Thursday, June 7, 2012

Angel in Heaven - 3 years ago

Dear Gracie,

Hard to believe you left 3 years ago.  Some days it feels like it just happened and others it seems like forever.    You are always with us - our thoughts and prayers and you live in our hearts.     Your brother still talks about out and how you are in heaven with God. 

This year your mom has really turned a corner.  She still misses you every day and you are always there with her - but she has begun to remember the love and not just the loss.    Today I won't be able to spend the day with her, but I know that although she will be very sad today and she will feel your loss more then ever - I know she is stronger.   I know she will remember love to.    It is the love that keeps us together and feel you with us. 

Having that dream of you last fall was so amazing and gave me a lot of peace.  Although I would want you here with us - I KNOW that you are a complete, happy, loving soul in heaven, you are all you could not be here on earth. 

Every time I hear another little girl called Grace or Gracie - I choose to believe it is you letting me know you're with us...  Look for my smile - it is my way of embracing and loving you while you're in heaven. 

Our Love is Always and Forever Gracie -

Love, Grammie

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Time for Closure.....

Well in the last two years since Gracie has passed, I seem to be a magnet for people who have or have had very sick children or children who have died.   It is like we are kindred spirits or something.  It has been suggested that it is a gift that I can bring to others who need to talk or need to be comforted.  Believe me this is not a gift I would choose to get or give to anyone else.  I would not call it a gift, but there is definitely a bond with others when they have experienced similar situations - even more so when it centers around a child. 

I have not returned to the hospital where we said goodbye to Gracie.  There have been a few times in the past 2 years when I thought I would be going back there, but somehow I never had to go and I was OK with that.  However it has once again come around and my daughter has asked that I go with her - it will be the first time back for both of us.  I now realize that life keeps sending you similar things until you finally face it and do whatever is needed to, to over come the fear or anger or whatever has allowed that incident to shape your life.  I know returning there won't change what happened but I think there will be some closure for me and for Katie too. 

As I said, life seems to create similar situations or maybe we keep creating it - but we are going back to the hospital to take a child who has been having breathing issues since he was born.  We know the issue is not the same as Gracie, but he does need to be checked out by a specialist.  The hospital here keeps saying he is fine but we don't have a lot of confidence in them - especially when the child shows outward symptoms of issues and other people remark on how strangely he breathes.  Finally they were able to find a doctor who referred him to the specialist and so I have been asked to take them.  How could I say NO?  Even under normal circumstance how could I say no? 

I don't know how I will react or how Katie will be  - we both want to be there for her friend and child and we will.   But I also know that Katie and I will need time to deal with all the memories that will come flooding back as well as whatever feelings bubble to the surface.    I am praying that it will bring some kind of closure and will be cathartic.  To be honest I don't what kind of closure it can bring - maybe I'll be able to say the name of the school or hospital without all other stuff coming to mind or that I will be able to think about all the other people they help and heal instead of those they can't.   Maybe I can just give up the resistance I feel for the place... I mean the mere thought driving in to the place and seeing it again makes me hold my breath and I can feel my jaw tighten and body tense - so illogical but none the less real.   Maybe I will be able to overcome that with tomorrows visit.     Strange how I have made that hospital so symbolic for pain, suffering and loss - they really do help thousands of people a year - miracles really do happen there  - I saw them happen - they just didn't happen for our Gracie. 

So I am going to surrender to this event, not an easy thing for me by any means.  I will be still and listen for what I am to learn or give and I will trust that I am being called back there for a reason. 

So Gracie, you will be with us tomorrow in our thoughts and in hearts, even more then usual - I hope you can feel our love for you - Always and forever as I promised you.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Second Angelversary

I cannot believe it has been 6 months since I have written.  I write blogs in my head all the time, but somehow sitting down and typing them has been difficult for me - I resist it and I am not clear why. 

Gracie remains apart of my life and although I am in a different place this year - it continues to be a loss that is dealt with sometimes daily or weekly basis.   About two months ago she was continually on my mind and I didn't understand why it was so intense.  Actually it was a little unnerving - as I experienced a similar situation before Gracie got sick.  My mom was continually on mind and I thought it was the upcoming 10th. anniversary of her passing - but then I had a friend say, she may be trying to tell you something.....  well 2 weeks later Gracie was in the hospital and a short time later, I had a sense of my mom holding her and a few weeks later I am sure my mom was the first to greet her in heaven.   Well I am glad to say that nothing that painful has come to pass again - but her strong presence was definitely felt.

