Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Heavy heart

Today is a heavy heart day. It's only 10am and already there have been lots of tears. I just really, really miss him. I woke up early and just can't stop thinking about him. Oh, Samuel, mama misses you so very much <3. 

Yesterday, someone said to me, "You can still be sad without sitting on the couch". It's true. I'm going to try to get some things done today. Everything is just harder when you're carrying around such a heavy heart.

I found an etsy page with some really cool name blocks. I ordered Samuel's name. Sometimes it's all I can do to just have things around that speak of his life.He is a part of our lives and I want it to be known. I have the perfect spot all ready for them when they come.

I have no idea how this works, or maybe it doesn't, but someone told us, "If we can talk to God, and Samuel is with God, then why can't you ask God to tell him things?" Who knows if it's true but nonetheless: God, please tell Samuel just how special he is to us. Tell him how much we love him and how we can't wait to see him again. Please, God, give him lots of hugs and kisses from us today. Tell him we love him forever!

oh, how I miss him <3

Monday, July 30, 2012


Today was my first appointment with my new counselor. Based on previous attempts to seek help, I was not optimistic going in, but it turned out to feel like a good fit. One of the most important aspects of counseling is finding a good connection between patient and counselor. There must be a good therapeutic connection for any trust to form and change to happen. There seemed to be such a connection for us and I'm looking forward to working with her. (Finally! Some help!)

They say that just the act of scheduling a counseling appointment induces change. You are taking the first step and that encourages further action. I couldn't sleep much last night because I was wondering how this would go. I felt the urge to run away and that told me that change was coming.

I was feeling good about the appointment when I got up this morning and as I entered the building. (The counseling office is inside a much larger office building).  But then I saw a woman with a brand new baby walking towards me (of course, why wouldn't there be a brand new baby as I go for my counseling appointment??)  I felt that all-too-familiar pang of anxiety about being around a baby and so I turned down the hall and quickly walked to the office door. I was at the reception desk filling out forms when that woman walked through the door and stood directly next to me. I have not yet had such an overwhelming visceral reaction thus far as I did as she stood next to me. She was cooing to the baby and the receptionist at the next counter began the typical "ohh, look at the tiny little baby" comments and I just about lost it. I literally began shaking and sweating and I could no longer concentrate on what the receptionist was saying to me. I just started looking for an escape route and nodding along as she spoke. She said something and handed me back my insurance card. I took it from her and bolted down the hall towards the waiting room as fast as I could. My heart was pounding and I was still shaking. (PTSD, much?!) I went to sit down and fill out the remaining forms, trying to calm down. A few moments later the mama walked in and everyone in the room started cooing over the sweet baby. (Honestly, this is my life. I try to get help and the waiting room is like my worst nightmare.) There I was, sitting in the counseling office, sweating and shaking and trying not to explode, looking all over for a way out (I'm sure everyone just figured I was one of the "crazies"). I wanted to scream at her, "my baby just died. How dare you bring your baby here!" but I didn't. I just got up and hid around the corner, sweating and shaking until my name was called. When she came to get me I must have looked a sight, all shaking and sniffling into a tissue.  I didn't stop shaking until we were safely in her room, away from the baby. I told her why I was so shaken and how I felt like I just can't escape it anywhere I go. She said she understood how hard it must be and also commented that she couldn't remember when the last time a baby was in the office. *sigh* It's because I was there; that's why the mama with a newborn just had to be there today. This is my life now... no escape. Trapped in a world of everyone happy with their newborns while I sit and shake and sweat and die a bit more inside. (Sometimes I honestly think the universe is conspiring against me. It's literally everywhere I go. No matter where I am, there's a baby. I'm fairly sure the goal is for my complete mental breakdown.) She calmed me down and things went well from then on.

I'm going to see her once a week. I've been having such a hard time. I really hope she can help.  Until then, I'll be home, tucked away from the world of babies. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

To Run or Not to Run...

Lots going on lately... mainly just missing my sweet baby <3.

