"Grieving the loss of a child is a process, it begins the day your child passes and ends the day the parent joins them."

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Treasure Each Moment

...July 4, 2009 was the last 4th of July we had with both Brad and Carly. We had such a good time that year. With the exception of Brad nearly blowing off his finger while setting off bottle rockets :/  Ashleigh wasn't with us that year, she was with friends, on vacation in California.  But, July 4, 2009 was the first, and sadly the last year that Carly used Sparklers. She was in awe of them. :)

So, as we go about our day today, our hearts will remain heavy. Missing both of those kids more than I could ever attempt to explain to anyone. Wishing more than anything we could do Sparklers with our sweet girl again this year and each year after. Wishing Brad was here, he'd be in his glory this year, now that Fireworks are legal in Michigan.

We will be heading to my brother and sister inlaws house (where we were in 2009) today and having fireworks there as well. It's going to be tough, I'm sure, but we will be surrounded by family, who will, I'm sure, be feeling our losses as well. And we'll be missing Ashleigh too. But, our hearts rest easy knowing she is happy with life aboard the USS Eisenhower. They are docked in Palma, Spain for the next several days. Boy, is she one excited Sailor!

Enjoy your July 4th 2012. Be safe. And always remember, Treasure Each Moment, make lots and LOTS of memories...one never knows what tomorrow may bring.

Monday, July 2, 2012

I've been MIA for quite some time in bloggy land. Haven't known what to say. Even tho., I have a lot to be said. But, sometimes it's best just to keep things quiet. At this point, I'm really unsure as to how much I will blog throughout the summer months.

I've been having MUCH anxiety the past several weeks due to health issues, the new house, Ashleigh being deployed, Brad's death investigation, missing Brad, missing Carly. Taking criticism from strangers online who send me private messages and emails telling me how I'm so venomous. Seriously? I reply one time, but they blast me over and over and over. It's pretty sick if you ask me. But, whatever, I've learned that people are nasty, mean and cold hearted and some day, they'll get what's coming to them.

During the days, I'm trying to keep myself busy. Even if it means just jumping in the car and going to the store. Some days, I just have to get out of the house and away from the house. I work out in my garden quite a bit. Work in the house, trying to get it decorated in hopes of making this house feel like our home. Not a ton of success in making it feel like "home" but I'm trying.

Paul and I were talking the other day. I am so incredibly lost in life right now. I've been a stay at home mom for 14yrs. When we lost Carly, so suddenly, I was devastated..however, I did have Ashleigh and Brad home. And because of them being home, I forced myself to push forward. Then, Ashleigh left for the Navy. Brad was still home. I was pretty thankful to have him here. He kept me in check, mom wise that is. Now, I have nothing. No kids at home. And truthfully, I have no idea what I am suppose to do. Could I get a job? Probably. Not sure I could mentally handle the stress of a job right now. But, for 14yrs, my job was, "mom" and in less than 18months...my job, as I knew it, ended.

I think I'd like to get back into counseling. Even tho., I wasn't all that impressed when I was going before, but I'm so lost. And my health issues have me a nervous wreck. I now have a colo rectal doctor and I wont get into those details, but I'd be lying if I said I had no concerns. I also had biopsies done in May, checking for uterine cancer. No cancer, but some kind of growth in my uterus. My GYN is extremely hesitant on doing a hysterectomy. She said, "you need to have one, but..." Yeah, that BUT..is making me crazy. She told me she could go in and remove the growth, patch up my uterus and I could have more children. (expect Paul would need a reversal vasectomy). I'm so torn over this decision. REcently, I've had dreams about having more kids. In fact, one dream I had, I had twin girls..and I was PISSED off in my dream, because I wanted a boy, JUST like Brad and a girl, JUST like Carly.  But, I know that in reality, I am almost 46yrs old, my monthly cycle is HORRIBLE and this growth needs to get out of me. I go in to meet with the GYN the end of July. I do plan to schedule a hysterectomy, but boy it has been on up and down decision process. And I'm still not 100% with doing it.  Ugh..it's never freaking ending.

Paul is, well...he's surviving the best way he knows how. He has some pretty rough days. He worries about me while he's working. And he's been having some pretty bad anxiety issues too. His work has been crazy busy. He's been averaging 75-80hrs a week. Hopefully, that is about to slow down. While he's home, he tries to busy himself around the house..we have a TON to finish up, but it'll get done, some where down the road.

