Friday, December 30, 2016

Thank You Heather Spohr and Finding Purpose

After I wrote my blog yesterday I wandered over to "The Sophrs Are Multiplying" and read Heather's entry for the day. Heather Sophr is a brilliant writer and someone I feel I know even though we have never personally met. I began following her story back in 2008 when I found out I was pregnant with Jude. About a year after I followed her story she lost her daughter Maddie, ironically also in April. I watched her grieve through her blog much like I have done. In fact I remember reading a post she put up about reading obituaries after her daughter passed and I have done the same with Jude. I would read Jude's tribute and look at the others that passed as well. I found a poor little boy drowned on the same day Jude passed and his services were held at the same facilities the day after Jude's funeral. That must have been a horrible weekend for the funeral home and the church. I have no idea why I would want to even read that information but I was drawn to it. Maybe it was my own way of wondering why little ones suffer and trying to find some answers in the universe. Without knowing it Heather's posts from all these years have helped me since I lost Jude. She taught me that being expressive and open about my feelings can help heal some of the broken lines within my soul. 

Yesterday Heather helped me again. As I read her entry I began to shed a few tears, She touched on a subject that Mike and I have both discussed. Neither of us would prefer to be on this Earth without Jude but we made a decision to live for him. We also live for Emily but we feel like Jude would want us to continue our lives in the best way possible. I am sure we will eventually live for ourselves again too. I will admit I have been wallowing in grief and in a very dark spot but I believe that is perfectly normal the first year or two after losing a child. Actually I don't think you ever heal from losing a child but you can find happiness and meaning again. So last night I began wading through my cedar storage chest looking at memorabilia of Jude's only to stumble upon so much more. I am a pack rat and I save anything that seems special or from the heart. I began opening cards, drawings, and more items that people have sent over the course of Jude's life. I began crying realizing how much everyone truly did love Jude and how much he impacted their personal lives. I had hand written notes from my grandmother, drawings from Emily, and even a large birthday banner Gina made for Jude with a personal message written on the back. It was humbling and truly touched my heart.  

Last night I got on my new treadmill and walked two miles while watching, "The Crown." My diet starts on Monday which consists of zero wine or sweets and I am already a little sad! However I figure I am searching for away to find happiness again. Heather mentions finding purpose in her blog and that's also something I have been searching for. In the midst of grief running a mundane life of getting up, going to work, coming home, and doing it all over again can be taxing. I am eternally grateful for a good job but I feel there is something else out there. I am not sure if that's adopting children, continuing to write, or what my purpose is but it's out there somewhere. My goal is to find it. 

So thank you Heather for blessing my life from afar.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Christmas And A Princess

I know people are wondering how our Christmas was and I have taken a few days to find the proper words for the blog.  On Christmas Eve we had multiple people over to our house to celebrate the holiday and complete a lighted balloon release for Jude. Emily captured the blinking lights in a photo she took. 

As we set the balloons free everyone was in awe at how high they flew and how the lights were easily seen. We knew others would see them and we hoped they would make them smile. I know Jude was smiling. 

Christmas day was more somber. It wasn't just Jude's loss but the fact that he always had a loss of sorts because he could never truly enjoy stockings or Santa. He deserved to have a good Christmas with family gathered around, movies, gifts, and more. However I soon realized Jude could enjoy love and that is the true meaning of the holiday. So even though we missed him dearly we remembered the good times and after shedding a few tears we all smiled. Our little family went to see Star Wars Rogue One that day because we are huge fans and we truly enjoyed ourselves.  We went to the Movie House and enjoyed lounging in the seats and eating wonderful food. We also left a very nice tip for our adorable waitress who truly seemed to enjoy working the holiday and had a beautiful festive smile. The rest of the day was spent fairly quiet and reflective. 