There is a song out  - If heaven wasn't so far away, I'd pack up the kids and go for the day..... it talks about visiting with those they lost and being able leave them and go back another day - Another line says - "it would do me good just to see them smile"   I sure wish I could see her smile again !!   

I think of you.....

I think of you when I go past the little girls clothes in the store
I think of you when I see baby girls......
I think of you when the peonies bloom,as I remember them blooming while at the hospital in their gardens
I still look for your face in the face of other children - hoping to just catch a glimpse of something that would remind me of you.    I never find it.... you were one of  a kind Gracie!!

I think of you at the birthdays of your brother and cousins - wishing you could be there and knowing we never celebrated a birthday with you.

I think of you as I put away the "baby" toys that your cousins have outgrown
I think of you on every holiday and silently bring you with me in my heart
I think of you every time I hear of a child who has been hurt,sick or died
I think of you every time I see a child that is the same age you "should" be
I think of you every time your brother talks about you - he told me he is going to name his kids Gracie

Even after 2 years - I think of you and I love you still as much today as ever. 

Today is about honoring the life of my Granddaughter who came in to our lives for too short of a time.  I know I am different person because of her gift.  Our lives have continued on, but the loss is always there.  Maybe it is because we never let it all go - I don't know.  I think it is because love continues on and so that is the bond that cannot be broken and it is always there whenever we need it - albeit not in the same form we would prefer. 

Today Katie, Wayne and I will honor her life together and I pray that she will feel our love for her and that we will be peaceful enough to feel her with us.

Gracie - I will love you Always and Forever.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The second Christmas

This was our second Christmas without Gracie - it is a "double" dose of grief as her birthday and Christmas are so close together.  It was a good day with all the grandkids - but we are always aware of who is missing.  I had some time to talk w/my daughter today about what she was feeling - I am glad we talked - it helps.  This grief is something that will always be with us  - it won't end.  It has evolved to where I now think it will always be... we will always miss her and wish she were here.  We will always wonder what she would be like now and we will imagine it for awhile and then we will tuck her back inside our hearts  - our forever angel. 

Thinking of You with Love

We thought of you with love today,

but that is nothing new.

We thought about you yesterday,

and days before that too.

We think of you in silence,

we often speak your name.

All we have are memories,

and your picture in a frame.

Your memory is our keepsake,

with which we will never part.

God has you in His keeping,

we have you in our hearts.

A million times we`ve wanted you.

A million times we cried.

If love could only have saved you,

you never would have died.

It broke our hearts to lose you.

But you didn`t go alone.

For a part of us went with you...

the day God called you Home.

~Author Unknown

Merry Christmas in heaven Gracie - we love you - forever and always!!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Her Second Birthday

Two years ago this night, my daughter and I were at the hospital awaiting the birth of Gracie.  I was excited and yet nervous since this was the first time I was going to be at the birth of one of my grandchildren - it was an amazing experience which I will never forget and always be forever grateful that my daughter asked me to be there. 

These past few months I found myself thinking of things to write in this blog and yet resisting the actual writing of them.  I am not sure why exactly - maybe because no one else reads this anyway.  I have been struggling to find something that would honor Gracie and allow me to feel it was an expression of love.  I still haven't found yet.  I love making the blankets - but have been working so much I have hardly sewed anything in a very very long time.  I have tons of material and no time to get it done. 

Today I accidentally called Izabel, Gracie twice - I have never done that and I am glad that she didn't really catch on when I did it.   

Christmas will probably always bring out the loss more - some of the Christmas songs really make me tear up.  Seeing the little outfits in stores and remembering buying her outfit always brings a little twinge to my heart. 

At my Christmas party one of my co-workers came with her 5 1/2 month old little girl Ella Grace - She was very content to be with me and even liked my husband - it was a joy to be able to hold a little one.  She is the age that Gracie was when she died.    Then my boss's grandson was in the other day and he was born 2 weeks before Gracie and I looked at him and thought WOW - she could have been that big and walking, talking etc.  Of course when I think of what she might be like - I think of her being totally  healthy with no issues.  I have to remind myself that her life would not have been the same as a healthy child. 

