Friday, June 5, 2020

12 years of morphing pain

My dearest sweetest Ethan, how I cannot believe just how on earth 12.5 years has passed by.  The Unfathomable grief has certainly morphed into something pretty incredible.  
12.5 years ago if someone would have told me life would continue, that I could breathe through the gut wrenching pain of holding your lifeless body, that I’d find exquisite joy in life again.  I would have rolled my eyes at them, and continued bawling.  I just wanted to die with you.  
I miss with every fiber in my body the weight of your sweet 5lb 3oz tiny body.  I miss so much when I stop and take a breath and think back, it’s gut wrenching from a moment.  I miss getting to know who you’d be today. 
Would you be Athletic like a couple of your brothers?  or would you be more chill and ride the waves of life? Would you be my book worm ? 
Would you be tall?  Short? Dark hair? Or light hair?  Would you have crazy Kallicks like your brothers?  
Ugh!  Time escapes me. I can not believe for a moment of time you’d be entering into 7th grade.  How on earth is time so sweet and bitter all at once. 

Ethan not a day escapes me that for a brief moment your sweet life in inhaled into my very being.  
Ethan Charles no matter how big the days and times make you in heaven, you’ll always always be my little man.  What a sweet life you get buddy, in the arms of Jesus.
I can certainly wait to be with you if only my life would stay as profoundly touched as it has been by your life.  I’d chose to do all the gut wrenching pain all over again.  Thank you for allowing me to be your mom.  
Even crazier to think you’d be calling me mom and not mommy anymore, because you’re 12.  
I miss you little man, every minute of every hour of everyday.  I will make you proud! 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

7 years missing you !

It's been 7 long years of missing you Ethan, 7 years of wonder, despair, Hope and Joy!  But it never equates to how much my body yearns for just a little more time with you.
I will forever remember your birthday, I remember the fear that took over my body as I prepared to meet you for the first time not knowing what I'd see and that I would have to say hello and goodbye all at once
Fear of having to make the choice each and every day thereafter to do life without you, to get up and face the reality that my son was dead. To make each day count and not let your death be in vain.  Because the reality is I remember laying in the bed that day and the months that followed just wanting to die to be with you.

I remember so very vividly screaming out loud when it was time to push, I didn't want to and I couldn't.  I would have rather kept you inside me forever because they wouldn't ever be able to take you away.  I was so scared.......

And the moment you were born 8:47am February 13, 2008, they laid you on me..... I just sat there in awe of your beauty.  Everything from the dark ruby red lips.... To the purple finger nails, things only moms who lose babies can appreciate.  But such strong long fingers, and a cute little button nose that I couldn't stop kissing.  I just kept thinking in my head what a nightmare this all was and I would have to wake up.  But it wasn't and I was very very awake.  Starring at death... the fact babies really do die.  Infants die and parents have to face the reality that while our world stops moving it appears everyone around us just goes on.  I just wanted you to wake up and prove us all wrong.

I kept your body from your brothers that day because I didn't want them to hurt, I kept a lot of people from you I kept you to myself..... I didn't want to have to share when it was so quickly going to be taken from me and I would never ever again get to hold you in my arms again. I was afraid people would never see the beauty I saw in you.
You never got the chance to know me from the outside and look into my eyes.  But one thing I know is that all you ever knew was love.  And you were born into our fathers arms before you were born into mine.
And while that has been earth shattering and life changing, what an honor to get to meet our Savior from the start.
You'll never know the pain from your dad and my divorce, or kids picking on you, a broken heart and all the painful things your siblings will experience.  But one day you'll get to face us all face to face and tell us such grand stories of Jesus.... Things from here we cannot even begin to grasp.

The pain I relive each year over the period of a week, is a way my heart and soul needs to connect with you, it's what we do to feel close when the memories are so far away.
It's painful to realize that your photographs are the only thing I have to keep the tiniest details alive in me. Time makes all these things fade no matter how hard I try to stop it.  I want to feel your weight in my arms again, and kiss the crook of your nose between your eyes like I did for hours the first and last time I held you.  I want to experience all over again what it felt like to run my fingers through your beautiful dark hair.  You were my only baby with that much hair.  I want to soak in your sweet baby smell. Your blanket I'll hold tight but the time and age of 7 long years fades your baby smell right off of it.

