end).
He was the definition of strength.
And he gave me the strength every day to carry my cross, as I watched him carry his with such grace.

I see so much of Tripp in Crew and Nash.
It's like he kissed both of them on the forehead before he sent them down to us.
I wish with all my heart he could be here in our arms, in our house, with us and his brothers.
But deep down, I know that was never meant to be.

I am so grateful for my faith.
I think about parents who are walking in my shoes all the time.
Do they believe in God?
In heaven?
In eternal life?
If they don't, I don't know how they survive.
Literally, like how are they breathing?
I've had ONE dream about Tripp since he died.  And I wouldn't call it a dream, it was more like a nightmare.  I was driving in my car and someone called me and told me that they saw Tripp (that he wasn't actually dead- he was still alive)...  I won't give all of the details of the dream, but it consisted of lots of panic and crying and hysteria.  I woke from that dream soaking wet and sobbing.  And for that first 5 seconds of waking, I actually thought it was real life.
I imagine this is what every day life is for someone who has lost a loved one and doesn't believe in God and in heaven.  Like a constant nightmare of wondering where they are.
Without my faith, I would be in a dark, dark place.

This five year anniversary of Tripp's death has been hard.
And there is NOT a day that goes by that I don't think of him.
I feel that I've made huge progress in the last 5 years.
But no matter how many children Stephen and I are blessed with, or how many years go by, these anniversaries will always be sad, the holidays will always be bittersweet and I will forever be looking forward to the day when we are ALL together- with no more suffering and no more tears.
But until then, I will obsess over and love and kiss and hug on these 2 little godsend blessings as much as they will physically let me... knowing that their big brother is smiling down on them.
Thank you, Jesus.

I love you all.
Thank you for loving us back.


  1. Thought of you and Tripp today. Little did I know it was the fifth anniversary of him getting his wings.

    Bless you and your family.


  2. So much love for your sweet family. Forever grateful you shared your beautiful Tripp with us. <3

  3. Love to you and your family-Tripp is always in my heart.

  4. Sending love and prayers. You're such an inspiration.

  5. It is so strange that I woke up this morning and thought of Tripp. I have followed your story but did not remember the date of his passing. I searched and found that it was the 5 year anniversary. God must have wanted me to say some extra prayers for you and your family. You are amazing and strong and I see that is is God working through you and Tripp. I appreciate the life of my children more because of you and Tripp's life. Sending love and peace. Jessica

  6. I had shared your pinky swear post several years ago and it popped up in my Facebook "memories ". I came and read it again, then scrolled through and read your more recent posts. I'm so happy to see that you have found so much happiness amid your sorrow. You deserve it, and I'm sure it makes Tripp happy as well. God bless you and your beautiful family!

  7. I loved Tripp right along with you and mourned him right along with you. I love nothing more than seeing you get to be a mommy to two more babies and thank you for continuing to update us all on your life, I will always remember your sweet Tripp and because of him I learned about EB and other kids like him. Love to your entire family <3.

  8. I still think of you often, and this post is beautiful. Your three sons are all beautiful. My friend just lost her 6-year old daughter to cancer this past fall, and seeing her raw posts about all the firsts without her baby remind me so much of the hell you've walked through. She is also a believer, but I can't fathom just how hard it must be, and always will be to outlive your child. God is doing mighty things through both of you, using absolutely horrible diseases and suffering, but eventually using them to His glory. Blessings to you and your family.

  9. I cannot believe it has been five years since beautiful little Tripp went to heaven. I have learned so much from you, on how to be a loving human being. Lots of love to you and your family.

  10. Sending love and prayers to you and your family. ❤️

  11. God bless you and yours, Courtney 😇

  12. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to continue to come back here to write where you started this blog for Tripp & to write of your time together that was far too short. I will say though, that if anyone is capable of coming back to continue to update as life goes on it's you and you were obviously meant to be a mom & Tripp was sent to you 1st for that reason- because you are strong, amazing, loving & forever faithful! I'm sure Tripp is forever smiling down on you as your personal angel and that he had a special hand in his 2 brothers you were sent. Continue to share all Tripp had to offer you & the world as they grow older! I hope you all had a merry Christmas & a joyous start to the new year! I look forward to reading any further updates you choose to share with us all! Love & hugs strong momma!!