With the mention of Star Wars I reflect on the loss of Carrie Fisher. The thoughts are split in my loss forum between being incredibly sad for her family and being angry a celebrity receives so much attention, when the loss of our children is so great. I am one of those that is sad and feels for her family. I posted on Facebook that I am a 70's child. In 1977 my dad took me to a drive in theater to watch my very first movie and I was introduced to Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker. I loved the entire move and when The Empire Strikes Back came out I watched it 14 times in the theater. This was back when your parents could drop you off at the movies and know you would be safe.  I wanted to be Princess Leia and even though there is a plethora of princesses offered by Disney now the only Princess I ever dressed up as was her. My two icons were Leia and Wonder Woman. So even though it's not even close to losing a child I still felt a loss of my childhood and therefore I felt very sad. Then yesterday we hear Debbie Reynolds her mother also passed. A legendary actress herself that accomplished so much in life. I think the loss affected her heart and with her age that led to the stroke. I feel for her family and the tremendous loss they must be feeling. I can understand why her heart hurt so much that her life just ended because the pain sometimes feels unbearable. As evident by Mike's heart issue, grief can try to kill a person. So Debbie sing a little Charlotte's Web to my son if you don't mind. He loved that movie and we watched it so many times together. Thank you both for so many amazing childhood memories it is much appreciated. Traveling Mercies. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Dream

I dreamt of Jude last night which is very rare. I like dreaming of him but this one had a bit of a sad ending to it. I was in this large place with a lot of people around and two little boys asking me about skating. Jude's nurse was near us and I saw another person in scrubs pushing Jude in a hospital bed down a hallway. Jude was upset and crying out like he used to and thrashing about. I told the nurse I was afraid he would fall and she assured me the aid pushing the bed was very good and wouldn't let that happen. So I began walking towards the bed and said "Ju Ju Bean!" in a loud happy voice. Jude sat up with the biggest smile and said, "MAMA!" The aid looked surprised and said, "well that's new." Suddenly Jude fell forward and I went running towards him because I was afraid he would hit his head but Jude caught himself with his hands. Jude could not do that when he was alive. I hugged him tightly and he hugged me back. We were both very happy. Then suddenly I remembered Jude was gone and I asked him, "Do they let you play in heaven?"

Jude just smiled at me but then he was gone. I was left sitting there holding a sheet crying very loudly for him. I woke up with tears running down my face and missing Jude. The dream was oddly comforting and sad all at the same time. I am not sure what the dream means if anything and I am sure there are parts I am not remembering. I am rather emotional today because of it. Like I have said before you have good days and bad days and this seems to be a so so day. 

I will post pictures of our balloon release for Jude that we are doing Christmas Eve. I am asking everyone to light a candle for Jude this weekend. 

Merry Christmas. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas Cards and Emily Too

I wanted to take a moment to thank several people. We didn't do Christmas cards this year for obvious reasons. I would normally send out cards every year with out family's picture on them but this year I just couldn't. Anyway, I have received some cards at my house and I have noticed that people have gone out of their way to go get cards that do not have pictures. I am grateful for any card, but I still thought it was so thoughtful. They took the time to realize that seeing a bright shiny happy family with younger children could hurt during the holidays. I was amazed at the thoughtfulness. I could see some of their cards on their regular Facebook but our card was hand selected, how kind. I just sat there in tears each time we received one just amazed that people are so thoughtful. Some had even been handmade. 

This morning I had another adorable picture of Jude on my Facebook memory feed and it made me smile. 

