Tuesday, May 14, 2013

My baby turns 4 in Heaven

Once again, I am blown away and humbled by all of the support for my baby boy.
It means SO much to me.
I'm sorry I've been away for so long.  
I honestly don't even know if I can still write.  
I've sat down so many times in these past few months, but I just couldn't find any words to write.  
At least not any positive ones.  It just feels so wrong not to write about Tripp... and how his day was and the new things he learned or how he is doing.  I would give anything to be writing about those things again... and to be sharing new videos of his little spoiled rotten personality.

This Mother's Day was harder than last year.  To be honest, I feel like I was in such a dense fog last year that I don't even remember it.  Sometimes I impress myself at how strong I am.  But it's dangerous.  It's unhealthy for me to be so strong.  Because now, it's been a year and a half... and I'm flat-out exhausted from being strong.  It's tiring to act like you're okay when you're dying inside.  It's exhausting to smile on the outside when you are crying and screaming and kicking like a baby on the inside.  And the worst thing that I've done is pretend with the people closest to me, that I'm strong and I'm okay.  Because the people closest to me are the people that I should be the most honest with. 

My baby would be 4 years old today.  
I don't even know how to grasp that.
Today, 4 years ago, was the day that made me the happiest woman alive.  That's no lie.  I had waited my entire life for the day I would have a child.  And now, it's so wrong that this day makes me so sad.  I know there's no better place for my baby to be, than with Jesus in heaven... but I want him here, with me.  In my arms, blowing out candles, and opening presents.  
Moms, can you imagine only getting 2 birthdays with your baby and then never being able to see them again? 
 I'm heartbroken.  I'm nauseous.  I'm sad.  I'm empty.  
I'm all of those things and more.

This video was his second birthday.  
In the back of my mind, I thought there would be a chance that I wouldn't get to spend his 3rd birthday with him.
But I didn't want to believe it.  So I refused to believe it.  
We lived for the day... actually, we lived for the minute. 

I'm haunted by the fact that my baby suffered so much.  It haunts me every day and it's so hard to cope with.  I know in my heart that I did everything I could... but did he know that?  Did he think I was a good Mommy or did he look at me as someone who would inflict pain by bathing him and bandaging him and suctioning him?  I just think how wrong and unfair it was that I lost my child and had to hold him as he took his last breaths... but also that our time together was interrupted by so much pain and suffering.  This is what I'm struggling to get past now that the shock has worn off and reality is pounding at my door.  As a mom, I did what I had to do to make my child happy and comfortable.  But as a mom, it also weighs SO heavily on me that Tripp had to endure all of the pain that he did.  And the fact that I could do nothing... just wears and tears at my poor (already broken) Mommy heart.

I sometimes try and picture what our life would be like if he were still here with us.  Stephen and I trying to decide what to get him for his birthday... and trying to decide where to have his party and what theme it would be.  But then I remember that he would be 4 years old.  We wouldn't have to decide those things... he'd be able to tell us exactly what he wanted and where he wanted to go.
God, how I long for that.  

It's hard to comprehend that I should have a 4 year old.... here, with me... every day.
That we should be starting pre-school and t-ball practices.  I should be washing little dirty boy-clothes.  I should be hearing the pitter-patter of little feet during the day instead of a dead silence.  I should be teaching him how to ride a bike.  I should be listening to my baby tell silly jokes that don't make sense, I should be waking up in the middle of the night because he's afraid of monsters,  I should be having to wake up at the crack of dawn to fix my baby breakfast instead of opening my eyes every morning, holding back the tears, realizing that it's true... it's not just a bad dream, that my baby really is gone. 
And EB took all of those things away from him, and away from us.
And the reality is... that maybe one day I will get to do some of these things with another child, but I will never get to do them with Tripp.  And as much as people try to tell me that it's okay- that I'll get to be a mom again one day- it's not okay for me.  Maybe one day it won't be the first thing I think about when I wake up, or the last thing I think about when I go to sleep... but it will never stop hurting.  It might hurt less... but that aching, empty feeling of missing my baby... will never go away completely.  
You cannot replace the loss of a child with ANYTHING... ever.  No matter what anyone says.  
Another baby will never replace Tripp.  Ever.  