The past few days I've been working on finding help. I made an appointment with a new counselor for next week (fingers crossed she is helpful!), Bryan and I attended both a GriefShare meeting (a general grief support group) and a Missing GRACE infant loss support group. The grief share meeting was useful, but since we are the only couple who has lost a baby, it's not quite as specific as we'd like. Mostly, it's people who have lost a spouse or parent. While the pain of grief is real (and terrible) for those losses, there is something unique about losing a brand new life that I'm not sure is entirely comparable to someone who lost a 98 year old parent (still hard, but very different). The reason we went is that Mankato does not currently have a babyloss support group. It was grief share or nothing. I think we'll just take it session by session and see if we want to keep going.

The Missing GRACE support group was really good! We would for sure attend regularly but it's 2 hours away. So, we'll just go when we can. (Have I mentioned how much Mankato sucks when it comes to being useful??) It was really helpful to be around people who are going through the same things we are. I wish we didn't live so far away...

We also got the autopsy results back. We really learned nothing new. The cause of death is just what we had been told, PUV. His lungs were underdeveloped as well. (My poor sweet little guy...) Our doctor was out of town, so the doctor that called us with the results was none-other-than the doctor who I did NOT like from the original ultrasound (remember her? Miss "I'm seeing something concerning".) How crazy that it all started and ended with her. Oh well. (During the conversation she kept saying "baby" so I said, "his name is Samuel". "Oh, ok... well the baby..." she just didn't get it.) They also confirmed that it was not a genetic condition. (well what the heck was it?????) She recommended we set up a genetic counseling appointment. (Me to uncaring Dr, "I'm confused. If it's not genetic, how would going to a genetic counseling appointment help?" Uncaring Dr, "it's to give you peace of mind". Me, again, "how would we have peace of mind going to a genetic counselor if this condition is not genetic?" Uncaring Dr, "it just will help ease your mind". OK...whatever...we'll go.) Hopefully we don't ever have to talk to her again. We're going to meet with the genetic counselor (you know, the one who will ease our minds - blah) next month. (Nothing makes you feel like a mutant more that needed to see a genetic counselor - I feel like we should go the appointment with humps on our back, drooling, and dragging a gimp leg).

A couple days ago, my sister-in-law, Angi, texted me to ask if we'd like her to organize a Baby Samuel team for the upcoming Hope & Hearts Run (put on by Missing GRACE). A team is created to honor the life of a baby who died as a result of miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death. The team raises money for the cause, walks/runs in memory of the baby, and basically supports the family as they remember their loved one gone to soon. The event is a day full of remembering, banding together in support and working towards a goal. There is a ceremony at the end to read the names of the babies lost along with a balloon release. We were very touched she thought of us and we would love to attend.

There is just one problem...

The event is scheduled for the same day as a Children's Remembrance Celebration at the Mayo Clinic. We were invited to participate this year to remember and honor Samuel. There is a ceremony with a slide-show of every baby and child who died at the hospital this past year. There are also tables set up for you to show photos and memorabilia from your baby. There is a special service to honor the lives of all the babies and children. After the service, there is a tour of the hospital and I would be able to see the room where Samuel spent time with his daddy. (I have never been to that specific hospital).

We are torn. We really want to do both. Right now, we are leaning towards the Remembrance Celebration because it's so soon after his death and I never got to see the place he died. The remembrance celebration feels more appropriate for this time in our grief. It will probably be more of a sad day, but could provide some closure for me (seeing his room). The Run feels more hopeful and inspiring (which is a great thing!) but I'm not sure we're in that place yet. Since the Run takes place every year, we're thinking the Remembrance Celebration this year, then the run every year after that. I know we'll be in a better place a year from now. (It hurts my heart to think of being without him in a year <3).

Does anyone have any suggestion? We're open to advice on which would be the better event to attend. Ultimately, we'll make our own decision, but it's good to hear ideas for consideration.

So, I guess that's all for now. Big things happening, but nothing takes away the pain of missing my little Samuel day and night. Oh, how I miss him!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Project Heal

I found a great website with lots of helpful information about losing a baby. I thought I'd share it. I really like the information it provides for friends/family who want to support a grieving family. Click here for the article.

The main page can be found here.

My life now

Sometimes during the day I have the thought,  "this is my life now". I will always be a mama without her first little love. I will always be missing him. I will never look at pregnancy the same again. I will always feel a sting when someone I know has their baby. I will never be the same again.

