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.