Thursday, November 27, 2008


I heard this song last night and I think it pretty much sums up my life right about now:

Colbie Caillat "Older"

Waited all my life for this day to come
I feel like letting go
Life goes on
Wasting no more time
So much to be done
Everything works out
So they say
Over my shoulder
It's tough getting older
Yeah, yeah

Seems like nothing is black and white anymore
Shades of gray and I feel a weight over my shoulder
It's tough getting older
I always thought that I knew where I'd want to go
Now I'm here and I find that I'm still getting colder
It's kinda tough getting older

Here before my eyes
Many roads ahead
Time for me to choose one way now
If I take a chance
What lies down the road
Feeling so confused
Turned around
On and on
On and on
Yeah, yeah'

Seems like nothing is black and white anymore
Shades of gray and I feel a weight over my shoulder
It's tough getting older
I always thought that I knew where I'd want to go
Now I'm here and I find that I'm still getting colder
It's kinda tough getting older

Waited all my life for this day to come
I feel like letting go
Life goes on
Over my shoulder
It's tough getting older
Yeah, yeah'

Seems like nothing is black and white anymore
Shades of gray and I feel a weight over my shoulder
It's tough getting older
I always thought that I knew where I'd want to go
Now I'm here and I find that I'm still getting colder
It's kinda tough getting older

Seems like nothing is black and white anymore
Shades of gray and I feel a weight over my shoulder
It's tough getting older

Its kind of "funny" counselor and I have talked about 'gray' a lot. Nothing about losing a child is black and white, she says to find something gray and hang it up in our house so I can look at it often to remind me of that.

It also reminded me of a night shortly after......I was out with my friend and she was telling me about all these other people she knew who had lost a child or dealt with some awful tragedy. It was just so depressing! I kept thinking, being an adult sucks. What is the friggin' point??? Everyone just hurts and bad stuff happens to everyone, and now I hear about all of it, all of the time.

Its like when you are going through something momentous, like getting married or having your first baby...everyone identifies and bonds with you by saying "oh, my {fill in the blank: sister, friend, mom, cousin, neighbor} is {fill in the blank: getting married next month, is expecting a baby girl, just bought a house, too!}. Well, now I hear story after story after story of so-and-so who lost their child by {take your pick of horrific accidents}. On one hand, it does kind of help...knowing I'm not alone in this journey. One the other hand, its really, really, really depressing when I stop and think about it. Every new story...another mother in such agony, another sweet little baby laid to rest in the ground instead of in her arms....

Its so hard to not wonder where and how God is through all of this. Why do some get their 'miracles' and others do not? What are 'tender mercies' and are they really Heavenly Father reaching forth His hand to help lighten our burden...or just coincidences that people use to try and find something good in something bad? I keep reading about them...if we had any tender mercies in the way Gavin died, I am not strong enough to recognize them. With the way I feel now, I can't imagine that I ever will be. Why would He care about all these seemingly little everyday things going on in people's lives, and then let something so huge happen, and in such a horrible way? Where were our tender mercies? Because I can list out a TON of things that made it SO much worse, things that could have been "lightened"....things we could have been "spared" from so as not to have that little bit of extra pain.

And not just Gavin...things like this are happening everywhere. My favorite go-to place: Africa. Take your pick of injustices and cruelties. Where is the Heavenly Father that we LDS-ers like to bear our testimony about therew? Where are their tender mercies? Where are their Visting Teachers who just "had a feeling" and showed up on their doorstep with fresh-baked bread or whatever else. Does He really care about the "bad day" of so-and-so in sunny Mesa, AZ enough to send them a little "tender mercy"...but then allow another to be thrown into a pit of fire? I just can't fathom it. It drives me crazy. I hate those two words right now. Throw in 'miracle' for good measure, too. Because they all lead back to the same stupid question...."WHY???"

And finally...will I ever stop playing this game of "drive myself insane by running circles around all the questions that can never, ever be answered"???? Its not that I have lost my testimony, its just that its currently in a million pieces and I have absolutely no idea how to fit them back together with all of these new pieces. All the good ole, standard gospel "feel good" answers just don't...well, make me feel any good (I'm sure there will be a post on *those* sometime in the future). I am far from the "Primary/Garden of Eden" part of my life. And let me tell you, trial by fire...this is it. All the gospel fluff has been burned away, and now the rest is being beaten with a hot iron sledgehammer. I read a book on grieving called "Jesus Wept" and this is a passage from it:

"Grief work will likely become the hardest work we will ever do. It will extract more time, patience, and energy than most of us expect or feel capable of enduring."