My life now is babyloss blogs and books about grief and support groups and talking endlessly about how much things suck. My life now is sadness and anger and confusion and hurting and missing him deeply. My life now is holding a stuffed bunny and crying while other people hold their babies. It's looking at the same photos over and over and over because they are all I will ever have. It's hearing someone say "we're expecting!" and thinking "we'll see". My life now is friends not knowing how to talk to me and mostly being alone. My life now is feeling overwhelmed to even think about making plans to do something. My life now is wondering how on earth this happened and knowing there is no answer. My life now is baby autopsy reports and appointments with genetic counselors. My life now is memorial ceremonies at the hospital and babyloss 5k runs. My life now is always being that person. It's a fully-furnished and brand-spanking-new-everything nursery that sits empty and collects only tears and dust. It's a days and nights that run together so I usually have no idea what day it is or even what time. It's pain and frustration and hurt. It's remembering him with so much love I think I'll burst. It's wondering what he'd be like. It's knowing I'll never get to know him in this life. It's knowing just how little control I have over what matters most.

This is my life now.

I hate my life now.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Reaching Out

I've had a few hard days. As you might expect, it started around his three month birthday. Yesterday morning, I was just feeling so overwhelmed by everything...the sadness, the hurt, the tears, the sleeplessness, the well-meaning people in my life trying to help me "move on"... and I was just worn out. I decided to send a note to a fellow babyloss mama, Angela, from one of my favorite blogs, Little Bird. We've messaged a couple times and she always seems to be really open to talking. I basically just unloaded everything I'd been going through and ask her suggestions/opinions. I told her how sad I was and how it felt like I was getting pressure to stop feeling so sad all the time (as it was put to me, "don't you want to stop feeling so bad?" ...as if I have some choice in the matter). I asked her how to get in touch with other babyloss mamas for some help and support. She is such a dear, she wrote me back with loving words about how it's absolutely ok to feel sad for as long as I need to. She also gave suggestions of support groups to try. How cool that someone who lives so far away would care about me enough to help? She even wrote a blogpost about my note. Because of it, I've been blessed with so many encouraging notes/comments! My heart breaks when I think of just how many mama's are without their loves, but it's nice to know you're not alone. (If I could, I'd give every one of them their sweet little ones back!!) I guess it's taught me a lesson: you don't have to go it alone. If you can't find someone around you that understands, find someone far away!  Thank you, Angela, and all the others who have rallied around me. It means so much <3.

Last night, Bryan and I were talking about Samuel. We reminisced about the very first ultrasound at 11 weeks. Remember when he waved hello?  I said. We both smiled at the precious memory of his tiny, perfect ittty-bitty hand waving "hello" on the monitor. The staff in the room had laughed because it seemed exactly like that was what he was doing. My precious boy...I miss him so! We're trying to remember all the good times. We love those memories, but it's heartbreaking to think we don't get more.I just love him so much!

Our perfect little guy, Samuel at 11 weeks. That tiny little hand waved to us and we knew we'd love him forever.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Three Months

The days leading up to this day have been really bad. I've felt this day coming, like a heavy thick cloud. It's almost the 14th - he should be three months old. Oh my poor heart. It just keeps on beating, even with a huge chunk missing. Yesterday, I freaked out on Bryan and nearly lost my mind. Sometimes the emotions are just so strong. I didn't want to make it to today. I never wanted to say "it's been three months since our baby died". Time just keeps moving on...

Since the wait list for Molly Bears is SO long, I decided to make my own "Samuel Bunny". I found a really cute bunny online and then made some alterations to it. Now, it weighs 4lbs, 8oz, just like my real bunny did. It's nice to hold when I'm really missing him. Maybe I'll become that crazy person who carries around a stuffed bunny and calls it "my baby". Would any of you really judge me? So what if I push it around in a stroller and dress it in clothes and wear it in a sling while at Target? (I'm kidding. But just by chance, if you happen upon a woman with a stuffed bunny in a front pack, just smile and move on...)


I just miss him so much!