I find joy more often than not anymore, and I live in a constant hope of trusting our Father that there will be a day when I get to spend forever with you and all the wonder I deal with now will fade.  Our time here on earth is a blink of an eye in Heaven.  And someday my sweet boy none of this will matter.
I am 7 years closer to you Little Man, each year as I go another year without you and without the memories is just one more year I am closer to forever.

I am so proud that God chose me to be your mom Ethan.  It's a hard thing to be chosen for, but little man you've changed lives, and God has forever changed mine because of you.  I couldn't be more proud of one of my children than I am of you.  Your life has saved so many others because of the Hope your life has taught so many.  That's the point of life to point others to HIM.
So my sweet boy, "Good job faithful servant!" and until we meet again I will forever love you with a love I've never known and a love I wouldn't trade for the world.

We will sing, have cake and celebrate your short life tomorrow,  let balloons soar up to the Heavens because your brothers and sisters can't wait to have our time celebrating you.  You will always be a part of us, the fabric of your life in intertwined with ours.  Your name will never cease coming off our lips.  Happy Birthday my sweet boy.  I love you so very much and I hope Papa tells you all about His love for you which will forever far exceed ours.  But I hope he tells you lots of stories about us, and gives you big giant hugs from us.  Please give HIM one for me.

27"For this boy I prayed, and the LORD has given me my petition which I asked of Him. 28"So I have also dedicated him to the LORD; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the LORD." And he worshiped the LORD there.

21He said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD." 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Right where I am 6 years 7 months 7 days later

Grief is a funny thing, and if you talk to someone who's lost a child they would tell you the same thing, and truly that goes for any kind of loss.  Grief is a paradox.... It's where I am closer to my son and yet where I feel the most pain.  Without grief at times I feel like I would kinda move on.  And that's not a term I like to use.
But life does move on even if we stand tall, and strong with one foot on the edge on staying suck in the past and the memories and one foot in the new life awaiting us.
Six years, 7 months and 8 days ago if you would of asked me how I would conceive life to be for someone who lost a child, all I could of done was tell you is sad story of a good friend who lost her son a year plus before.
I had no idea the excruciating pain losing a child will take on, nor could I begin to tell you the beauty that awaits if we allow grief to mold and transform us.
Six year, 7 months and 7 days ago I still even after watching a good friend lose her son, lived in this naive world that baby loss doesn't happen that much.  And life moves on even if so.  Never did I know how awful it can be to allow life to come after death.  Naturally as mothers we don't think we will bury our children.  But the reality is....... It happens every single day...... at least 1 in every 200 pregnancies will end in stillbirth.

I still remember the day I heard the most devastating words of my life, "I'm sorry I don't see any cardiac activity".  Everything got really blurry, fuzzy and this piercing scream came from my soul but yet, couldn't come out my lips.  All I could do was sob!
Now all these years later the pain from those words/memories doesn't bring me to a place of devastation, just a little twinge of sadness of what was suppose to be.
This year Ethan would have been a 1st grader, and gaining so much wisdom in his own 6.5 year old way.  I still all these years later yearn to know what he would look like, how his voice would sound.  His personality, traits, hobbies.  I wish I could see a small glimpse on this side of heaven to hold me off until I got to be with him again.

Right where I am 6 years, 7 months and 7 days later is contentment knowing my son is in the most beautiful place.  A place I cannot even begin to phantom what it would be like.  How it would feel to be held in our creators arms.  Not knowing anything but love.  On my hard days, that's what I remind myself.  Ethan only knew love.  As much as my flesh wants him here, selfishly I know I have to let that go.... This isn't my permanent home, and it was never meant to be his.  God knew that very day he allowed him to grow in my belly that his life would be used for something far greater than I could ever dream for Ethan.