Ashleigh seems to be doing really well. She deployed on the USS Eisenhower on June 20th. The ship is deployed for 9months. Her orders are only for 3months..but we all know that could change at any given time. We are able to email back and forth and we even got a phone call from the ship!! It was a pretty rough connection, but we could at least hear her voice. :) It sure made Paul and I feel so good. And knowing that life on the ship isn't bad (except the bathrooms are nasty - (she's a bathroom clean freak!) and the food "sucks"..except for the cheesecake and cobblers, she's having a good time! They are about to go into Port for a few days. Not sure if I can share that info or not. I think once they get to port, then I can! But, she is looking forward to it and she is VERY excited!

Guess that's about it for today. I'll try to be better at blogging and not be MIA for so long!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

May 24, 1986

...one has no way, to even attempt to imagine, all that can take place within 26yrs.

26yrs ago today, Paul and I were married. Two EXTREMELY young kids; I, 19 and he, was 20. Wow! But on that day, so many years ago, we never, in our wildest dreams or most horrifying  nightmares, could have known how our journey together would go. Sure, we had happy times. Lots of them in fact. But man...it's been rough for a couple of years now.

Ashleigh was born and then 2yrs and 11months later, Brad was born. We had some rough times...as many young married people do. But, we were doing okay. For a while anyway.

When Brad was 2 1/2, Paul and I separated and eventually divorced. We remained divorced for 7yrs. And only because of our children, we started to heal. We would attend school events together, with the kids. Go to movies and even on vacation. At that point we decided we should give it one more try..the whole marriage thing. We wanted our kids happy. We wanted to be happy.

On December 17, 1999 we remarried. Our kids were THRILLED! Our family was whole again. Gone, were the sad looks from the eyes of our kids, who were torn apart through our divorce. The sparkle came back into their eyes. Life was good.

Paul started coaching Ashleigh's soccer team..until the girls got to "that weird age" as Paul called it. He was uncomfortable coaching middle school girls. At that point, he started coaching Brad's soccer team. I think he coached those boys throughout elementary. Once Brad hit middle school, he switched to football.  Our weeknights were busy with practices. Weekends we were consumed with soccer games. Oh, but it was so fun. And looking back, we are so happy to have been so involved with the kids, their friends, the parents, school etc...

Along comes Carly! What a surprise she was. A complete and total blessing for our little family of 4. Jan., 2, 2002 was such a great day. The day our family was complete. And then we were hit with the news, "were sorry but, we think your baby has Down syndrome." We were shocked. Devastated really. This was not the way it was suppose to be. How could this have happened? What were people going to think? How would we tell people? How would our new baby be treated/accepted by others? It was rough, to say the least. But, we made it. And I'll never forget the words that Brad said to me on the night of Carly's birth. Let me back up a bit first. Ashleigh had gone from the hospital with my parents to buy a new outfit for Carly to come home in. Brad stayed at the hospital with Paul and I. Brad heard the doctor tell us, what we thought at the time, were the worst possible words a doctor could ever say. Brad saw the reaction that Paul and I had..and it kind of freaked the poor kid out. He had just turned 12, less than 2 months before Carly was born. Eventually, Paul and Brad left the hospital that night. I called home to talk to the kids and Paul. When Brad got on the phone, I was trying not to cry. Trying really hard not to be emotional. He asked me, "are you okay mom?" I said, "I just don't know what we are going to do." Brad's response, "we're just gonna take care of her mom." And at that very moment, even though I was so saddened, I knew, that once the shock wore off, we'd be okay.

3 weeks after Carly's birth, we were hit with another blow. We found out that she had a severe heart condition. She would not survive childhood without surgery, but what she needed done, was no easy task. Carly was given less than 20% chance to survive with a successful surgery. At 3months of age, she was taken from my arms, into surgery. She made it! But 13hrs later, we nearly lost her to a pulmonary embolism. She spent 3 1/2 days on ECMO. 31 days after entering UofM hospital for open heart surgery, we brought our baby girl home. Her surgeon was in awe of her. He told us, "I expected your stay in ICU to be 4-6months." She blew the minds of those doctors.

June, 2004 we were back to UofM for a second heart surgery for our sweet girl. She breezed right through it. We were discharged on the 4th morning following her surgery. We were amazed. And thrilled. We were home, happy and healthy.