I'm finding myself so heartbroken when I see other people with babies. It's so unfair! It hurts me to my core. That should be me! I did everything they did; why do they get to snuggle their sweet ones, while I just sit and cry? Why?? I hate it! I can't be around anyone with a baby (except for the few people who I'm closest too). That pretty much leave me alone all the time. I've had to "unsubscribe" from almost all my friends on FB because they are always talking about babies and pregnancy and such and it rips my broken heart every time. Now, I have 4 people I get notifications from. What a sad world. For some unknown reason, I'm on the outside looking in. I can't be a part of the group. I'll always be "that one".

Oh, I miss him so much!


To my sweet baby, Samuel, 
We miss you, bunny! We can't believe it's been three months already.. even one month felt too long. We wonder all the time what you'd be up to now...maybe picking your head up during tummy time? Maybe thinking about rolling over? I know we're missing out on some amazing times. What's it like in heaven? We wonder if you're a little guy still, or a big one. Do you play all day long? What's your favorite thing to do? I hope great-grandma's aren't spoiling you too much! I bet you have lots of friends to play with. We can't wait to see you again, bunny. Sometimes, when we consider how long we may have to be without you, we can't believe we're going to make it that long! Mama can't wait to hold you and kiss you and love you, forever! That will be the best day!! We love you, Samuel. More than you could ever know! xoxo,
Mama and Daddy <3 


On a side - but important note -

Thank you so much, Amy, for sending us a card and gift. It means a lot that people are still caring for us when others have moved on.

Thank you so much, Jaimi, for the text today. I can't tell you how much it means to have a friend who remembers his special days and acknowledges them.

I have some great friends <3

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Target, and Other Minefields

Today is going to be such a bad day...I can already feel it. I woke up and just instantly wanted to go right back to sleep for the rest of my life. I miss him so so so much. I realized a few days ago that the best way to describe the feeling is the word anguish. I hurt for him. I hurt for myself and for Bryan. Everything I do, everywhere I go...anguish. Every day I wake up and he is the very first thing I think of. Oh, I miss him! Every night the last thing I do is think of him. Oh, I miss him! The entire day long I miss him. oh...

Last night, we went to Target - normally one of my favorite places. Now, it's just like so many other places, a minefield. I try to go at odd hours when maybe, just maybe, there won't be so many babies/pregnant bellies, but alas it's Target and there are just no times when it's not full of people. I try to ignore who's around me, but at some point you just can't look at the floor while you're trying to pick out the things you need. And there is no way to control hearing the baby cries - oh, ouch - the moms and dads cooing to little ones - ouch again - or the chatter/laughter of small kids. I try to focus solely on the shelves, but then I turn my head just a bit and catch a mommy waddling by with a huge pregnant tummy, UGH. Last night for some reason, it seemed to be especially "minefield-ish" (I make up words sometimes). There was not an aisle I could go down without a cart with a baby carrier and tiny little hands and feet poking out (aka, my worst nightmare), or with a pregnant mommy. Then a newborn cried, then a little child was singing, then this, then that, on and on. It was like some sort of Alfred Hitchcock version of going to Target as a "babyloss" mama. Let' s just say I spent a large amount of time hiding in aisles just to avoid seeing another baby. (Who cares if I'm pretending to be super interested in male adult diapers?? At least it's not the pregnant teenager with her iPhone and Mountain Dew (don't get me started!)). I even had to leave the line and pretend I forgot something when a woman carrying a tiny little one all snuggled in jammies got in line behind me. (Doesn't she know she might as well punch me in the face than carry a baby boy around me???)

Target is just one more thing I don't get to have anymore. Until you lose your baby, you probably won't understand why it's so hard, but let me tell you, IT IS. It's just SO hard to walk around like a normal person when you know something so important is missing. No one can just look at me and know I'm a mama. They can't see that I carried him for 8 months, went through labor and delivered him. They can't see that I should have a baby sling with pudgy toes sticking out of the bottom. All they see is a woman out shopping (albeit a slightly disheveled, red-eyed woman who keeps ducking into aisles and looking at the floor) with no baby. I didn't do anything wrong and yet here I am, baby-less. And there they are, baby-much (lot's of made up words today). Everywhere I go now I have to contemplate the need of the item verses the chance of seeing babies/pregnant woman. (Do I REALLY need milk? We like water on our cereal, right?) SIGH. 