I doubt in the end my testimony is going to be very pretty or fluffy, but its sure going to be a helluva lot stronger.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


About this time in the morning, 2 months ago, I received the phone call from Andre that was the beginning of the end. I was sleeping at the hotel, he had stayed at the hospital that night. As soon as my cell phone rang, I knew...I *knew* it was bad news. My stomach instantly knotted up. All of his levels had gotten worse overnight. I just kept saying "Why? No! WHY? NO! NO!" I still feel like screaming when I hear cell phones ring, especially if its the same ringtone. I had to change mine afterwards.

I still don't understand. Why did Gavin have three good days only to crash in the end? Why did God give us hope? That crash, it was so much worse because of it. It was falling from such a higher place than I was only days before. I BELIEVED.

Today is going to be hard. As much as I try, I know I will be glancing at the clock all day, remembering what I was doing at that exact moment. Willing the hours to stop moving, willing the inevitable to go away. Inwardly screaming at Time and Fate and God and Death to stay away from him, from our family, from me. WHY? NO! PLEASE! NO!!!

Baby, I miss you so much. I'm so sorry.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gavin's Story published

One of the writers at the American Liver Foundation heard about Gavin's story and wrote an article about him. It's on the front page of their website:

Saturday, November 15, 2008


This week has been really hard. I have lost motivation for a lot of things...I'm just too sad. I try to go to the store, but all I see are the things I *would* have bought for Gavin. Half the time I think "Oh, Gavin would LOVE this!" before realizing he's no longer here. I had been trying to find the perfect mobile to hang in the corner of his bedroom, one to match his rocket ship bedding. And I finally found one...the most perfect one ever...inexpensive, crafty, sparkley, the perfect colors, a little do-it-yourself kit from Martha Stewart. I just stood there and tried not to cry. He would have really loved it. I bought it anyway. I don't know why. I just couldn't leave it there. Maybe I am a sucker for punishment...I guess I can always go put it on his grave. :( It really, really sucks to replace all those urges to buy him something cute, with "what can we put on his grave?" It hurts so much...I try to get the kids involved, so they can feel good about leaving something nice there...but inside I just cry. I don't want to buy my baby things for his grave.

One night was particularly rough, another huge tsunami. They start out so small, but I can feel it coming and it just gets bigger and bigger until I can't control it anymore. Its terrifying to feel so overwhelmed and helpless like that. I just don't understand why this had to happen. Why would Heavenly Father allow this? Why have there been so many things in my life that have been so hard? They didn't have to be this way...Heavenly Father could've stopped them. So, why?

If the gospel and His plan is all about families and eternity and sharing the gospel, then why didn't He leave Gavin here with us? We would have taught him well, we would have raised him up in the gospel, he would have been happy...and his children, and their children would have followed on that path, too. Isn't that the point of being here? So why?

If Heavenly Father loves me, why wouldn't He have blessed us? If I was trying to do what's right, why didn't He answer our prayers? Did we not ask the right way? Did we not pray enough? Were we not spiritually in tune? Why didn't we get any promptings? Why didn't the doctors get any promptings? Why couldn't this have been caught before it was too late? Gavin didn't have to get a sore from that tape on his skin, it didn't have to get infected, that fungus didn't have to get in, it didn't have to spread to his lungs- all of it, He could have stopped it. He could have prevented it. So why?

I don't feel like this is making me stronger or better, its breaking me. Its breaking my heart, my soul, my hope, my do I put something back together when its been shattered into a million pieces? I have gone through so many different trials in my life, and NOTHING compares to this...NOTHING. Not having divorced parents, not having my dad die, not getting pregnant at a young age, not being divorced, not being a single mom with two small children, not having a child who is sick...NONE of that pain even comes close to this. None of those things made me lose hope for a better life to come. It hurt while I was going through it, but I always had hope that things would get better.

Now its too easy to say "what other bad thing is going to happen? what's next?". I am scared now...I don't look forward to the rest of my life, I fear it. Why would Heavenly Father want me to feel this way? With every trial I have been through, I refused to let it keep me down, eventually I managed to find my way back out again. Its made me scrappy and resilient, and I'm not upset about that anymore.

But this...this is too much. Doesn't He know that this is too much for a Mother to bear? Thats its impossible to put the pieces back together after something like this? I can't just move on from this and find something better...I have lost pieces of my heart forever, I can't ever fix it. They will always be gone. This is just too much. Its so hard for me to pray most of the time...when God, He is the one with the control, He is the one who let this happen. Its hard to even address Him without thinking "WHY?????" Its like I'm keeping my distance, because if I get too close again something else horrible is going to happen.

This week, time felt like it had stopped and my suffering wouldn't ever get better. I thought I was doing so well the last couple of weeks, and then BAM, it overtook me again. Its just so disheartening. I don't want to feel this way...I just don't know how not to. I try reading all the books, thinking about Emma and all her lost babies, or my Great-Grandma who lost two of her little ones, or other moms of angel children who are going through this or are further out and seem to be doing better. Sometimes it helps for a little bit, but the hurt never really truly goes away. Its always under the surface waiting for something to pull it out again.