Sept 2004, leukemia reared it's ugly head with our sweet little girl. We sat at UofM in total disbelief. How many times were we going to get knocked down in this life time? When was enough going to enough? How could this tiny little 2 yr old be put through 26months of chemotherapy?
She had endured so much. We nearly lost her 2 times due to blood infections and once due to a round of really hard chemo that caused dehydration so severe the nurses couldn't find vitals on her. But, she came out swinging. She beat that evil cancer. She won the battle. Our family could finally get back to being a family. 26months is a long time. Lots of hospital stays. Low blood counts, = no company, no going away...being confined pretty much to home. After chemo days, we were resting pretty easily. Carly was thriving. Our family was happy. Things were good.

April 23, 2010 our life came crashing down. Our family of 5 was no more. Our lives and hearts were shattered. How could life be so cruel? How would we go on? What would happen to our family? Could we survive this life, without Carly? We thought this would certainly be the worst day of our lives. How could life get any worse? Our family was suddenly ripped apart and it all took place in 1 1/2 hrs. Our lives were turned upside down. Life as we knew it, had forever changed. We would never be the people that we were before that dreadful day.

Life was pretty difficult for us in the days and weeks and months that passed after losing Carly. We never felt so alone in all of our lives. Not just Paul and I, but Ashleigh and Brad too. People didn't know what to say, so they said nothing. Which is much harder on grieving families. We cried many tears. Felt very lost, empty, angry. Surely we had been through enough. How could this have happened? Would we, could we survive this? Carly was the core of our family. Loved beyond loved. And she was gone. Plucked, right out of the family core.

I often times worried about Paul and I. The statistics/divorce rates are out of this world, high, after the loss of a child. Would we be okay? I worried about Ashleigh and Brad too. How would they cope with the loss of their baby sister? Would they be okay? Then I'd get pissed. Dammit, Ashleigh and Brad had been through enough. Paul and I had been through enough. And now they lose their sister...we lose our daughter...total bullsh!t! Yep, that pretty much sums up my thoughts in the days, weeks and months after losing Carly. Total bullsh!t!

Some how, we were all making it through that horrific time. Making it through the best we could. The kids were doing okay. Paul and I were doing the best that we could. And I thought, just for a split second. We are going to make it through this.

BAMM!!! October 8, 2011. Paul and I left our home at 5:15pm to run to the auto parts store and grab some dinner. At 6pm, I called Brad (he was home) and asked his what he wanted us to bring him for dinner, because I wasn't going to cook. He placed his order - steak, cooked medium..baked potato and fries. At 7:30ish, Paul and I were on our way back home. My phone rang. I noticed it was my friend calling, she rarely calls my cell. I answered and she asked where I was at. And then she told me, "Joany, your house is on fire." I hung up on her and frantically started calling Brad's cell phone. I called it over and over and over and over. He never answered. I called my brother and told him he needed to get to my house. Paul and I were 20 miles away. I called one of my girl friends, who lives 3 miles from me and told her to get to my house, it was on fire. I continued calling Brad. NON STOP..he never answered. How in the HELL could this be happening? I just knew we would pull up to our home and he'd be outside with the firemen. He wasn't. Nothing but chaos once we arrived on the scene. I was in shock. We were all in shock. There is absolutely no way that this could be happening. It was like a nightmare. As I sat watching, everything seemed to be going in slow motion. Paul flipped out and ran through the police crime scene tape that was placed around our yard. He was heading to the house. He was tackled by 2 State Troopers and placed in hand cuffs. We were kept separated for a couple of hours. I just couldn't believe this was happening. Eventually, the cops let us be together. And then the devastating news, "we have found a body in the home." came crashing down upon us. My knees buckled. I could not believe what we were being told. He was gone. Brad was gone.

As I sit here today, typing this, I see that I may have veered off track of what I intended to post, but when you've lived and lost, what I've lived and lost in 26yrs, sometimes, you find yourself rambling. Memories flood your mind. Your heart. Your entire soul. Tears flood your eyes and you try desperately to remember every detail of your life.