Maybe that's why today is so hard already. The realization, once again, that my life will never be the same. I will never be able to hear of or see a pregnancy again without wondering why them and not me.  I will never be able to see a family with kids and not wonder what we did wrong and they did right. I will never ever stop missing my little guy. He will always not be here and there will always be someone his expected age around for me to see to compare him to.

One a "totally-unrelated" note: Does anyone know how a person ("friend of mine") can self-induce a coma for the rest of her life??

Don't bother calling me today, I'll be in bed...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


I've been reading a lot since Samuel died. I find it helpful (as much as anything can be helpful). I thought I'd share some of the books I have enjoyed and share a few quotes:

The One Year Book of Hope, by Nancy Guthrie. It's a devotional about grief. So far, so good. It's short, daily (or as often as you'd like) little stories and devotionals to help you as you move though grief. (A gift from Erin <3)

Grieving the Child I Never Knew, by Kathe Wunnenberg. Again, a devotional-style book of short stories. I really like it. Here are a few quotes:

"If there is anything a sufferer needs, it is not an explanation, but a fresh, new look at God."

"Clearly, unless the Lord chooses to explain Himself to us, which often He does not, His motivation and purposes are beyond the reach of mortal man... Many of our questions - especially those that begin with the word why - will have to remain unanswered for the time being."

"Since our world is fallen, we are all victims of heartache at one time or another. Your [loss] isn't a sign of sin in your life or a message from God to "clean up your act." It is simply a form of suffering common to the human experience of living in this world."

*I'm sure there are more great quotes, but I'm only half-way through. 

Comfort, by Ann Hood. The story of a woman who lost her young daughter unexpectedly. A beautiful story of loss, grief and healing.

When Bad Things Happen to Good People, by Harold S. Kushner. A book about suffering and God by a rabbi who lost his son. It's helping me put my faith back together.  (A great recommendation by Little Bird).

Here are some quotes:
"We can't explain it [senseless loss] any more than we can explain life itself. We can't control it, or sometimes even postpone it. All we can do is try to rise beyond the question "Why did it happen?" and begin to ask the question "What do I do now that it has happened?"

"If God existed, if He was minimally fair, let alone loving and forgiving, how could He do this to me?" (This is the basis of writing the book, he does on to search for the answer to this question).

"How seriously would we take a person who said, "I have faith in Adolf Hitler, or in John Dillinger. I can't explain why they did the things they did, but I can't believe they would have done them without a good reason." Yet, People try to justify the deaths and tragedies God inflicts on innocent victims with almost these same words".

Gone but Not Lost: Grieving the Death of a Child, by David W. Wiersbe. A good book about grief.

An Exact Replica of a Figment of my Imagination, by Elizabeth McCracken. This book was recommended on a lot of babyloss blogs. Personally, I had a hard time connecting to the story. It's very fragmented and I had a hard time with her writing style. But if you like more abstract writings, it's a good book about her loss.

Heaven is For Real, by Todd Burpo. This one is hard for me. Typically, when tons of people talk about a "must-read", I, for some unknown reason, find myself completely uninterested (I'm not a follower). This book got super popular in Christian circles really quickly and I found myself un-attracted to it. But, after Samuel died, so many people said "you've just gotta read it" that I did. Here's the deal. I have no clue if the story is true or not and really, that's not the point to me. True or not, it paints a very clear and beautiful picture of what heaven might be like and it helps me visualize the place I believe Samuel lives now. You don't have to believe the story to read the book. There is also a kids version: Heaven is for real for kids.

The Shack, by William P. Young.  This falls into the same "everyone is reading it so I won't" category. But, I did, eventually -after the craze ended - and it was very healing for me. I don't believe it's a true story, but I know it's a good story and I really like the image of God it presents.

I Will Carry you, by Angie Smith. I read this while pregnant. It's about a woman who continues her pregnancy despite the fatal diagnosis her baby receives. It's a great book about faith and loss, but really hard to read if you're going through it because you can feel what she's saying. I cried a lot, but would recommend it. 

Life Touches Life: a Mother's story of stillbirth, by Lorraine Ash. A beautiful and very touching story.

Choosing to SEE, by Mary Beth Chapman.  The story of finding hope in the midst of a very tragic loss (her daughter).