However, 6 year 7 months and 7 days later, I still have moments of grief and sadness.  A few days ago I came across the video made for Ethan by a friend.  And didn't think for more than a few seconds about it.  I pulled it up in anticipation of just remembering Ethan.  And out of no where... that sneaky jerk called grief knocked me down so hard I felt tightness in my chest, and I couldn't breathe.  All I could do was cry...actually sob.  And even when I tried to push the tears away.  I didn't succeed.  I felt a pain in longing to hold my sweet boy again, to kiss between his nose like I did as I held his cold lifeless body.  I longed to caress his fingers and toes.  Not even noticing at the moment the purple color under his nails and the dark shade of red his lips soaked in, because all I could see when I looked at him was beauty.  I cried because I know so many families are walking in this new grief at those very moments, feeling utter despair and shock. Probably even wanting to die.  I remember feeling like I just wanted to crawl into bed with my son and die right along with him.
It's still amazing to me that grief can be so cruel, especially when you least expect it.

However, 6 years 7 months and 7 days later... I know deep down without a doubt the sun comes back out.  It doesn't always feel so crushing.  But rather just painful.  I know sooner or later the tears will stop they always do.  In the beginning I thought my tears would kill me.  Each tear that fell back then was life another piece of my heart drifting away. And a lot of times I would think of Ethan just so I felt that grief because when I felt it is when I felt the closest to Ethan.  And all I wanted was to breathe him in, and it was painful to think of life without him.  I just wanted to feel the pain and I knew if I was feeling I wouldn't forget him.  Now I know I will without a doubt never ever forget my son, he lives in the fabric of my kids, my family, my heart and he is woven into the thread of who we are.  And what we fight for.  I know now I don't have to get to that place to be closest to him.  Although if I am honest, I do feel closer to him when I am in that pit.  I just don't stay there so long anymore.

One of my biggest fears after I held him one last time is that I would forget what it was like to hold him, touch him, how he looked.  And I am so thankful for the pictures I have of Ethan from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep because that makes it impossible to forget.  And I think even if I didn't little parts of him would be ingrained in my heart.  But surely as time passes it has become apparent that little things do fade, and I have forgotten how it felt to touch and hold him.  But and a big but..... He will never be forgotten, it's impossible to go through the worst tragedy and forget.

Ethan's birthday this year was not like any other before.  It was a little bittersweet, I didn't have people over.  Not a single person, my kids and I got a few balloons and a cake and went to Ethan's resting place for his earthly body and we remembered him alone in silence.  I will admit it was a little sad, but I chose it this year.  Life was such a messy place and I felt the need for a more intimate remembrance.  But I also know that doesn't mean he was forgotten by everyone.  And as his mom it was most important I remembered than anyone else.

Sometimes even 6 years, 7 months and 7 days later my arms ache, my heart hurts and I want him back...... I want to sit and soak in the grief...... I want to feel his loss and his impact.... I want to celebrate..... I want to cherish in my mommy way the awful reality of baby loss.... And then I want to celebrate in the HOPE of Jesus Christ and all that he has promised..... I want to dance along side Jesus that my son only knew love.... And that this days, months, years are just a short comparison of time in heaven.  And my job here isn't done.
There was this little boy Ethan Charles Donaldson that God used in mighty ways, and that little boy changed my life and I get to call him my son.  I am 6 years, 7 months and now 8 days closer to being with my son.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

5 years and all the wonders....

It's been five years of fighting for JOY, for learning to have HOPE and not despair.  The fifth birthday was a rather tough one.  A milestone birthday that came and went, we celebrated Ethan's life with the traditional balloon release and singing happy birthday along with a cake.  This years cake was a little different than last years but none the less I loved it!! And I loved that the lady who does Ethan's cake makes it a little special.  She put a board under the cake with planets and rockets and said she tried to find things that little boys Ethan's age would like.  She is a special woman none the less.  