This has been one Hell of a 26yr journey for our family. As we said our "I do's" standing in that church, we didn't have a clue of what we would face. How life would play out. The joy we would share. The heartache. The pain. The suffering. The loss. One never knows, for that matter. But I can promise you this, we never in a million years thought we'd be grieving over 2 children. That was something that never, ever entered our minds. It's just not suppose to happen that way. Parents aren't suppose to bury their children. As hard as each passing day is for Paul and me. We continue to put one foot in front of the other,,,even when we feel we just can't do it another day, but it's the hardest thing we've ever done.

I would like nothing more, than to turn back the hands of time. Rewind our lives to happier days. Good times, when we were a family of 5. But, I know that will never be. I can't begin to imagine having to go through this horrific time without Paul. I wish we didn't have to go through any of this, but we do.

We did nothing fancy for today. We never do. Likely because we don't know which anniversary to celebrate. This one, or the second one, or both?! I made fish, corn on the cob and baked potatoes for dinner. We ate, did the dishes and Paul was in bed by 8:15 (he works about 70+hrs a week).

Tomorrow, after Paul gets home from work, we will head to the cemetery. I bought some flowers for Memorial Day to place on each of the kids graves. We'll talk about the past 26yrs..the past 25 months. We'll talk about Brad and of our memories about him. We'll talk about Carly and all the memories we have of her. We'll stand at the foot of their graves and we'll shake our heads and we'll cry.

Monday, May 14, 2012

We Made It...

..as I assumed we would. Thru Mother's Day, I mean. The day started of rather gloomy for both Paul and I. By "gloomy" I mean our moods. We were neither one sure of just what to do. We headed outside, planted a tree, worked in my weed garden...er, I mean, flower garden. Poor garden, had no care or readiness to prepare for fall, due to the fire an all that went on. It was a mess. Still is. I'll get it done. Maybe.

As we were out working in the yard, the garage door (which was up/open) suddenly closed! Then, opened and closed again. And finally, opened and remained open. Paul asked me, "did you do that?" I had to remind him that I was in the yard with him and we watched together. It kind of freaked us both out. And we wondered, maybe, could it be our kids letting us know they were near on that day? No idea. But, Paul and I both know it happened. We saw it with our own eyes. We stood watching, in disbelief, really.

I've never been sure about receiving "signs" from loved ones who have passed. I guess I never really had an opinion, one way or the other. But more and more things keep happening around this house. One day, I'll share with  you, the sign I had one morning while home alone. This sign was so clear, it made my knees weak. Weak to the point I had to sit down. It was a sign from Brad.

At any rate, I was pretty happy to let myself believe that the garage door going up and down on its own, was my two Angels, letting me know they hadn't forgotten me on Mother's Day.

The day continued and surprisingly, Paul and I were pretty at peace after the above incident. We got cleaned up and went out to an early dinner at Smokey Bone's. We ate ribs--even I did. I splurged, but still accounted for all the food I ate (I do Weight Watchers). I talked to Ashleigh for a while. And received a really sweet card from her. It made me get all teary eyed. She also gave me an hour gift certificate for a massage. She knows her mom pretty darn good, cuz I realllllllyyyyyyy need a massage right about now.

After we went to dinner, we headed to the cemetery, where I placed a hanging planter. I'm pretty sure that moms are suppose to receive on Mother's Day, but on this day, I give. I give to my two kids who were plucked out of my life so suddenly and so unexpectedly. That's just wrong. WRONG!

We ended our day by visiting my parents. I gave my mom a planter, but forgot the card! Of all days to forget a card...I pick Mother's Day.

Even though I dreaded this Mother's Day, it wasn't all that bad. I honestly do believe, that the anticipation that leads up to "special days" (holidays, and so on) is by far, much worse than the actual day itself. The dread is almost a fear that sets in. No matter how hard you try to fight it...it's there. And will be here, forever.


On a side note. I'd appreciate some really good, positive vibes this week. I have a couple of doctor appointments. One tomorrow, the 15th and one on the 17th. The 17th is actually a procedure, it's at 11am and it has my nerves rattled, to say the least. So, if you have it in your heart, I could sure use some good vibes.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

This Mother's Day, I have a whole different take on the meaning. 
Honestly, I dread the day.  
Likely, no more than I dread every day.
But, this day...
The day when mother's are happily enjoying their day and their children. 
I yearn for mine. 
Missing ALL, of my kids.
 And wish nothing more than to have all 3 of them here, with me, on this day. 
Instead, I will visit 2 of them at the cemetery.
But, I will be thankful to be able to talk to Ashleigh on the phone.
So happy that she's just a phone call away.