Those are my recommendations so far. I still have a bunch of books "in the queue" on my coffee table, so there may be more recommendations to come.

Back to the stack and missing my bunny <3...

Monday, July 9, 2012

Little Pink Fairies

On the advice of a family friend, I went back and re-read my blog from the beginning. I realized something that I think I've known all along but was afraid to say. I should have never gone down the path of asking for healing. God does not heal on earth. It's just not something He does. If prayer + faith = healing, then almost no one would die from illness or disease because I guarantee you there is someone who loves that person who would be willing to pray day and night for their health. The fact that I bought into it so much leaves me feeling disgusted and irritated. But I can also realize that I needed to have something to hold on to; even false hope. As I was reading over my original entries just after Samuel was diagnosed, I can hear how Bryan and I were devastated, horrified, and filled with anguish over the impending death of our precious little guy. Then, I notice that we start taking steps to come to terms with it and make peace with it. We were going to enjoy every second we got with him, but we also were preparing for his death. Then IT happened.

A family friend had given my parents a DVD of a man who was talking about how we can ask God for healing and expect it. "God can't lie" he claimed. Then, he went on to tell an "amazing" story of how his granddaughter had been miraculously healed from a fatal car crash injury. He quoted scripture after scripture that spoke of how we can ask for healing and expect it. Now, as I've mentioned so many times, I was not a believer in  healing before this (come to think of it, I'm still not!) I'm also a very critical person when it comes to miracle-healers and other such craziness. So, when my parents came down to give us the DVD and make the very heart-felt plea for us to watch it, I internally scoffed and set it aside. For weeks, they tried to convince us to watch it but we would have none of it. Then, one day, after a particularly hard and emotional day, we had stopped by my parent's home to pick something up. During our conversation, I told my mom "You have to come to terms with this. He is going to die." She looked at me and said something about how we had to have faith if we wanted him to be healed. (I feel sick just writing this - that is SO wrong!) Then, she said, "Don't you want him to be healed?" I honestly could just throw up thinking about this now. I will never forget that moment. The overwhelming guilt that came when I thought that maybe my lack of faith in miracle healing was keeping my son from living was sickening. The fact that she thought I'd be to blame if he died was so unfair. (Nothing like adding guilt to the already unending pain we were experiencing). Telling someone that the person they love was going to die because they weren't praying hard enough or having enough faith is absolutely disgusting. I sobbed that "of course I want him to live, but there is nothing anyone can do" and shook with pain and rage and anguish. Thankfully, Bryan pulled me out and we left. That was a nightmare unto itself. But, of course, since when someone you love is sick and there is nothing you can do but try anything/everything that comes your way, we decided we had nothing to lose so we watched it (is there anything like a mother's guilt?) We tried to be open-minded, but found ourselves very questioning of his story/facts. A few days later, we watched it again. (I think at that point in our despair and hopelessness, someone could have told us about little pink fairies that live in the forest that would heal Samuel and we would have gotten in the car with nets in search of them that very day!) In our desperation, we decided to believe that God was going to heal Samuel. It didn't match my belief, but I was willing. (Like I said in one post, "if all it takes for Samuel to be healed is my faith, then I'm going to believe.) I began searching the Bible for something to back up this new-found faith. Really, there are quite a few verse that suggest it. But, if we were all to be honest with ourselves, we would realize that it's just grasping at straws. How many of us truly know someone who was honestly healed? Not many! So, looking back, that's where we went wrong. Instead of asking for a healing that was never going to come, we should have asked for the courage to face the situation with love for our son and the strength to make it through. None of this buying a dying baby clothes, planning baby showers, expecting him to live despite TONS of medically sound facts. I would have done things differently if I wouldn't have been expecting him to live. Maybe his death wouldn't have left such a huge gaping hole in our faith if we wouldn't have put it in the wrong supposition to begin with. I'll never know.