Nothing feels big enough to help heal this wound. Nothing feels big enough to fill this empty place in my soul. And yet somewhere inside, I know that that is what the Atonement is for. That nobody, NOBODY knows exactly how this feels except for Christ. He knows. He knows. I know that can help somehow, I just don't know how to make it work for this, for me, right now. So many of the moms who have gone through this before me talk about how it has helped them. I just can't even begin to picture it right now. Its not even just out of my reach, its a million miles away. I just wish I could be enveloped in it right now.

The other night Andre brought up the Mayan Calendar (ya know, how "they" say the world will end in 2012 because thats when their calendar ends? He likes learning about that weird stuff, don't ask.) Usually it really upsets me when he brings stuff like that up. I don't like thinking about the Second Coming, why would I want that to happen? I've got a life and my family and I need more time! I want to raise my kids! I don't want to go through all that scary stuff! So on election night he says "Whoever is elected will be President in 2012" Uh-huh, thats nice, dear...then he said, in a tone much too serious for our usual bantering, "Well...I hope it is the Second Coming" I was about to retort my usual reply when I suddenly stopped and thought...Oh! We'll see Gavin again...Oh!!!

Suddenly I'm not scared anymore of the "end of the world". I'm more scared to live through the rest of the trials that are lined up for me. I would want nothing more than for this life as we know it to stop and for everything to be happy and good and beautiful and to see my baby. I don't care about all the things that used to be so important to me, all the Earthly life experiences I wanted to enjoy...none of it interests me now. None of it will be the same without Gavin here anyway. I wonder if this is what all the old people feel like...when so many of their loved ones have already passed on before them? Do they look towards their death with excitement, with peace? I know this probably sounds disturbing to those who just don't "get it" (and I pray you never do), but rest assured that although the thought of passing on and seeing my baby again makes my heart sing, I have not thought about taking matters into my own hands. (that would require motivation...just kidding.) See, I even have a sense of humor...dark, but there.

I know I need to focus more on prayer and trying to connect just feels too big right now. Although I guess it beats the alternative of suffering through this alone, no matter how scary it is to take that plunge again. It reminds me of that poem I found awhile back:

Come to the edge.
We can't. We're afraid.
Come to the edge.
We can't. We will fall!
Come to the edge.
And they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.

-- Guillaume Apollinaire

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wherever you go

Television is another of one those things that is now perilous. Thank goodness we have digital cable now and it says what the show is along the bottom of the screen before the image actually comes up. I flip through the channels as fast as I can, pausing only to briefly read the title:

E.R. {flip}
Grey's Anotomy {flip}
Heroes {flip}
House {flip}
A Baby Story {flip}
Law & Order: SVU {flip}
Law & Order: CSI {flip}
Six Feet Under {flip}
Bringing Home Baby {flip}
Scrubs {flip}
Mystery Diagnosis {flip}
Ghost Hunters {flip}

All of sudden a major portion of TV shows are not at all interesting, especially medical ones. Why would it be when I've had front row seats to the "action" in real life? And trust me, its not entertaining. I used to *love* Scrubs...I used to flip back and forth between two different episodes that were on different channels at the same time. Its just not that funny anymore.

And then Andre and I started watching Heroes again, we had missed all of the third season. Those of you who watch this series, I'm sure you can think about the running theme this season and know why we just had to stop watching. I swear in every. single. episode. this season they've shown someone with a G-tube in their nose. What?! I have *never* ever seen that in a TV show before...and I would've remembered if I had, because when we started seeing them on all the liver kids it freaked me out. And now it is EVERYWHERE.

I've been subsisting on the Food Network, America's Next Top Model reruns and What Not To Wear. Safe, mindless, comfortable. I can handle some episodes of Jon & Kate + 8, another used-to-be favorite show of mine. Sometimes I have to turn it off though because I start looking at all those kids and thinking "out of all them, all eight...they are all healthy and beautiful and growing just fine..." and its hard not to be jealous and wonder "...why?".

Movies aren't that safe think one will be light and funny and perfectly harmless, and then BAM, out of nowhere the lead lands herself in the hospital (with a g-tube in her nose, naturally) or someone suddenly becomes really super heartbroken and they play meloncholy music while she bawls her head off for the next 30 scenes.

And don't forget music. Oh gosh, the MUSIC is the worst. I hardly ever listen to the radio anymore because you never know what song will come on next. One from his website, one I cried to one night as I drove to the hospital for the umpteenth night in a row...