Sometimes I wonder if Emily has truly grieved for Jude. Being a teenager I think it's hard to remember just how very close they were but I am sure she deals with her emotions in her own way. Emily was so incredibly excited when I was pregnant with Jude. When he was born she couldn't wait to hold him, feed him, change him, and do all the big sister things that come with being a member of a family. I know a lot of that was stolen from her. In fact when Emily talks about the day Jude was diagnosed it rips your heart out. She will tell you how she came home to a very dark and quiet house and how she realized our lives would never be the same again. We all know that Emily ended up turning a negative situation into a positive but what most don't know is all she did behind the scenes. Jude LOVED Emily, he would literally track her voice around the room until he spotted her and give her the biggest smile. You could sense he just trusted her and knew of all people Emily would never hurt him. She would never stick him with needles or force him to do anything the adults had to. They had an unbreakable bond between them. She would sit and sing to him for hours when they were little or read him books until he fell asleep. She loved giving him bath's and would talk to him in her little baby voice. As Jude grew his care became more complicated and Emily learned all she could to help him. I could literally leave the room to go take a bath and Emily could handle seizures, feeding tubes, oxygen level issues, vomit, and more. As she got older I could leave her at the hospital with him while I worked or ran home to shower. She could tend to him and accurately update nurses on his situation when they did their rounds or signal them in case of an emergency. Recently we were all in the car on our way home from eating and I began thinking about Jude and tried to fight back the tears.  Emily asked me what was wrong. I told her it wasn't just losing Jude it was the guilt that her childhood was ripped from her. She said, "Why on Earth would you feel that way? Who else can say that they had someone so amazing as their brother. Someone I would want to be exactly like?".  After that Mike and I were both wiping away a few tears. I have no doubt this Christmas is difficult on her too but she doesn't let it show. She insisted we continue marching forward with normal traditions, she is like our Christmas cheerleader.  Thank you Emily for being you! As you always say,  

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Being Sad

I think I have started this blog one hundred times today but I stop each time wondering how my words could accurately convey my feelings. I am not sure they ever will but I am going to go ahead and write for therapy today. So this is more to help me and I appreciate your patience. Before I was an insurance agent I went to college to become a counselor. I didn't finish but had many classes to educate myself on the human mind and emotions. I know most of the clinical terminology and treatments for depression. I also know that despite available pills, oils, and other various items available you just sometimes have to feel. You have to feel the raw pain and the struggle before you can come out into the sunshine again. Despite the list of well wishers and advice givers people sometimes just have to deal with their own bag of troubles. I miss Jude but I also miss the boy Jude should be but the stroke took that from us and him. I should be buying holiday gifts for an eight year old boy and watch his excited face when Santa came to visit him but I am not. I never will and it sucks and it's okay to admit it's hard. 

Depression feels like big rocks that have been piled on top of a board you are laying under. Most people cannot understand the nasty pit of grief because it's hard to understand and take yourself to that level unless you have actually been there. It's ugly though and sometimes additional rocks are added to that pile making it even heavier than before. It's not wanting to get up in the morning and feeling like your swimming in stagnate water because life seems a bit annoying.  I seem to be lashing out at people more lately too. After a few glasses of wine last night I booted one of the animals that was being annoying off the couch and Emily called me mean. I don't blame her..........she is right. I am thankful she has patience with me. Anger, frustration, and a short fuse are all common complaints grieving parents talk about.  I see Facebook posts from people complaining about things that seem trivial to me in comparison to losing a child and it just makes me angry. The reality is I know their issues are real issues and they are dealing with life the best way they can and they have a right to be upset. See when going through something like losing Jude individuals know what's right but sometimes your mind just doesn't want to listen. My co-worker again mentioned today she doesn't believe we give people the proper amount of time to grieve in America. We give maternity leave but what about if the mom loses that child she took leave for? Then what?  It took 9 months to make that child but grief should only take 5 days? It seems a bit absurd to me but we all have to live and need money to live on. 

So what's the solution? I keep marching on. That's what you have to do. You take one day, one hour, and one minute at a time. I have decided I will cry when I need to and treat myself and others with kindness. I have started working out too and hopefully that will improve my mood. However 30 minutes of the Country Heat workout last night made me want to punch a baby bunny in the nose. I also try to keep humor as reflected in my prior sentence. I think of special ways to honor Jude and I am always on the look out for signs he is still with us. I say no to many events outside of my house because I am in my comfort zone right now but I still go out. I still hold functions, I still go to work, and I still love my family. I write in my blog, I light candles for Jude, and I share my memories when I can. These things make me better and that's all we as humans can do, just be better. 