Then another milestone came last week, the day my sweet HOPE baby would have started kindergarten.  I was a little sad to be honest, but I didn't allow myself to feel robbed as I normally would of.  Instead I remembered that while I may not get to be proud of the drawings, report cards, art work, mis-spelled words and crazy stories from my little boy!  I get to be so much prouder of all he accomplished before even getting to take a breath.  
My little boy was used in mightier ways than I could ever imagine.  And what's there to be sad about with that?

It's been some up's and down's but by far way more up's!! I miss Ethan and I carry Ethan in the very fabric of our family.  In everything we do.  Just because Ethan isn't here doesn't mean we don't want to remember him in special ways.  I will always live my life to honor God and the HOPE he has given me with my sweet HOPE baby Ethan.  
I remember being told from early on that time would make things better.  And I used to get so angry when I was told that.  Because I thought "how on earth could time replace my baby, what I wanted and what was taken from me?  I'll always hurt this way".

And really I am so thankful for the HOPE I have in Christ and what he has done with my heart.  Jesus really does bind up all our wounds if we allow him to.  

Psalms 147:3 says "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds"

Praise God he really does.  Does that mean I don't ache to hold Ethan?  That holidays, birthdays, 1st day of kindergarten don't hurt, 

Nope I want all of that and it hurts!  But now I am not breathless!  Jesus has not forsaken me, losing my son was not a punishment!  It's just the reality of the broken sin filled world we live in.

I am so blessed to have been picked to be Ethan's mom, that little boy was such a faithful servant to God and if he can be then so can I.  I will live my life out loud speaking of all the goodness God has not offer.  Not of the heartache and dreadful of this flesh and world we live in.

My little boy has changed lives and what more could a mom want from her child.  And what more could my father in Heaven want from me?  

I am here, I am willing and I want to show the world what a sweet little boy and Christ has done in me! 

Ethan my sweet boy!  You have been such a faithful servant and I can only hope to do as much as you have in my life time!
Thank you too Dee of Fall Child Photography for our family picture!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Almost 5 years in my new normal.....

This past Monday it hit me how the 5 year anniversary of Ethan's life came to a sudden halt.  An unexpected life changing event turned my world upside down.
I've been at so much peace the past 2 years and in a comfortable place with Ethan not being here with us.  Knowing he is with God and I will be with him again someday, that this pain is only temporary.  But lately it's hurting.
I think it's hurting so much because 5 years is a big milestone, because I am looking at what I am missing/losing out on.  But really it's just a long time to be without your child.

I think this year is hard because I realize I am missing a full blown child.  Ethan isn't a toddler anymore, he is a kid now.  He would have been in kindergarten this year.  So there will be no backpacks hanging on the hook for him, no walking a timid child to his first day of school.  5 years seems like when all my kids finally got some of the stuff of life but yet were so innocent.
I get to watch friends who's children are 5 go to school this year, and while I am happy for them my heart aches.
What would my little boy look like?  Would he like school or be scared? Who would his friends be? What kinds of things would he enjoy doing?

Its just a hard reality that every once and awhile I have to face.  A reality that sucks but yet has a promise of Hope attached.

While I know where my child is and that's a comfort I don't have to worry about, it's still hurts.  It's still hard to know I will always be missing something/milestones.

I am also 34 weeks pregnant with another couples baby, something I said I wanted to do after I lost Ethan.  And God allowed that to happen.  And I know it's only because of him I am able to do this.  But at times I feel a brief panic set in because I lost Ethan at 34 weeks and 2 days.  That's where I am now in this pregnancy.  And while I don't think a thing will happen to this little girl.  I am also not naive and I know nothing is in my control no matter how well I plan or take care of myself.

I just keep praying that this aching is just the anticipation leading up to Ethan's birthday......

Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy 4th Birthday Ethan my sweet Little Man

I think I often at this time of year find myself in a little despair, and saying how I cannot believe it's been this long and yet it seems so incredibly long ago.