You know that quote, "Wherever you go, there you are?" Ya, life's like that. No matter where I go, no matter what I do, the pain finds me eventually. {stab} {stab} {stab} I feel like I live in the dark, and every once in awhile I venture outside and the sun is just too bright, too harsh and everything feels too big and awkward and unnatural. Its all you can do sometimes to surface and force yourself to get dressed, force yourself to leave the house, force yourself to smile, and let the sun shine on your face...let the music play. I can only take so much of it at a time, its just little steps (see, I was about to type "baby" steps and it just about...oh, and right then I almost wrote "killed me" GAH!!!!! See what its like living in my mind?? Its crazy.) anyway, what I'm trying to say is...its slow going progress.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Its really frustrating trying to live "normally" in a world that is no longer normal to me. I don't want to be someone that others feel like they have to walk on eggshells around...but honestly, 99% of the experiences I have now remind me in some way of the awful things I have seen. Its just really hard.

Tonight we went to our church Film Festival, one of those things that we really could have cared less about right now, but we're trying to get out, trying to be "normal" so we went. It was really, truly funny! Everyone had submitted their own short films and they served popcorn and soda. We laughed a lot...the kids in our ward are so stinkin' cute. They had these segments where they "interviewed" the kids one by one and asked them gospel related questions and some of their answers were just priceless.

Then, *smack* the reminder. One of the questions was "Who is the Prophet?" which was followed by "What happened to Pres. Hinckley?" (the last prophet of our church who recently passed away). So they ask the first child:

"What happened to Pres. Hinckley?"

"He died."

...and then the next child...

"What happened to Pres. Hinckley?"

"He died."

...and the next child...

"He died."

"He died."

"He died."

"He died."

I was seriously about to stand up and shout "OK WE GET IT, THE OLD MAN KICKED THE BUCKET". I am not sure why they asked that question in the first place...what did they expect to hear the kids say? It wasn't funny like the other questions and answers were. And it didn't stop there. The next question was "How do we get to Heaven?"

"We die."

"We die."

"We die."

"We die."

"We die."

Seriously now. Its just makes me sad...most of the people in that room probably didn't even bat an eyelash at it, it just wouldn't even occur to them how that sounds to someone who is grieving, especially when it is so recent and raw. I wish such simple words didn't feel like stabs in my heart. I wish they didn't affect me so much and make me feel like screaming from the room. I wish I didn't feel like I trail my sadness behind me wherever I go. I wish I didn't feel so crazy!!!

Die. Death. Kill.

The words are everywhere...even *I* still use them without thinking. Example: Joenick runs into the house after school.

Joenick: "Mommy, guess what? I was riding my bike and I was going fast and there was a trash can and I had to swerve and almost crashed!!!!"

Me: "Oh my goodness, were you gonna di--{choke}, oh."

The words fly out of everyone's mouths without a second thought "I swear, I almost died." "It was killing me!" "I was scared to death!" You really don't even notice until suddenly you are spending every waking second trying NOT to remember those words and all that they encompass. There's just no way to avoid it.

It makes me sad that this is my new life, and it makes me sad for everyone else. I know no one means to say or do something that would remind me, but at this point, its just impossible not to, even for me! And when it does happen, and then they do realize and then they feel so bad...I just feel bad for everyone all around. Really though, I am sad all the time. There isn't much anyone could say to me at this point that would really make it that much worse. I am always a second away from tears. I am always feeling that ache. I'm not offended by it or anything...I know this is hard for everyone, and I love everyone just the same. Its just really hard.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


This morning I am feeling a lot of regret. Regret for things I wish I would have done...regret for things we couldn't do.

With the cooler weather I keep thinking "Gavin would love this!" he loved going on walks, but it was so hard to take him out often during the summer while it was so hot. And we couldn't escape in the evening a lot of times either because we were too busy trying to hook up his feeding tubes. Or we were in the hospital and stuck inside. One of the last things Andre and I got to do with him together at home was taking him on a long walk around our neighborhood one evening after dinner. We went all the way up to the golf course and walked all the way around that, too. Andre had him up on his shoulders so he could see everything. He never made a sound...just looked and looked and looked. And a couple days before I left UCLA that fateful weekend, I took Gavin out for a long walk all the way around the hospital grounds in his little red wagon. Our last stop was the water fountain pools where I laid him on the bricks so he could dip his hands in the water and splash around. He loved it!!! We stayed out there for a really long time. I wish we could have gone on walks every single day...and I wish we could still take him on walks now...

I wish I would have taken more snapshots of him with the kids. We have hardly any pictures of *just* the kids together during those last few months. Granted, we were in and out of the hospital so much...but still. I remember so many times when we *were* home and they would be playing with him or holding him on the couch and I would think "I should take a picture!" but then I'd change my mind because I was "too busy" or "their hair was messed up" or "Gavin wasn't dressed in something cute" and I would think "I'll take one later when they are dressed up more."