One day, one hour, and one minute.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Your Year In Review

Dear Facebook - 
Although I generally love your cute little video's and applications you come up with the year in review makes me want to hurl something. It makes me so happy to see all the photo's of the last year which encompass many of Jude's illness and funeral, not. It makes me even more happy to see how great everyone's life is and how happy everyone is. Actually that part does make me smile but I cannot help feeling jealous of their happiness. If I sound like a scrooge, well whatever.  - Love Jenn

Emily has sent her college applications off and I know she was so nervous about receiving responses. She sent applications to Arkansas, Alabama, OU, OSU, and Texas A&M. Her number 1 is A&M and I hear they are always the last to respond. I can happily announce her first acceptance letter from Arkansas arrived Tuesday. Then yesterday she was accepted into the University of Alabama and into their nursing program. We will see which others she receives and she will make an announcement some time next year. I cannot believe she will be going away. I know she will only continue to grow and inspire others but my house will be very quiet without her. 

We have decided to spend Christmas with our little family at home. We will have breakfast and spend time with Emily before she goes with her dad and then we will venture to see Jude. We feel it will be an emotional day and that we will feel drained and prefer not to drain anyone else. However we are having a balloon release for Jude on Christmas Eve at our house where we hope to spend time with family and friends. 

We appreciate everyone's continued support. Saturday night nurse Allan has invited us over for dinner. I am truly looking forward to seeing him and giving him a big hug! 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

8 Years

It's been eight years since Jude was diagnosed. Eight years ago since we learned our adorable bouncing baby boy wasn't going to be the child we thought he would be. Eight years since we learned what an amazing blessing the child was we actually had. 

Eight years seems like yesterday. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The final Miss Texas Teen

The holiday weekend is over and Emily competed for her 5th and final time at Miss Texas Teen USA. As you remember after Jude passed, literally the day after, Emily announced on stage at Miss Dallas that she would be competing again. It was a shock to us but she said if Jude never gave up then she wasn't either. I love her determination. So Emily's father Joe loaded her up on Thanksgiving night and they drove to Houston. Mike and I caught a Southwest flight on Saturday and made it to Houston mid afternoon. I missed seeing her in swimsuit preview and seeing her before she went into interview but she sent me pictures. Friends that were in attendance also sent me video's. The holiday again wasn't easy. I missed Jude and I missed his nurses. I missed loading Jude and Allan up and heading to Houston with our dogs and all of Jude's medical equipment in tow. I missed running up to the room to kiss Jude before we watched Emily's events but I can say without a shadow of a doubt I felt Jude there with us. In fact as Mike and I went nervously into finals Mike opened his phone and there was a picture of Jude. As they called the top 15 out of 113 girls I looked down at Mike's phone and saw Jude's smiling face. Then we heard "You're not dreaming it's Fort Worth - Emily Lites!" I literally screeched...........forgive me if you were there, lol! We were thrilled. Emily finally had the opportunity to compete in the top 15 and it was well deserved. She looked stunning this past weekend and we are very proud. Emily's adorable friend Kirby captured the title. We truly enjoyed the weekend with wonderful friends and family. The family took a break this year and didn't fly or drive back until Monday. It was nice not to rush, fight traffic going home, and sleeping in a bit before we left. 

I have had questions this year about how pageants must be full of drama and many misconceptions usually brought on by the media. So I thought I would tell my perspective of the last few years. I have seen Emily grow from this experience through each success and through each disappointment. I have seen her form lasting friendships with the girls, director, and sponsors. I have seen girls literally take their jewelry and competition items off to lend them to a girl who had something break so they could quickly go on stage only to hand it right back so the lender could then hit the stage (not even kidding). I have seen girls bring spare items just in case someone needed it. This came in handy when a girl accidentally burnt her swimsuit with a curling iron and another girl handed her a very expensive swimwear so she could compete.   I remember the first time Emily stepped into teen competition we attended a meeting at Miss America. Emily ended up choosing the USA but at that meeting they told us to look around that at least one or more of your bridesmaids will be in this room. The friendships they make are that strong. 