The waves are less often that's a fact, but the one that came yesterday hit me and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I found myself in a pit for awhile, one I wanted out of so desperately but yet couldn't climb.

I went by Ethan's grave in the morning and as my feet hit the crunchy sound of the snow, I felt my heart tremble. I walked along the snowy banks of the graves careful as always not to walk along the graves but above the headstones.

I felt a little bit of panic as I got closer to Ethan's grave. I don't visit often because I have grown from that need to parent his grave. I know he is not there, however I wanted to take his Valentines to him, and originally I wanted to read a quick story to him but it was too cold and I couldn't access his grave very well with all the snow anyways.

As I laid his bear and candies on his headstone I felt the need to bend down and place a kiss from my finger to his headstone as I so often did before. And the wave of grief completely knocked me over. I felt my kness buckle and the warmth of my tears flodd my eyes and roll down my face.

I headed back to the car and had a near mental breakdown. Thankfully God provided me with someone to comfort me and she just held me and prayed with me. But the first fifteen minutes of the car ride from there I felt like I was going to lose it.

A song came on the radio one I often love, where he is telling God he is not strong enough and he had given him more than he can handle. I felt the tears flood me again as I thought, "yes God, why? why me? I just want Ethan back. I know it's selfish but please just for a few moments"

And quickly I felt him remind me he was there and it wasn't too much and I had proven with him I was more than strong enough.

The day went smoothly from there. I came home and prepared for Ethan's party and was very humbled by the love of those around me. The gathering to celebrate Ethan's life was more of a testimate of God's faithfulness than anything. He knew what I needed this year and all those people who love my family and love Ethan even if they didn't know him were there to remember him.

I played his slide show and scanned the room a few times, a dear high school friend had tears filling her eyes, one of my nilmdts families had tears in their eyes. I felt a great sense of love at those moments, and pain again.

As I neared my speech I felt anxiety once again. I had been playing this over in my head over and over and yet, nothing I felt would come out the way my heart felt. My hands trembled and my heart made the words come out.
I can't even tell you what I said honestly, I was so caught in the moment the words just flowed.

But I will tell you that this is what I ment to or wanted to say.

One of my biggest fears in losing Ethan was over time people would move on, the world would go on rightfully so. But I was afraid since Ethan wasn't physically here he would be forgotten. And this year I am absoultely humbled by the love of those around me. Some of you have been by my side as my family, some friends of 19 plus years, some of you mentors, friends, friends who became family, my nildmts family, and flatirons church family. God has been so faithful and it has been one of the hardest trials of my life, but he has always been there. He provided me with each of you as a stepping stone through to the other side. And I am just amazed at all of your love for me and my family and a little boy who touched the world but his feet never touched the ground. I simply love all of you and I thank you.

The balloon release went off well with a few balloons finding their way into the trees again this year. His cake was beautifully done and the butterfly cupcakes complimented it so well.

My home and heart were beautifully crowded with love and God's outpour of love in our lives.

My sweet Ethan,
I miss you more than words will ever express, more than my heart can compherend. And yet, I know you are with our savior and your life there is more amazing than I will ever understand or than I will ever be able to imagine. I will find myself in joy and then in heartbreak until me meet again. Hopefully more joy through the years! Thank you for allowing me to be your mom, and for the wonders my life has embraced by your short life. God has a plan and he is doing so much incredible work in our lives here on earth, somedays it isn't easy, some days dibilitating actually but I am always quickly reminded of his love.

Ethan my sweet angel, give Jesus a kiss on the cheek for me and tell him thank you for all his blessings. Tell Zach mommy said thank you for sharing his mom with me too! I know what a true mother's love is like because of her.

Little Man four years ago I thought my life was over, how little did I know then. It was just beginning. Four years ago all I could see is what I was going to be missing and what I didn't have. Now I see the fruitful blessings because of you. Happy Birthday my sweet baby.

Monday, January 23, 2012

3 years 11 months 11 days

I can't believe it's been that long since I last held you Ethan, since my lips kissed your sweet forehead and kissed the curve of your nose between your eyes.