And even though Stephen was already the most amazing "non-official" step-dad to my baby boy that I could have ever asked for, knowing that Tripp will never get to officially know Stephen as his step-dad, breaks my heart.  How is it fair that I finally meet the perfect man and someone who will one day be an extraordinary dad, and I don't get to share him with my very own child?

You know, I've been thinking hard about what I could say to help people understand.  
How could I possibly put into words what a bereaved mother goes through, just to simply try and help others even just for a minute... try to comprehend the pain.   
I don't think I can... but that doesn't mean I won't try.  

I've suffered a lot in the past few months with seeing other kids and other moms with their kids.  
And I really, really hope that no one gets offended by this, because I'm truly not trying to offend anyone, I'm just simply trying to explain how I feel.
Someone who has never had a baby of their own or who has healthy babies, or has never experienced the loss of a child... will never fully appreciate what a blessing it is to have a child.  I'm sorry, they just won't.  No matter how much they try, no matter how much they say they do... It's just human nature.
Of course they love their children and appreciate them when bad things happen to other people, but you can't fully appreciate someone until they are gone.  
For an example, I will never fully appreciate what it means to be a healthy human being- because I've never been seriously ill, or disabled, or paralyzed, or had a disease or been in a bad accident, etc. 
Or I will never fully appreciate what it means to have my eyesight... because I've never known what it's like not to be able to see. 
 However,  I believe that I fully appreciate what it would be like to have a perfectly healthy child, because not only have I experienced having a child who suffered a cruel and debilitating disease... I've also experienced the loss of my child. 
It's just a fact.  
You don't appreciate something or someone until they are gone.
And I'm not going to lie, it hurts to be around other moms and their children.  
Especially ones who aren't sensitive to your feelings.  Who (figuratively) dangle their children in your face ...or feel the need to talk about their children constantly in our conversations.
  It's just not appropriate.  I'm sorry.
And no matter how much someone thinks I should be over it... like I already said... 
I will never be over it.  
And I'm sorry if it makes you uncomfortable, but I'm uncomfortable every day.  

Sometimes I just wish that people would be a little bit more aware of their surroundings and the people that they are associating with.  If you are hanging around someone who recently lost a child, you wouldn't gripe or complain about having to do something for your child or talk about how bad they are.  You wouldn't talk about how much you miss your child who's been away for the weekend (when the person who lost their child has missed them every day since they have been gone and will miss them for the rest of their life).   That's like being around someone who is blind and asking them to look at something you see.  It's inappropriate.  That's common sense... or at least to the mother who lost her child or the person who is visually impaired, it seems like common sense.  I know It's hard for people to understand, because the fact that I have lost my son and that I'm sad all the time, is not something that is constantly on other people's minds (like it is on mine).  And like I've said, I know that before I lost Tripp, I was also oblivious to other people's feelings.  But now that the unimaginable has happened to me... it's hard sometimes to think how people can be so oblivious, especially people who have children and KNOW what that type of love it is. 
 Imagining having that love and then losing it.
That's a hard thing to imagine.  And trust me, it's a hard life to live.

My goal lately has been to try to be more open about my feelings.  To try and let other people know when I'm upset or when something they say is inappropriate to say to someone who has lost their child... to be HONEST... but I'm failing miserably.  It's hard.  It seemed so easy to tell other people how I felt when Tripp was still alive.  It was so easy because all I cared about was what was best for him... and if someone didn't like that, well then too bad for them.  But it's not as easy when you're trying to take care of yourself and what's best for you.  At least not for me, it's not.  

So as I celebrate my son today (with an aching pain in my heart and in my arms),  I ask you to celebrate him, too.  By hugging your children extra tight, or telling someone you love them, or just being extra nice to someone today.
Stephen and I, along with my parents and his parents... will plant a 4 year old cypress tree in the back yard today, in honor of my baby's 4th birthday.  And I will watch it grow.
And then we will watch his videos... and laugh and cry.
And I will wish -so desperately- that I was able to watch my baby grow.

I'm so sad that I will never have new videos or pictures.
Even though I took thousands, it will still never be enough.
Oh, how my heart aches to hold him again.

Happy 4th Birthday, my Bubba.
Mommy can't wait until I see you again.