  13. Prayers to you on this difficult anniversary. Thank you so much for continuing to include us on your journey... ❤

  14. Prayers to you on this difficult anniversary. Thank you for continuing to include us on your journey... ❤

  15. Thinking of you. I remember when you told us 5 years ago of his moving on, and I can't believe it's been 5 years. Bless all of you as we know Tripp is looking down. Love to you all <3

  16. Thank you for the lovely post Courtney and continuing to let us in on your life and your family. I miss Tripp too, despite never meeting him or you. He has a place in my heart and I look forward to the day I get to meet him.

  17. I came to love you & Tripp so much from reading your blog. You are the strongest woman I have ever heard of, and Tripp was amazingly strong. I've thought many times over the years, how great it will be to meet him in Heaven one day. Then, one day, it dawned on me that I will get to meet YOU, too! That realization brought me just as much joy. I can't wait to hug both of you someday! I'll be praying for your precious family today. Angie M.

  18. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I have been following since you started. All 3 of your boys are beautiful, and I know Tripp is looking down on them.

  19. A Facebook memory popped up to remind me of the anniversary of Tripp's passing, and it reminded me to come to your blog and see how you're doing. Your strength and courage always amazed me, Courtney, and still does, and it's a testimony to not just your character, but also your faith. You will see Tripp again one day, and what an awesome eternity that will be! I hope to meet him myself one day and tell him what an impact he had on me and so many others across the country and the world. Peace, love, and prayers, from one of many of your blog readers who will always remember Tripp...and you. <3

  20. Out of the blue, I thought of your son, Tripp, today....And, I remembered it was about this time that he passed. Thank you for the update...And, I agree, God is good and although we don't understand why things happen, we are assured God's love will carry us through...

  21. Oh my goodness... this picture! Courtney, you are just glowing with love! Precious. What a celebration it will be in heaven! You are an inspiration to so many~ God bless your little family of 5! I miss hearing from you and I am always thrilled to see a post from you! Are you boys musical like their big brother Tripp? They are adorable! Hugs to you from Meme!

  22. I'm so glad I found your blog again. I read it faithfully in Tripp's last months and randomly thought about him and you tonight. I couldn't remember names, so I googled EB Elmo and up you popped. I'm rejoicing to see how God has worked through your pain and blessed you so! I'm glad you can look back and know your boy never doubted your love!

  23. One of your posts came up on my time hop today. I cannot believe it's been 5 years. Thanks for your post.

  24. Thank you Thank you for continuing to honor your little one and your family now. So good to see Tripp living on in your life. While he is not here, he is still so here. Love following you, love seeing your additions to the family. You are an inspiration of the good in life. Lynne

  25. Hi. I just randomly thought of Tripp today. I followed your blog closely while he was suffering with EB. He really touched me and was such an inspiration. I am so happy for you that two more Angels have come to you and be part of your life. Those boys are so lucky to have such an inspiring big brother who will serve as such a great example for them throughout their lives. Tripp is truly very special. His body may have left this earth but his spirit is still here. God Bless

  26. I check your blog from time to time, hoping for a post-thank you! I read this a few weeks ago, that when you become a mom, you become a mother to all children. I have cried for you and Tripp (and your Mom!) and I am so very sorry that this all happened. The incredible weight of your loss is spread to all those that know you, follow you, and pray for you. You and Tripp have touched so many! I am inspired by your words, the way you cared for Tripp and your faith, please keep sharing :)

  27. What a great surprise to see little Nash has joined your family! Time is such a funny thing. I'm in awe of how five years can feel so fast and so slow depending on the perspective from which I'm looking back on them.

  28. You have such a gift for writing. I found myself sobbing at the beauty of this post. I recall crying equally as hard on the day Tripp died. Thank you for sharing your children with us. All three are beautiful. God bless you!

  29. This is so sad, I can't even imagine this pain and I can feel that it still hurst. But you are a very strong woman and blessed with two sons. I hope they will live a long and happy life.
    Kelly from Job Searching Mom Blog

  30. i love Tripp so much. Every now and then i come back to see and read about this brave little angel and cry my heart out. My heart aches so much yet i feel happy becoz you are amazing mother to him. I thank god that he had you. Praying for your happiness.