The girls train all year long. Emily exercises so she can compete in swimwear (which is being changed next year to athletic wear which I prefer). She then generally meets with interview coaches twice a month who also help her mentally prepare. They go over public speaking, current events, and being confident in yourself. One of the best pieces of advice she received through training was " Once you compare yourself to someone else you have already lost because you are your own person." Emily has to keep her grades up, watch her social media posts to make sure they are acceptable, and she cannot immerse herself in any negative situations. The girls have multiple lessons for all phases of competition. It's a lot of work! It's not just showing up one day on a stage and smiling. I was a tomboy when I was a little girl. I loved fishing, hunting, and anything outdoors. I never dreamed my daughter would compete in the Miss USA system but it's been a blast. I am not sure if Emily will go on to compete in miss but if she decides she wants to in the future we will continue to support her. Here are some of her proofs from the weekend. 

We missed this little face and I so wish he was there to wear Emily's little button and cheer on his sister but I am sure he was in spirit. My heart still hurts very much and I am still trying to make it through each day with a forced smile but I know Jude loves us and is our angel. I am not sure how Christmas will go but we are trying to march forward. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Dear Parents of the Chattanooga Bus Crash

I read the article and watched the story of the fatal bus crash and my heart broke for you. I turned to the loss forum I am on and posted that I was in tears and how I fully expected to see the parents of these children start to filter into our group, they always do. Each time a new member joins our heart break a little more but we all know the group is needed. Each time the world hears of a tragedy the parents of that tragedy find their way to our forum. 

I know your pain this morning following the death of your child. I know that you will be sitting in a funeral home in shock. You will look around taking in all the decorations within the facility and wonder what comes next. You will wonder how your brain will be strong enough to function to make the decisions to lay your child to rest. You will wonder if cremation or burial is best and then wonder why you even have to think about such a thing. As the funeral director speaks your try to understand everything he is asking you so you can make the best decision possible, but you realize you keep drifting off due to exhaustion. You may wonder why you are not crying and realize you are just sitting in some awful haze, like the surrounding world is not real. Trust me that the tears will come in time. We found some sort of strength in the immediate days that followed Jude's death and quickly planned everything we needed for his funeral. I can share the things that helped our family and maybe it will help you. 

We made sure we requested private time with our son so we could have time with him before family and friends showed up. We did this before and after his services. So whether you have a viewing or not you can spend some quiet time together. There are no rules when it comes to the loss of a child. If you need to break down, break down. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Many people are wanting to help you right now so let them make plans, provide you food, and help with your house. If you want private time ask them to leave and they will kindly oblige. I slept in Jude's bed after he passed just to be close to him. My husband and I then took off to Santa Fe because I couldn't stand the stillness of the house. Do what's best for you right now because the days ahead are long and hard. Your grief will never go away and I have been told the second year is actually worse than the first. Know there are many of us like you out here and when you are ready we can hear your story. 

Our hearts ache for you! We know your longing, we know the void, we know your anger, we know your tears, but we don't know you yet. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.  

Monday, November 21, 2016

Hard Jude Day

Thanksgiving is weighing on me. Normally I would make a big meal for anyone that wanted to stop by our house to see us and Jude. People would wander in throughout the day and good ole nurse Allan was there to help with all the leftovers. I will miss the nurses this year. I think that's half of what I am battling this year is the missing components of our family which was not just Jude. 

It's strange because I will have days where I feel functional and I don't have to wear a fake mask but there are other days that are not so great. This is one of those days. I miss Jude more than I can even express and the feel of him in my arms is beginning to grow a bit faint. I told Emily this weekend that I couldn't believe it's been 7 months because it feels like yesterday and she agreed. I had horrible nightmares again this weekend. One consisted of Mike being hurt and the other regarding Jude. I woke up hugging Mike because I was so distraught thinking something could happen to him too. 

Mike and I don't leave to watch Emily until Saturday so we will be around for Thanksgiving. I am considering making my normal meal and seeing where the day takes us. 

We miss you Jude. We are thankful for every moment we got with you. I am sure your sister will feel you with her this weekend and we will hang your stocking over the mantle on Friday. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

I Am Grateful For.......