As I try to come to terms with who God is and what His role was in Samuel's life/death, I keep trying to remember that He never said He would heal Samuel. We forced that belief on Him and now feel bitter because of it. I have to try to go back to my original belief that God doesn't intervene in our lives as much as we'd all like to pretend He does. He can do things like comfort us and give us peace, but He doesn't do tangible things: that would remove faith. So, really, my anger should be at my parents for forcing the faith-healing nonsense on us, at us for believing it, and at the fact that some babies die for no reason. I'm angry that he died when so many people get to keep their babies. It's not fair. But I'm trying to remember that God had nothing to do with it. He did not kill Samuel or ignore our prayers. We were wrong to ask Him to do something He doesn't do. And it's so wrong to tell people He heals when He doesn't. Why add to someone's pain by making it seem like they have control over a situation they don't? (A great way to get someone really hurt and mad at God is to tell them He is going to do something. When He doesn't do it, and believe me, He won't, that person will have no choice but to feel upset.) Instead of that, why don't we tell people to ask God for the things He does give - like faith and hope and courage and strength? I think that would make picking up the broken pieces of life after a tragedy easier because there wouldn't be the whole "maybe I didn't do enough" guilt. Instead we could know we did all we could to love him while he was here and that was enough.

(To be fair, I do know how deeply my parent love us and Samuel. I know they would never, ever, intentionally do something to hurt us. I know they wanted to believe in God's healing power just as much as we came to. So, really, I guess the blame falls on us for believing right along with them. Also, there is absolutely no way to know how things would have turned out differently if we had taken another path. My hunch is that I might not feel so upset with God, but who knows? We took the path of faith and that's all there is to it. I guess I just hope that in writing this, we all might re-consider what we put on people in times of illness. Let's all try not to speak for God and instead just let Him be who He is.)

Yep, I'm still here

Since I haven't written in a while, I thought it was about time for an update. Here is the short version: 1. Samuel is still gone (as much as I hope so, that'll never change ), 2. my heart is still broken, 3. I still don't have the autopsy results, 4. We're still just trying to make it day by day, 5. there is no joy in our lives because it went to heaven with Samuel.

Long version:
For the most part the past few weeks have been "ok" (read: slightly better than horrible). I cry only a few times a day, so maybe that's progress? Sometimes I miss him so much my heart physically hurts. I'm still so frustrated with God and trying to understand how I can keep believing in Him when I have so much evidence that He is not who He says He is. I will never have an answer, so I know at some point I'm going to have to just choose to believe or not. (I guess that's what we all have to do).

Thankfully, we have some really great people in our life who love us and take good care of us. Bryan's brother Keith, his wife Terri and their two kids came over last week to spend time with us. They listened to us, asked us questions, and watched Samuel's videos with us. It was nice. I know they love Samuel and miss him too.

We just got back this afternoon from a trip up north to Grand Marais, MN.  Last year, we went with my "second family" (my friends Jaimi and Traci and their families) and had such a great time. We had planned a long time ago to go again with them this year so we decided to keep our plans. This was hard for a few reasons. First, and most important, Samuel should have been here to go with us. Him missing makes everything sad and hard. Secondly, Jaimi, Traci, their other sister Jady and I were all pregnant and due around the same time. I'm the only one without my love. They all have precious and beautiful little ones. (Just living proof of the statistics - one in four babies will not live). So, as much as I love them all dearly, seeing them is just a reminder of what should have been. (their new sister-in-law is also pregnant and along on the trip - we were surrounded!)  Lastly, we have little energy to do anything; let alone packing, camping, cooking, etc. But we do love them, and we know how much they care about us and are sad with us, so we went. (also, it's always good to get away from real life for awhile).  We took as little as possible and planned to eat every meal at a restaurant instead of cooking. We even went so far as to take my parents van instead of a tent. We put up an airbed in the back and it was good. (At one point, we were napping in the back while parked next to the lake, which I accidentally called the river, and Bryan said "our lives are so bad we've taken to living in a van by the river". He's funny but it's also kinda true that it feels that bad.) Anyways, I digress. Overall, it was a nice time. It's been super hot at home so the mid 70 temps felt so nice. The first night was the 4th and we planned to meet up with everyone to watch fireworks. As we walked up to meet them, there stood Jaimi's husband with their baby in a front pack. Next to him was Traci with her baby also in a front pack. Oh heavens, this might be hard! I mustered up courage,  walked up to them and told myself it's going to be ok. It was. We watched the fireworks and I just keep thinking, I wonder what Samuel would think of these things?