A really painful regret is that I didn't let the kids hold Gavin more often. They asked all the time, and so many times I said "not right now, maybe later, next time..." because it was such a "hassle" to get them all set up on the couch, and make sure they held him right, and if they were feeding him that they held the bottle right, and it took so much longer when they did it. I feel like I robbed them of precious moments together with their baby brother close to their hearts. I wish I had made the time, made the effort, stopped for a few moments and just let them love each other...

I also wish I had more snapshots of him and I together. Most of our pictures are of him and Andre, because I was the one who watched for "kodak moments" and I was the one who took most of the pictures. Thats what stinks about being the "family photographer" capture all the moments of everyone else, and no one thinks about taking any pictures of you.

I wish I would have taken a "nice" picture of the kids all together. The last time I tried, Gavin was 5 months old and he cried through most of them. And during his last "photoshoot" the kids weren't there. I really wish I had been able to dress them all in white and take a picture of them together like that. I love the way those pictures look. I have one of Joenick and Evienne before Gavin was born, and it is so sweet. I look at it now and it just makes me regret...

I wish Gavin could have gone to church more. I wish he could have heard the singing, heard the prayers, felt the Spirit. I wish our family could have sat in a row and cuddled and loved our little man and passed him around and entertained him during sacrament meeting. I wish I could have had an excuse to dress him up every week and have 3 long hours of cuddle time with him. I wish I could have held him like that every week, and had him fall asleep in my arms during Sunday School. I wish I could have shown him off like that...instead the only place anyone in the ward ever saw him was in the hospital when they voluntered to sit with him in the afternoons so I could go be with the kids.

I wish he could have played with his cousins more often. Most of the time we had to keep him at home so he wouldn't get sick. He and Ayla were just getting old enough to start playing together. Their version of "playing" was Ayla climbing all over Gavin, and he loved it! :) I wish he could keep playing with his cousins and grow up with them. I wish his cousins didn't have to grow up thinking of him as an angel and wondering what he was like.

I wish we could have taken him more places and done more things with him. I wish we could have gone to the park more. He was just getting old enough to really enjoy it, and it was cooling off just enough to be able to take him in the evenings. During his last "photoshoot" with me we put him in a swing for the FIRST time ever and he loved it! He smiled so big...thats one of my favorite pictures of him, and the one my cousin framed for us for the funeral. How I wish we would have gone back again the next evening, instead of doing whatever else we did that night. How I wish we would have gone back every I wish I could take him there today, right now with this cool breeze, all bundled up in a jacket, jeans and chunky little boy shoes! How I wish I could watch his little nose and cheeks grow pink with cold and excitement! How I wish he could learn to go down the slide!

I wish I hadn't been so tired and "busy" during my days with him. Mornings were always so hard, trying to get the kids ready for school while Gavin was still hooked up to his feeding tubes. He almost always ended up crying, wanting more attention and I had to just let him cry while I finished up with the kids. By the time I had them off to school, and then him unhooked from all his stuff, and his clothes changed, and his sheets changed, and his diaper changed, and breakfast fed...I was so stressed out all I wanted to do was put him down for his morning nap!

I wish I would have had a rocking chair so I could have held him longer at night. One time when he was younger, and we could still bring him to church, I took him into the Mother's Lounge to feed him and the rocker chairs in there were SO comfortable! I loved it, we stayed in there extra long just rocking. That last month I felt such a need to do be able to sit and rock with him for a very long time. To just hold him into the dark hours of the night in a big, comfy chair, rocking him back and forth and gaze at his sweet litte face. I always loved doing that at the hospital, they always had rocking chairs out in the hall and first thing I'd do after we were admitted admitted, was to find one and drag it into his room. I loved just sitting and rocking him and holding him close. I searched craigslist for weeks that last month home trying to find the "right one" and one night I felt like I *HAD* to go buy one I had found, but I didnt because everyone was so busy, and it was late. How I wish I had listened to my instincts and gotten the chair anyway, even though I knew it would have been annoying to have to go out and get it that night. It was the last week we were home...and I never got to hold my baby and just rock him for hours...

I wish we could have shown him more of the things in this life...I hate Arizona, its too hot to do anything 75% of the year. I wish he were here now, now thats it cooler, now that I could take him to the zoo all day long and just walk around with him while he looked and looked and looked. The only time he went he was too little to really see anything. He would have loved the zoo. I wish we could have taken him to the Tempe water park and he could have crawled around in the little water river and played in the fountain. He LOVED playing in water...he would have loved it so much. I WISH SO MUCH he could have gone swimming. I would have taken him every day this summer if he hadn't had that stupid central line in. His favorite thing was taking baths...he would have loved swimming. I even bought him the cutest little swimsuit shorts and matching rashguard shirt right before summer, right before they put the central line in. I was SO excited to take him swimming! But now it still sits in his closet...tags still on, never used. I wish we would have had days and years to explore the kids museums and the parks and the playgrounds while the kids were in school during the day. I wish I could have brought him to the school during their lunch hour so we could all eat together and he could wish he could be in school like his big brother and sister!