Next weekend is Thanksgiving. For the first time in years Mike and I will spending Thanksgiving at home. We will fly out Saturday to watch Emily compete for Texas teen. I admire her tenacity and strength to compete again knowing that with 114 girls the outcome may very well be the same. However Emily seems extremely confident and has worked VERY hard for this. I also know Jude will be with her the entire weekend holding her hand and giving her strength. 

So as we head into a season of being thankful I reflect on my blessings. 

I am thankful that I have a beautiful daughter inside and out. Someone who has a level head on her shoulders and who is soulfully years older than the age of her body. A girl that is smart, level headed, genuine, and kind. Also a bit silly and always makes me laugh. 

I am thankful that I got to spend 7 years with the most adorable little boy who just loved to be held and cared for.  I will always cherish Jude's smiles, laughs, and hugs.  I will always be grateful that I was chosen to have Jude and care for such a remarkable spirit who educated so many on the true meaning of love. I am eternally grateful for the nurses who helped us care for him and their everlasting friendship. 

I am thankful for my husband who is my very best friend. Who still loves me after all these hard years we have endured together. Who looks at me with love rather than judgement after all my body has suffered. He is someone I love spending time with and he is my steadfast rock. 

I am grateful that Mike and I both have good jobs that allow us to be in a nice house and put food on our table. 

I am grateful for the best friends a girl could ever have. Friends that know what wine I drink without asking, that I love bubble baths, and who show up without being asked. Friends who rescued me cowering in the bathroom when I was in a full blown panic attack at Jude's funeral. Friends who showed up to pack Jude's items with drinks and food in hand. I may very well be the most blessed person I know in the friendship department. Friends like these who even on my very worst day can make me smile for a picture. 

I am grateful for my family who step in even in times that no one knows they've stepped in. Family who endured years of our heartache and pain with Jude. Family who said Jude's purpose was to just make everyone better and isn't that an amazing purpose. Family who each individual person consists of beautiful personalities and souls intertwined within our own beautiful branching tree. 

I am just grateful for it all. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Emily and Mike have been planning the decorations for our new house for Christmas. As I mentioned before I have not been the least bit excited about Christmas. In fact walking through the stores laced with decorations just makes my heart hurt. However last night I finally got it. Mike was pointing out to me how he wanted to wrap our trees with lights and the decorations he wanted to put out. He said he wanted to light it up so Jude could see it in heaven and be proud. 

Tears. I got it. So we will be decorating the house beautifully. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Rather over it all!

I am over the election. I am over people being mean and being nasty. Why do American's insist on being cruel to each other? It's just not necessary. Responding to a negative situation with a negative response only breeds more cruelty and less understanding of anyone's situation. The only thing I believe we can do is come together as one despite religion, race, or sexual preference. We must stamp out darkness with love and spread a more positive message. It is possible for people can stand up for what they believe in without being cruel. It's possible to make posts or speak to others with respect and generally if respect is given it is returned. I truly understand people are fearful and that makes me very sad, but I will pray and be hopeful that no ones rights are infringed upon in anyway. We cannot predict the future but we can pray for it. I have a multitude of friends that I would stand behind if anyone tried to infringe upon their rights but until that point we are only guessing. However just know I will stand with you. 

I am tired of people posting and telling others they are grieving and mourning over the election, it makes me very upset. I read it again TODAY for probably the 15th time that someone was in mourning (and they were not joking). I read another post that, they weren't going to let it ruin their life. Without anything transpiring yet could it have truly RUINED your entire life?? I mean really? You personally, not someone who has been attacked but YOU. I am over it. I will tell you what ruins your life, having a precious baby suffer a massive stroke. Hooking up feeding tubes, not getting sleep, and constantly battling with insurance for 7 years. Then watching your seven year old child take their last breath and their body begins to change colors and turn ice cold..............that RUINS your life. An election result that you don't agree with is called a disappointment that you are upset over and something that can be worked through.  I guess because I have been through such a tragedy I can look at a situation and say while I am upset I can still get through this with dignity and grace. Most of my friends are choosing this reaction which makes me proud. 

