Thursday, May 24, 2012
At first when I lost my son I was scared to tell people his cause of death. I just wanted to say that it was SIDS. i was scared that people would judge me, or call me a bad mom. I realized within the days following my son’s death that that wouldn’t do me any good, do his memory any good, and it wouldn’t do any good to the children in the world whose parents don’t know the dangers of unsafe sleep. I decided to tell people the truth, hoping that they would be affected by it, that they would learn from it, and share it with others, and they would change their unsafe practices for my bug. It has since been my goal to spread the word about the importance of safe sleep practices, hoping that each child saved would forever carry a little piece of my bug in their heart forever, weather they know that his story saved their life or not. I have searched high and low and done a lot of research about what to do and what not to do to keep your child safe. I have found a lot of groups that have pulled me through this, showing me that I am not alone, that my child is not the only child lost this way, and in knowing that I am not the only one who is going forward in honor of their child. I have met so many moms who have been where I am, wishing they had done something different, wishing they were more educated, wishing they could change the past. Finding these groups has been an amazing form of support. I also was connected with an organization in my local area who works with parents like me who have lost their child suddenly. They do such wonderful things, like educating new parents and caregivers, and even donating cribs to struggling families who would otherwise bed-share or put their child in an unsafe environment to sleep. They do so many amazing things and we are even working on plans to organize an event in honor of my bug. I have decided to do a motorcycle run in his honor, and raise money to help educate parents on safe sleep practices, the dangers of unsafe sleep, and the facts that this does happen. My son is the proof of that, he is gone because of it, because i had him in my bed to feed him, he is gone forever. And not just the risks of bed-sharing, but the risks of cuddling up with you baby on your chest on a couch, bed or recliner, the risks of having teddy bears and crib bumpers, and the dangers of blankets with your baby. There is so much that I thought I knew, and I am realizing so much that I was wrong. And now I am making it my life-long goal to tell every parent I can about the risks that I was unaware of, the things that I didn’t know, the things that cost me my baby. Last week I was given the opportunity to speak at my old high school about safe seep practices and how they can save lives. It was an amazing opportunity to be able to reach parents and caregivers so early, before they even become parents and caregivers. A lot of the kids were surprised at how much they didn’t know, and how wrong they were about a lot of things. A lot of them had some really good questions, and were very touched by my message. I visited one of my old teachers when I was there, a teacher who didn’t even teach any of the classes I spoke too. (she is a science teacher and I spoke to the child development and advanced child development classes) She informed me that the kids in her class were talking about me and my message and my sweet bug too, a few days after my visit. That was such an amazing feeling, knowing that I touched them so much that their conversation topic turned to my story a few days later, amidst all the drama that comes along with high school, they weren’t thinking about who was kissing who under the bleachers, they were thinking about me, and my bug, and how they can save the life of a child. It was such an amazing feeling knowing that I made a difference, just a step in my journey to save lives for my bug.