I really, really, really wish I could have thrown him a birthday party. Even just one...I already had it all planned out, even if it was going to be at the hospital. It was going to be Baby Einstein themed (he LOVED those little movies!) and his cake was going to be the little caterpillar that crawls out in the beginning (he LOVED that caterpillar!). I was so excited to see his face when he saw it...his favorite thing ever right in front of him, all his to devour!!! We would have had balloons, lots of balloons and streamers and a big banner that said "Happy 1st Birthday, Gavin!" and I was going to hang it across his door. We were even going to give out real invitations to all his doctors and the nurses, and have cupcakes for everyone and a bowl of candy to set by the door, little buttermints in shiny red, blue and yellow "1st birthday" wrappers. And we were going to have sheets of red stickers that said "Thanks for coming to my party!" to give out to everyone. We were going to buy him his own wagon for at home, and a little upholstered chair that was all his own. I was going to have the kids fly out, too, and we would have celebrated all day long! They would have had so much fun picking out presents for their baby brother. They loved him so would have made them feel so special to wrap up their gifts and then watch him tear off the paper. I can see their faces in my mind...I can play out the whole day, see exactly how it would have gone, feel how happy we would have been! How I wish it were real. The day before he died everyone was so hopeful and his doctor said it would be a great goal to have him fully awake and up and off the respirator by then. I excitedly told Gavin that he had to wake up soon so he could have birthday cake and we could sing Happy Birthday to him, and open up all his fun presents! Its just so cruel that he missed it all by only 14 days...

I was going to get his hair cut for the first time on his birthday, too, even if I had to call around and find someone who would be willing to come to the hospital and do it. He would have looked so grown up with his new "big boy" haircut! Of course he would have gotten a lollipop, his first one! And he would have been a sticky mess, with little hairs everywhere. Those little curls would have been neatly clipped, tied and tucked into his baby book, one more milestone to record and one more event to capture with pictures! Instead...I had to quietly and sadly cut one small curl off the back of his neck as I dressed him for his casket. It will be the last thing to go in his baby book. The last milestone, the last entry, the last pictures to that no one would ever want to see. The rest of his little teeth will never grow in. He will never weigh more than 16 lbs. He will never take his first step or say his first word. His cute little baby book that I so lovingly picked out, that I was so excited to fill up with treasures and memories, will always be unfinished...blank lines and emtpy pages, milestones never reached...

I wish we could have spent Halloween trick-or-treating, instead of trying to hide our grief from the world. I was going to dress Gavin up as a little vampire, it would have been his first little suit...but then again, I saw the cutest Curious George costume in the store, so maybe I would have changed my mind! We were just starting to get into Curious George, I think he would have liked it. And we would have just walked and walked around the neighborhood while he looked and looked and looked at everyone. He would have been so mystified at all the colors and costumes, and he would have loved it! We would have taken the cutest picture of him and all his little cousins dressed up together...and I can just see them looking at each other like "what are you *wearing*?!" and trying to pull off each others headbands and wings and tails. Or the other scenario, the realistic one, as we would have still been in the hospital...I still would have dressed him up and they would have had trick-or-treating in the hallways, and the nurses would have given out candy, and they might have even had a little party for the kids in the playroom. The nurses would have LOVED his costume, no matter what he was. They loved our little guy so much...he would have been so cute! We would have pulled him around in his wagon all night and he would have loved it.

I wish we would be spending Thanksgiving together and being SO THANKFUL because he got his miracle and was getting better. Even if we were in the hospital, it would have been nice. I'm sure they will be serving crappy Thanksgiving food in the hospital cafeteria, haha, :P and Gavin would have loved eating the mashed potatoes and the sweet potatoes and the bread. But his favorite part would have been the pumpkin pie!!! They had already started serving pumpkin pie in the cafeteria that month we were there. The very last thing Gavin and I did together, before I left that weekend and he got put in the ICU, was sharing a piece of pumpkin pie together. We sat on the couch in his hospital room and ate pie and looked out his window at all the cars driving by in the streets below. He loved that pie, it was the first time he had had it! If I wasn't fast enough he would reach out and grab the fork to bring it to his mouth faster! If he were still here I'd bring him a whole piece of pumpkin pie just for himself. Instead, Andre will be working on Thanksgiving and I will be feeling everything BUT thankful. :(