Later that night, I got to spend time with Jaimi, sitting in chairs on the beach, watching the boats float along the waves of the lake while the moon shone overhead. It was nice to just sit and talk. She is such a great friend! (Our husbands even brought us ice cream cones while we chatted.)

Over the next few days we had a nice time of just relaxing and spending time with good friends. I cried a few times - even once, to my horror, in front of people - but mostly it was ok. Sometimes all I can do it just take it moment by moment. We went for a nice pontoon ride one afternoon, we had campfires and s'mores, and I got to spend a lot of time with Traci, who I don't get to see all that often. She is going through some really hard times too, so we were quite the pair! Misery loves company, I guess. I'm so glad to have such great friends.

Now, for a crazy story. On our way to Grand Marais, we had stopped in Duluth to visit a triple-D restaurant, the Duluth Grill. It was super yummy and I highly recommend it. On our way home today, we were going to stop at a Mexican restaurant recommended by Dan, Traci's husband (who grew up in Duluth and knows the good spots). We found it on the GPS and headed out. When the GPS lady said "you have reached your destination, we looked around and found only an empty lot (stupid GPS lady) but Bryan said, "Hey look, we are right by the Duluth Grill. Want to just go there again?" Since it was so good, we decided to go again. We went in, put our name on the wait list (it was super busy) and I went off to the bathroom to freshen up. When I came back, I saw someone talking to Bryan. A couple had come up to him and started chatting. When I got there, we all introduced ourselves and the man said "it's so busy, should we just share a table?" Now, if you know me, you know how much I would NOT like to share a table with strangers - especially now - but we didn't want to be rude so we agreed. (Really, what were we going to say "I'm sorry sir, our baby just died and we don't want to talk to anyone"). Since we were now a group of four, we got a table right away. (Bryan and I talked later and both agreed that we were dreading it as we walked back to our table with these complete strangers).

We sat down and I began dreading the question that was sure to arise: "do you have any children?" Yep, it soon came. "Yes, we have a three month-old son." Big smiles from them. "He lives in heaven". Oh my! faces from them. The wife reached over and took my hand and said the right thing "I'm sorry".

This get's a bit long to write out, but throughout the next hour we all talked and found out that the husband was a former scientist/professor who taught things directly related to mechanical engineering (Bryan's profession) and, in his retirement, was now writing a book about trauma and memory (my thesis topic) and was trying to understand why bad things happen when God should step in and why it seems some prayers are not answered. (Are you re-reading that... yep, crazy, I know). We talked in depth about Samuel and how we were dealing with wounded faith. The man became emotional when he talked about knowing that same feeling (he had been though a traumatic situation also) and how he is still wrestling with it even now. (He is in his seventies). There were several moments in the conversation that were just plain crazy. I was able to share some of the research I've read on the topic of memory and trauma, and even give him possible resources for his book. He was able to share with us about his journey with faith. How could it possibly be that we were sitting at a table with people who seemed to be just the people we needed to talk to at this time in our lives? At one point, the husband said he just had an overwhelming sense when he saw Bryan that something needed to happen with him. (again, crazy, I know). We exchanged emails and I told them about this blog, so maybe we'll hear from them again.

At the end of that crazy meal, the waiter accidentally put both our bills on one check and gave it to the man. We protested greatly, but they insisted on paying for our meal. Can you even believe this? I can barely, and I was there! (Maybe God confused the poor GPS lady intentionally...)

As we left, I had a peaceful feeling I haven't had in a while. Maybe God is trying to tell us He is with us and wants to comfort us. Or maybe it was just a crazy coincidence. What it means we have yet to work out, but maybe we can take it as a sign not to give up on God's love for us. I mean, really, who does this happen to but us?

I have a lot more to say about my thoughts on this whole faith/God thing, but I'll save it for another day. Still missing my love and wishing I could snuggle up with him right now... <3

(P.S. I know some of you reading this might have the strong urge to say "Oh my goodness, Yes! God did that!" but just remember, we asked God to heal our son and He didn't. So, it's a little hard to be excited about a chance meeting. Like I said, we're still thinking on it, but maybe let's keep the comments about how amazing God is to a minimum while we try to make sense of something so senseless.)