I have deleted and blocked some people on social media and I may just take a break until this all calms down. I scroll past most posts but the grieving and mourning posts just wash over me with anger. I completely understand people are upset and have a right to be! I am very upset we were not given a better choice of candidates but I also realize there is absolutely nothing I can do about that physically. However I can get down on my knees and pray.  I pray that our nation comes together and loves one another. I pray our new leader will be instilled with the knowledge, power, patience, and understanding it will take to make a positive impact during his presidency. That's what I feel I can do. I can join hands with all my brothers and sisters and pray for a positive outcome. I admire Hillary for wearing purple during her speech, a blend of blue and red thus encouraging everyone to unite and make a difference. 

In the end the reality is people's posts and perceptions are nothing to truly get upset over but sometimes life becomes heavy and venting helps. Explaining to others that mourning is actually a much more complicated avenue to maneuver. True mourning is nothing anyone wants to be a part of and once you are a part of it (which you will be) the definition takes on a much deeper meaning.  I hope maybe this blog will inspire someone to be more positive today and be kind. 

On a more positive note Jude's bench will be placed on Friday. I plan to go at lunch and provide everyone with a picture of their amazing contribution. I cannot wait to sit on it and tell him I love him and miss him. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Target and the Election

I went to Target today to pick up some items Emily needed for her pageant in three weeks and some snacks she requested. As I walked through the aisles everything was beaming with Christmas tidings. My heart broke again and as I stood in the aisle tears began streaming down my face. Oh the holidays are not easy. If it were up to me I would skip Christmas this year but as mentioned before Emily loves this time of year. We have promised to light our house and put up decorations that she will enjoy. Someday's I look at pictures of Jude and it doesn't seem real that he is gone but then the memory of his last breath crawls back into my mind. I plan on lighting a candle for Jude this Christmas and leave it burning throughout the day. Won't you join me? 

So the election was last night and we have a new president elect. I will be honest in admitting I lived through one Clinton presidency and I did not want to live through another. However I do firmly believe the Democratic party would have won last night if they had chose Bernie Sanders as their candidate. I am rather astonished at social media today and the cruel vile words spewing from peoples mouths from behind their computers. We all have opinions on the election but we should strive to treat each other with respect and dignity. Despite the outcome I would have respected our new president elect and I would respect all those around me. Our children are watching us and are learning how to react as adults. Stop and ask yourself if your behavior is one that you would want your child to mimic? 

We are running a booster for Emily's Smile Boxes. We are trying to sell 32 hoodies. If you would like to help out they are $35 a piece and you can see them here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


I know my posts sometimes upset others but I post them because they are real. There are others suffering out there and I promised to be raw and honest in this blog. When people wonder why I struggle I often ask them, "how long would it take you to get over the death of your child?" That generally puts things in perspective.

Anyway, it's a better day today and as Scarlett says, "Tomorrow is another day"

So until then.......

Monday, October 31, 2016

It's Halloween

Oh what a hard day today is. I have shed so many tears that I am sure my makeup is mostly gone and I may look a fright at work. It's one of those days that I will probably excuse myself and go home early. It's Halloween.........our first Halloween without our baby cow, our little shark, our tiny Elvis, our fire fighter, our Jude. No special haunted cemeteries are being set up tonight in our yard and there are no nurses staying late. 

It's a hard day. They happen. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Tears and Pictures

Yesterday was rough, there is just no sugar coating it. Jude was on my mind a lot. I also felt pressed for time like there are not enough hours in the day. I know many people feel that way in the hustle and bustle that we call everyday life. As the sun was setting and my day was still going I stood in line at the grocery store. While waiting my turn I looked to my right and my eyes drifted over the packs of gum and down to the magazines. There sat a front page that beamed with Halloween decorations that beckoned parents to try to imitate them and gorgeous children dressed in cute homemade costumes. My heart began to hurt a little and then my eyes continued to scan the shelves. Next up was a holiday magazine with the front laced in beautiful Christmas decorations and that's when the tears began to fall. I missed Jude and I began to think how unfair it is that he is not here and could never truly experience the holidays. A natural but selfish reaction.  I quickly tried to wipe away the tears streaming down my face before I reached the checkout and upset the clerk. Once I had paid I breathed a sigh of relief and began walking to my car. On my way I saw a big burly man with a tiny little daughter skipping beside him. She had on her dance outfit and had her daddy carrying her plastic doll carrier. She was humming with a large Halloween balloon trailing behind her that her dad had purchased. As she slipped her tiny hand in his large open palm I just smiled and remembered how amazing life can be. 