I wish I could be planning what to buy him for Christmas this year. I would be getting him those waffle/pokey, lego block things that stick together. They had a little table of them at the hospital here in AZ in the playroom and during his last stay there he LOVED playing with them! I would make little towers all over the board for him, and he would pull off the pieces one by one and throw them on the floor. Or he would pick one up and bang it on the board and stop to listen to the sound it made...over and over. He was just discovering *sounds* and everytime he got something new in his hands he wanted to bang it or drop it or shake it to hear what kind of sound it made. On our last drive to the hospital from the airport together, I sat in the back of the taxi with him and he was fussing so I gave him a mini tylenol bottle I had in my purse. He shook that thing the ENTIRE way there! He loved it! Maybe I could have found him some cute wooden maracas for Christmas, too, they would have been so cute in his stocking. He definitely would have gotten some new cute socks...and probably his first pair of "big boy" shoes. And definitely some new baby Einstein dvds!!! :) I would have bought him some new board books and probably some bath toys as he was getting old enough to sit up in the big bathtub. I would have put some yummy teething cookies in his stocking, maybe a "big boy" spoon and fork. I would have made him a new blanket...I had been wanting to make him one that was soft and fuzzy on one side, and cool and silky on the other. And I would have bought him a whole stack of precious, feet-y pajamas. He would have been so darn cute wearing them for the first time, trying to figure out what was on his feet and how funny it was to crawl around in them. Danggit...I want to see my baby in feet-y pajamas. :(

He would have loved going on walks through the neighborhood in the evening and seeing all the Christmas lights...oh he would have LOVED IT! I can just see his face in my mind...and we would have gone to the Temple to see the Christmas lights there multiple times I'm sure. He would have had so much fun there. And he would have LOVED the Christmas tree! He would have driven me crazy trying to grab all the ornaments off it. How I wish he could drive me crazy and that I could be stressed out all month long that he might pull the Christmas Tree over! We would have dressed up as the Nativity Scene again this year, and it would have taken FOREVER to get a picture because Gavin would be trying to crawl all over the place...actually, now that I think of it, he would be 14 months old, so I'm sure he would have been walking. Ya, there would have been NO way to get him to sit still! :) I wish I had made the kids' felt stockings last year like I was planning to...they were each going to have a different picture on the front, and their names stitched across the top. I think I was going to put a reindeer on Gavin's stocking, or maybe it was a snowman. Now even if I do find the time or willpower to make them, one will never get used...always empty.

I wish I could have seen him take his first step, and make it all the way across the floor. I wish I could have watched the kids being so careful and helpful with him, holding his hands and calling out to him so he would walk to them. They would have been so excited! I wish I could watch him teeter towards me and then grab him up at the last second in a big bear hug and cheer "YAY!!!!" and he would smile and laugh and be so proud of himself...just like he did when he learned to wave.

I wish he had learned to give kisses. I wish he had learned to say "mama" and "dada". I wish he had learned to say "luv yoo". I wish he could learn to ride a trike. I wish we could pick out his backpack for his first day of preschool. I wish I could cry because my baby was going to Kindergarten.

I wish he could grow up and have best friends and scraped knees and be sad the day Gretel finally got too old and died. I wish he could go to high school and learn to drive and get a part-time job. The class of 2025 will never know that there should have been a Gavin Sprague growing up with them all this time...the kid who would have been their best friend, the kid who could have been on their soccer team, the kid who might have been valedictorian- who knows. The cute boy in history class a girl would have had a crush on, the boy who could have asked her to her first school dance, the boy who might have been her first boyfriend, the boy she might have waited for and married. None of them will even know he existed, that someone is missing when they call out names on graduation night.

I wish we could send him on a mission. I wish I could worry about him day and night and wait anxiously for letters. I wish we could go through the Temple with him and see him make those oh so important covenants. I wish he could get married and have children. I wish he could have a whole line of great-grandkids and great-great-grandkids who would hear stories about their "Grandpa Gavin".

All these things, each one is another stab of pain, another stab of grief...its not just losing a child, its losing experiences and memories and pictures and smiles and laughs and hugs and kisses and a whole future. Days and hours and seconds...a whole lifetime. A whole legacy. I will continue to have losses my entire life, as each empty milestone approaches and passes, and my child isn't here to experience them. My grieving will never be complete because there will always be fresh losses around each corner...little stabs of pain, regret, longing, wishing...wanting.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

new journey, new blog

I made a new blog for me to talk just about Gavin and this "new journey" we're on. I decided I didn't want to use his old blog for that...I want somewhere else. I haven't been able to post my feelings online for awhile, I'm not sure why. I definitely had no problem doing it before! Part of me is scared to "put them down on paper" because maybe then they won't go away. But I think being able to express them will help me move through them.