So Gracie - I wish you a very happy birthday - I wish you were here to blow out your candle and open up your gifts.   I wish you could feel how much we love and miss you.  I know you are in a better place, but some days my human selfish side wants you here with us. 

Celebrate your birthday with Jesus and fly high with the angels and know that I will always love you always and forever my precious baby granddaughter. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

As time goes by.......

I know it has been a long time and I have written so many blogs in my mind on the way to and from work.  I have been in a state of "flux" - Gracie changed our lives and I am no longer the same person - I find myself wondering and searching for what I can do for others who are experiencing the same things.  I don't know what that is = I have made blankets for the hospital through a program started by another CHD Mom.  I need to make some now - but have not had time for any sewing at all.   

I have encountered 3  people who have very sick children and I have been there to hear their stories and cry with them and give them understanding.  Heaven knows I am not an educated counselor - but I know I can listen and they don't feel so isolated talking to someone who has experienced similar issues with a child of their own.  I have another opportunity to talk to a family who have lost their child and the grandparents too - and I want to - but I don't want anyone thinking I have any more answers then  another person - I just understand how to listen and have a story to share too. 

I often hear the name Gracie being spoken in strangers conversations as I pass them - it used to throw me in to a tail spin - but now I smile and look up and tell her I love her too.   I choose to believe that I hear it for a reason and I now cherish those moments. 

I am finally realizing how lost I was at this time last year - I was really in a different  and dark and lonely place, deep in grief and depression and for a long time I was scared I would go back there - but I no longer fear that.  My love for Gracie is eternal,, sweet and pure and it often warms me from the same place that I used to feel a hole in the center of my chest.  Holding other baby girls is always special - but it never feels like Gracie and although that is probably  healthy,  sometimes it feels like such a let down - silly probably but I guess I will always want to experience little piece of her again.  

In the beginning you can't imagine how you can live without this child and it is all unfair and wrong and horribly painful.  Then I thought OK, I will get through it like I have all other losses in my life, but I was so very wrong!!  This loss is always there, but you can learn to live again..  As I have read other parents stories of loss and grief, I realized it always there for them, some days are harder then others.  Even years after, there are still tough hours or days for various reasons that trigger it again.  When I first realized this - I thought, how can anyone live through this... there is no "through it"..... it just is there....  I really resisted that for sometime because it seemed unbearable to think of experiencing it over and over.  I struggled with this for a long time.    Ever so slowly I have come to understand how life goes on and yes, the loss is always there because nothing can make it right, change it or take it away.  You can't reason it away, when you lose a child because there is no good reason good enough.  But then I realized that the love never dies - you always feel love for this child. That has given me some peace - I can still experience here through love.   I choose to take the moments like hearing her name spoken by strangers or seeing it printed or hear it onTV and I embrace those moments and the feelings that come and I honor her.  She is more then a memory and she is never forgotten.  

Some days I miss her so much and it is more difficult then others.  I will always wonder what she would look like today, how big would she be, what would her voice sound like and what kind of life would she be living?   Those questions will always be there, unanswered.   Some days the tears are there again and it is OK to let them fall.   I believe I have "accepted" it as much as anyone can accept something like this. 

Gracie's life has forever changed our lives and she will always be with us.  I will continue to look for ways to honor her life and have her spirit allow me to help others.  I still struggle trying to find it, but I think it will show itself to me one day, when God thinks I am ready.  Having faith in God helps in many ways, I don't know how I would have gotten this far without it.  However the loss is always there and I will carry her w/me forever. 

I love you Gracie - Always and Forever,

Monday, June 7, 2010

She became an Angel 1 year ago today

The day we have all been dreading has arrived - we said our final goodbye to Gracie at 8:38pm one year ago. 

I got to spend some time with Katie this weekend and she was able to share with me some of her grief and what she thinks and feels.  It is heart breaking to watch and hear her pain and all I can do is keep encouraging her talk about it.  I now know and understand that keeping it all inside your head only allows the wounds to seep and burn but never heal. 