This morning I was silently still struggling but on my Facebook feed there was an adorable picture of Jude and his father at therapy several years ago. I smile every time I see this photo because I can literally hear Jude questioning what the therapist was planning to do. 

I also received several of Emily's senior pictures. I think that's another issue I am struggling with is Emily is a senior and will be leaving home soon. I am so incredibly proud but as time has passed I continue to parent her but she is also one of my best friends. We tell each other pretty much everything. I look forward to watching her flourish as life marches on. I think these pictures truly capture Emily's personality and I love the one with Felicia our chicken! If you ever need photography I highly recommend Sarah Miloud Photography. 

I look forward to getting Jude's bench in December so I can go spend some time sitting with him at his resting place. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Jude, Emily, and the Weekend.

I thought a lot about Jude this weekend and I thought this picture was fitting. Mike was talking to me about Christmas and I told him I just don't want to celebrate this year. He explained Jude would want us to and was encouraging me to participate. All I could picture was Jude lying in his casket versus lying in his bed smiling at me on Christmas morning. I know that in time these images and feelings will begin to dissipate a bit. We took some mums to Jude's resting place last weekend and put a watering bulb in the planter. If anyone gets buy and could refill the bulb with water that would be great. We only get to go on weekends. 

Emily flew to Orlando with her father this weekend. She received an award from the National Caring Institute for being one of the most caring youth in the nation. It was a very great honor. We also just learned that Emily is being honored by the national stroke association but I cannot release those details yet. However, that is exciting. After all the work promoting pediatric stroke awareness we are THRILLED they contacted her. Emily doesn't need accolades because she only wants to give back but she knows the accolades only help her promote her charity more. 

We bought our tickets to go watch Emily compete for Texas teen again in November. We don't know if the results will be any different than before but I am proud of her for not giving up. Her tenacious spirit always makes me smile. 

This weekend I worked a craft fair for Perfectly Posh. It started off a bit slow but overall this small craft fair turned out to be very successful. Not very many people had heard of Posh which solidified my assumption that not many consultants exist right now so it's a great time to have signed up. The people that had heard or tried Posh raved about it! I even had a gentleman that makes the organic raw materials for large makeup manufactures pass by my booth. He picked up an item and started reading off the contents. Despite my knowledge on the product I cannot easily spout off pronunciations of ingredients. Anyway he looked at every single ingredient and said, "this is a really good product." Which made me smile. I am having a mystery bag opening party tonight which is so fun! Three bags are already gone but I have 4 bags left for women and 1 bag for men. If you would like to join us tonight I will be opening them live at 7:30. The bags are $30 and have more than $30 in product in them. Just claim your bag here then you can paypal.

Also at the craft fair I had Jude's book with me. I only sold one copy but Jude's book is not for profit it's for awareness and education. Awareness that pediatric strokes exist and education that love truly conquers all. What was amazing is that multiple people stopped to talk to me about the book including people from Shriners. Everyone that stopped had questions, listened, cried, and were inspired. The Shriners even asked me to come speak at their next meeting. So Jude did amazing work, as usual. 

We also planted Jude's tree from nurse Allan and nurse Charlotte. We placed the marker they had engraved in front of it and put it in a spot where we will see it everyday. May it bloom and grow for years to come. 

I am blessed. I miss my boy more than anything but I am blessed. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

A Day In The Life Of Jude

I ran across these pictures again today that my friend Sara took. It really reflects how our daily life was with Jude and what he was used to. As crazy as it sounds I miss every part of this. I wouldn't want this for him again but I would proudly do this again in a heartbeat.