There are a LOT of gray areas in my life right now...things I was so sure about before are muddled and confusing. I like things black and white...this is definitely NOT black and white. Trust me when I say that it is so easy for others looking in to be confident in what "we believe" and to feel comfort from that. I.e. "we'll see him again someday" and "Heavenly Father knows all". It is NOT the same when you are actually thrown a situation that forces you to examine "What do *I* REALLY believe?" and having to do this during the most horrible, unimaginable pain ever.

It *is* doubting everything the gospel teaches us...doubting "the plan", doubting an afterlife, a chance to be together again, doubting Heavenly Father's love for us, His involvement in our lives. How can you not??? When everything you care about, everything that matters, everything in your life now rests on whether or not its true??? How can you not be filled with fear at the dreadful thought that creeps into the back of your mind..."but what if its not...?"? When it would take away all your hope, take away your entire reason for taking one breath and then another, take away the meaning of your entire LIFE???

And that is the worst part of all. Being in your own personal Gethsemene, bearing your own personal cross and at the absolute worst part of it feeling forsaken and alone and doubting as Christ did when He was on the cross, and wondered in agony "Why hast Thou forsaken me???". If even Christ himself, being a perfect man, having a perfect knowledge of all things, and knowing the end from the beginning, had to feel that way, then perhaps there is a higher reason for it, some meaning in it, something you have to go through. Or maybe we simply cannot feel the Spirit when we are in that much physical, emotional, and spiritual agony. Maybe even the Spirit cannot console us when we are experiencing a loss that is just too much for our imperfect, veiled, mortal beings to bear. "It is hard to hear the still, small voice when your soul is screaming in pain".

I felt no peace at all this month. None. The night Gavin died I was in such agony, I can't even begin to describe it. I prayed, pleaded, begged that Heavenly Father would at least let me sleep, let me escape this pain for a short while and it never came. It was the most awful night of my entire life. My physical body just could. not. handle that much excrutiating pain. The week after was just numb...all of our family was around, there were so many decisions needed to be made for the funeral, it was the easiest week.

Its the weeks after that have been harder. The torture of that first night returns often...wondering why? how? what if...? going over it in my head, over and over and over and over. Feeling like it is my fault, that I could have done something differently, that I wasn't paying enough could I possibly live with myself? The overwhelming sadness, missing him so much, wanting to hold him and touch him so much I can't even breathe. Crying until I can no more and there still aren't enough tears to express the pain I feel. Feeling angry, so betrayed at giving all my trust to Heavenly Father, believing with all my heart and soul, giving up my fears and putting it in His hands and then having Him take it all away at the last moment and leaving me all alone. The fear of having faith and hope and trust again. Knowing that even if you can manage to have a "good day", there are tsunamis of emotion just waiting to overtake you again soon.

And then eventually realizing that even knowing doesn't make it feel any less worse. Because that is how it feels no matter what you "know" in your head. Logic and rationale have no place in grieving, no bearing at all. You can be thinking logically and rationally the whole time even while the storm rages in your heart, and it doesn't help at all. Knowing in your head doesn't help the way your heart feels. Its nice to know, but it doesn't bring any comfort because Gavin is still gone today and will be tomorrow, and the next day, and the next and it won't ever stop hurting in this life.

And beyond the horrible, intense waves of emotions that come and go, there is always, always an ever-present aching pain in my heart. It feels like you are always walking in a fog, like a hundred blankets are over you, and a constant nagging in the back of your mind...that feeling you get when you were right in the middle of doing something and you can't remember what it was. Something is just wrong. I don't know if I'll ever be truly happy again, because underneath it all, there will always be this ache. There will always be a hole...someone always missing, a piece of our family will never feel quite right again.

But as much as you don't want it to, the sun keeps rising, and life continues on, and you have no choice but to keep getting up each morning and forging through. Please don't tell me I am strong...I am not, I just don't have a choice in the matter. If I had a choice, Gavin would be here with me and to heck with "the plan" and everything else. Do not underestimate how quickly I would pass this trial on to *anyone* else, if it meant having Gavin back again. But I don't have that choice. The only choice I have is what I will do with this trial now that is it mine to bear. I just hope that eventually I can use it to do something good.

Gavin's gift to us was his life, and I know eventually I'll be able to find other gifts in this, too. I don't want his life to be for nothing. Don't get me wrong, I'd much rather he had lived and because of his experiences had grown up to be an amazing doctor and saved millions of lives or something. In fact, I'd rather he simply grew up, even if he did nothing particularly amazing and our lives just went back to normal and no one ever heard from us again, or even cared to, and nothing else special came from our experience this year except that now we were together and happy and whole. But again, I didn't get a choice in the matter. So now all I can do is try to somehow move through this and be a person worthy of my sweet, perfect little boy.