Don't get me wrong - I don't think you get over losing your child - I think you come to accept it even though you don't want to and it is the hardest thing  for someone to accept.  It is not right or normal to have to learn to accept a loss such as this.   There is no timeline - today is not a magic wand that takes it all away and life suddenly turns back to "normal".    Acceptance means you live with it everyday, for the rest of your life and yet not allow it to rule your life - at least that is my definition, the best I can articulate at this time. 

Today I wanted to honor my granddaughter's life and be with my daughter to give her support and love.  We spoke of a few things we could do, and I promised myself that however the day went was the way it was supposed to be. 

Signs...  Some may believe in them and some may not - I know we attach meaning to things every day.  However the approach of this day has brought many "signs" for me.... 
1.  I have a pink rose bush that is 7 years old and blooms every year at this time  - about a 1 week ago I noticed there was one branch that was growing wildly - like a climbing rose  and I picked it up and wound it around a trellis - it bloomed a deep crimson red - a different kind of rose then the bush I planted.  I keep looking to see where it grew from and it comes from inside the original rose bush - 1 long vine.  The regular rose bush bloomed it's first rose and it is a beautiful pink rose - it is not cross pollination. 
2.  I put a basket of flowers in the corner of my house along with an angel statue I got from a neighbor and a statue (plaque) with wind chimes by the flowers.    I then also have 2 wind catchers (like pin wheels) by the flowers...    The first 5 days, I would come home and the Plaque had fallen over  and I kept putting in a different position and  the next day it would tipped over.    On Saturday I laughing said to Katie, as I was resetting the plaque yet once again, I said Gracie keeps kicking this over and we giggled.     The next day I went out and the pin wheel was all laying down fully apart on the lawn  (another one was untouched)  The plague was not tipped over.   I came in the house and said you won't believe what happened now - and Katie asked if it was tipped over and I said no.  Katie said good because I yelled at her and told her stop doing that.  I said well the pin wheel was all torn apart and on the lawn - just like a kid??? 

Whatever your beliefs - I choose to believe she was letting us know she was near and OK - After Katie left - nothing more has happened.,

3.  This morning I walked in to the Bank and there was an elderly person behind me.... The teller called out... Hi Grace - how are you doing today?    I just smiled.

Today - I watched the DVD that was made by the photographer the hospital called that night.  They took pictures until Katie asked them to stop before Gracie was taken off support.  The DVD is put to incredible moving music and I again cried and cried.... I am still amazed because through all of it - you can SEE love in those pictures.    It was the most loving, precious, amazing, heart wrenching - time in my life - so hard to put in to words. 

Today - Katie and I along with Wayne spent the day together - She wanted to stay at home and try to forget the day, and I was afraid she would back out - but she didn't.    We got balloons and wrote our messages on them and released them to the sky, outside the Children's zoo.  We had a picnic at a park w/Wayne and then took him to the zoo after the balloon release.  Katie wasn't sure she could take being around the kids - but all went well and Wayne enjoyed it immensely.  He got a balloon to keep for himself.  

I thought is was great way to honor Gracie - we spent it together, with her brother, we sent her our love and messages and we took her w/us in our hearts and minds to places an 18 month child would have loved.  I have asked Katie that we create this day as a day we take her someplace special with us every year and Katie has agreed.   It will be a special day for us and we will honor her life and the gift it was to us even if only for a short time. 

As for may daughter -  whose pain I can not erase, I found this poem for her and I hope it helps a little.......

Letter to Mom
    Author:  Joy Curnutt

Mom please don't feel guilty
It was my time to go.
I see you are still feeling sad
And the tears just seem to flow.

We all come to earth for our lifetime
And for some it is not many years.
I don't want you to keep crying,
You are shedding so many tears.

I haven't really left you,
Even though it may seem so.
I have just gone to my heavenly home
And I am closer to you then you know.

Just believe that when you say my name
I am standing next to you.
I know you long to see me,
But there is nothing I can do.

But I'll still send you messages
And  hope you understand.
That when your time comes to "cross over"
I'll be there to take your hand.

I thought I would blog today about her last day and all that happened and hows she was - but just like the day  - it happened like it was supposed to and so this blog flowed from me, like it needed to. 

Gracie - We will always love you  - "Always & forever"  and we will take you with us in hearts and thoughts for the rest of our lives.    Keep sending us signs!!

Love, Grammie