Mother’s day was one of the hardest days of my journey yet. I woke up that day and realized that I didn’t have anyone to give me a big wet drooly mother’s day kiss. It is my first Mother’s day and I didn’t even want to move. I decided to do what I could to honor and love to the women in my life who have been strong, loving, and caring to me, and who have played a motherly role in my life.I also wanted to remind the world that I am still a mother, even though my son is no longer in my arms. I wore a beautiful corsage all day (from my mom) with my sons picture hanging from an angel pin on it. That way everyone knew that though I did not have a child in my arms, I have one in my heart. I decided to go visit my bug with my mom, I wanted to just sit there all day and spend my first mother’s day with my son, like any mother should. Well my mom picked me up and we headed out to the cemetery. When we pulled up to the mausoleum where he is I noticed that there was something up by his spot on the wall. I just assumed that it was for someone who is around him, maybe above him on the wall. As I walked closer I saw this beautiful plant stand with a plant in it, a balloon that said happy mother’s day, and a card. How sweet, even after death someone must really love their mommy, I thought to myself. As I got closer I realized I was right. Death was not enough to break a bond between a mother and child, me and my son. The card on the plant said to my mommy. I broke into tears, looked over at my mom and she was in tears too. The bug helped her find the perfect gift, the perfect wind chime, the perfect card and even the perfect balloon for me. She went to the cemetery and got it all set up for me, from him, so that I could have a mother’s day gift from my bug too. We spent some time there, watching all the people visit their mothers on Mother’s Day, just sitting with my bug and my mom, wishing that he was here still. After a bit we went home for a delicious breakfast courtesy of my step-dad, and I headed out for all my stops. I visited with my mother in-law, my grandmother, and then I went to visit my step-mom. When I got to my dad’s house I was surprised to get handed a little bag. I wasn’t expecting anything at all. I opened it to find a beautiful charm bracelet, with 5 charms that all had a special meaning. A blue bead with bugs on it, of course because my baby was my bug, another a bead with blue stones and an angel hanging down of course because my baby is an angel, the next a mother with her arms around her child reminding the world that I am a mother too, a ruby bead for my bug’s birthstone, and finally a sweet little paw-print bead for my 2 furry babies too. It was so special, I lost it again. My step-mom got a similar bracelet with similar charms, each with a special meaning. After I cried for a few minutes I thanked my dad and step-mom and I realized something. I am an amazing mom because I have amazing parents. My mom and my dad and my step-parents, even my grandparents and mother-in-law too, have all been such an amazing influence on me, they have taught me so much love, strength, and stood beside me through this, as hard as it is for me to lose my son, it is just as hard on them, if not harder. They not only lost a grandchild that sad day, but they also have to suffer through wishing they could take away all my pain. It made me feel so loved, so blessed to have an amazing family, an amazing support system, just to be surrounded by so many people who love me so much. I am still a mother, I am an angel mother, and someday when the timing is right, I will be an earth mommy again too.
One of the hardest parts of being an angel mom is looking at other parents, especially ones with children the same age as yours, and saying “it should be me”. This has been an especially difficult thing for me lately as my son would be hitting so many monumental firsts, I have a very dear friend that has a child a few days older than Bug, he started walking a few weeks ago and I cried thinking, wow, my bug would be walking too, he would be at least pulling himself up on furniture, walking with a push-toy, things like that. I think of how I missed that first roll-over, that first crawl, that first tooth, the first taste of solid foods, all the firsts I saw my friends experience with their children so close in age to him, it should be me. I should have those moments, I should be smiling at my baby with sheer joy at how amazing he is and how fast he is growing. Instead im not, im looking at these children with tears in my eyes wishing it was my son making these milestones. This has been so hard lately because I have so many friends and family who also have children experiencing their first birthday within days even weeks of his. Seeing all these moms who I shared my pregnancy with planning their child’s first birthday parties, thinking bug would have a yankee-doodle party for his birthday, I even had his first birthday pics planned out, him in a yankee doodle hat, wearing one of those cute blue-jean diapers, or blue jean bloomers, waving a flag, nothing on but the diaper. The red white and blue decorations and invitations that I would be setting up, and the look of awe on his face when he saw his first birthday fireworks. Instead I am sitting back, trying to be happy for my fellow moms, trying not to be jealous of their lives, but I cant help thinking it should be me. I sat with my little cousin tonight, its his 2nd birthday, and I just rubbed his little feet until he fell asleep, to me it was a special, sweet moment, watching him fight back those dreams, trying to enjoy every last second of his birthday, and all I could think is I wont ever get this. I wont ever sit up with my baby rubbing his feet until he falls asleep, I wont just look at him wondering what hes dreaming about, I will never watch him dive into cake or run with balloons or tear open gifts. I cant help but think it should be me. I just miss my bug, I miss the memories I never will have, I miss the things that were stolen from me along with my son. I miss the little things, the things that some parents just overlook. To all my readers who are moms, please, please, please, treasure every moment, every smile, every little thing that you may not think matters, even the hard times, the screams, and the tears. It all counts.