I miss you so much, I wish there were words to tell you other than I miss you. How much my heart and arms ache to hold you.

It seems so long ago, the nights are easier but lately I find myself struggling to find comfort in Heaven.

When i hold Nan's hand I am reminded of what she was once told. "Just as I am holding your hand now, one day you will hold his".

I can't wait for that day. I know Jesus is holding you and you don't have to deal with the pains of this world and for that I am grateful, but I still long for you.

I am blindsided often lately, by the passing of other little kids your age. And knowing again this year I don't get to buy you something your heart desires. Make your birthday cake, and love on you. Instead I get to send ballons to Heaven for you. Make you a cake you'll never eat.

And just wonder what you look like, what things you like to do, who your favorite friends are. What your personality is like? Sometimes it's just too much.

I just hope you know all you have brought into my life by simply the gift of being able to be your mom, Ethan.

I am so blessed.

Saturday night I sat and held baby Joseph and just stared at him in amazement at this thing called life. And felt so much joy for Julie, myself all of us really.

But I still miss you so much. I feel like I failed you Ethan. And if I could of saved you I would of little man I promise you that.

I would have died for your life.

Three years, 11 months and 11 days ago, I sat in complete and utter nieveness that you would be taken from me. I didn't think it was possible I would lose you, that the warm place that was suppose to protect you, help you thrive would kill you. I had your baby shower, sat in a room full of people so excited for your arrival and your two brothers who couldn't wait for a baby brother.

Who knew my world would be absoltuely turned upside down? I never thought I would have to teach your brothers about death so early. Blake misses you a lot. He always tells me how he wishes you were with us, I remember last year Aiden said he was sad, that we were making you a cake and you couldn't have any. I know they get the unjustice of death. That breaks my heart.

Soon Ethan someone special will be joining Heaven. He is the father of our pastor at church. I hear what a great man he is. Hopefully you will get to be with him.

Ethan, do you know Zach? I hope so. He is my bestfriends son. He died when he was three and a half. I hope you two are running around heaven, chasing the butterflies and living a life we cannot even compherend. Nan is someone pretty special to me Ethan. I cannot even begin to explain her to you. All I know is that, through your loss God has done some amazing things. Things that aren't so easy, that make my knees buckle and me want to quit. And then he brought people into my life whom I cannot now begin to imagine a life without.

At shift on Friday I talked about you. I told them how amazing you are, how amazing our father God is. How as much as I miss you, and somedays I just think I can't handle this anymore. I am brought to my knees with so much joy, love my heart feels it might explode. And if God was to tell me right now that I had two choices. One to get you back and have my life as it was before your loss, or to wait until I see you in Heaven and have my life now. I would keep my life now. Now Ethan that does not mean I don't love you. I just love you so much and I love your siblings so much I know this is the best option. I have learned so much about me and my life since I lost you. That it would be hurtful to get you back and go back to my unstable life with God, my past filled with so much dysfunction I didn't know where to start to fix it.
I have to fix a lot of stuff now and work on it so I can make it more possible for all of us to be a family in Heaven someday. I made people cry at shift telling them this. Most people think I am nuts, I have been actually told that. But Ethan I love you that much, that I don't want you to know the pains of this world.

I don't want your brothers and sister to either, but they are here now and I will do my very best to try to bring them to God and establish a relationship of Hope with him, and give them a gift I wouldn't of otherwise been able to had everything gone the way we expected it to with you.

God and you have taught me so much about this thing called Heaven, Life and I have a Father because of your life.

Please know I love you, even if I cry it's because I love you that much. Because knowing you are where you should be isn't always easy to accept. Right now I am struggling a lot and sometimes just wish I could be with you more than anywhere. I cry a lot, I feel a deep ache in my heart a lot. And I am reaching out for help too so don't be worried.

Ethan sweet Little Man, may you know one of my greatest blessings was you. I love you baby boy! Tell Jesus thank you and I love him too. I hope he tells you all the time how much we love you too.