Happy Mother's Day, to all who are able to enjoy their children. Squeeze those kids
just a little tighter today. One never knows what tomorrow may bring.

Happy Mother's Day to all those who grieve the loss of their children.
May we all find some sort of comfort on this day.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Dream

As I blogged about the other day, May 8th was 7 months since our fire. 7 months since we last saw our son. It was a hard day. Harder than I thought it would have been.

I talked with Ashleigh on the 8th. She told me about, The Dream she had in the early morning hours of May 8th. Brad was in it. Actually, he appeared in her dream. She told me that he walked up to her, she turned to look at him, asking him, "What are you doing here?" He was all smiles. Very happy. His response, "I'm okay, Ash." (he has called Ashleigh, Ash, since he started talking. I don't think he ever called her Ashleigh!) He went on to say, "Tell mom and dad." How about that?? It made tears run down my face. I think he actually came to her that night.

I've yet to be able to dream about Brad. I've had many dreams about Carly. They've been awful. Very disturbing. But, I've had no dreams about Brad. It makes me sad, really. However, I'm so happy that he appeared in Ashleigh's dream and that he was happy. Like Ashleigh said, "I guess there's some comfort in that."

Paul had such a hard time hearing about that dream. He cried and cried and cried, as we stood at the graves of our children. We both decided that it had to be a sign. That he must of came to Ashleigh during the night. I've never really believed in that kind of stuff before, but this is makes me rethink many things.

Sure, we've been having some pretty strong signs of Brad's presence around here. Carly's too, for that matter. But nothing like, The Dream that Ashleigh had the other night.


I'm trying to do a blog makeover. Please pay no attention to the jumbled, under construction look!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Just For Today

Just for today I will try to live through the next 24 hours
and not expect to get over my child’s death,
but instead learn to live with it, just one day at a time.

Just for today I will remember my childs life, not just his (& her) death,
and bask in the comfort of all those treasured days
and moments we shared.

Just for today I will forgive all the family and friends
who didn’t help or comfort me the way I needed them to.
They truly did not know how.

Just for today I will smile no matter how much I hurt on the inside,
for maybe if I smile a little, my heart will soften and I will begin to heal.

Just for today I will reach out to comfort a relative or friend of my child,
for they are hurting too, and perhaps we can help each other. 

Just for today I will free myself from my self-inflicted burden of guilt,
for deep in my heart I know if there was anything in this world
I could of done to save my child(ren) from death, I would of done it.

Just for today I will honor my child’s memory by doing something with another child
because I know that would make my own child proud. 

Just for today I will offer my hand in friendship
to another bereaved parent for I do know how they feel. 

Just for today when my heart feels like breaking,
I will stop and remember that grief is the price we pay for loving
and the only reason I hurt is because I had the privilege of loving so much.

Just for today I will not compare myself with others.
I am fortunate to be who I am and have had my child for as long as I did. 

Just for today I will allow myself to be happy, 
for I know that I am not deserting him/her 
by living on.

Just for today I will accept that I did not die when my child did,
my life did go on, and I am the only one who can make that life worthwhile once more.

 by Vicki Tushingham

Today is 7 months ago since we've seen Brad. I'm still having such a hard time wrapping my brain around this cold, hard, fact. When Paul and I left our home that night, at 5:15pm, back in October,  we NEVER dreamed that we would never see our son again. At 6:05pm, I called and talked to Brad- he told me what he wanted me to bring him home from the restaurant. He ordered a steak, baked potato and fries. I asked him how his steak should be cooked. I thought rare, he corrected me with, "medium well." By 6:50pm, Brad was gone. Fire engulfed his room. Smoke filled our home. Our son, was gone. We never got to say goodbye to him. We never again laid eyes on his face. He was gone. It's hard to say goodbye to someone that you can not actually see. It's hard to say goodbye to your child whether or not you can actually "see" them. But for us, it was especially difficult because Brad's funeral was a closed casket. 

It's so hard to try and make sense of all that has gone on in our lives over the past 25 months. Sometimes, I think that maybe it was me who died. Maybe I'm looking down over my family. Or, maybe I've been in a coma for the past 25 months. I mean, seriously, how can this be happening? Not once, but twice. 

So, Just For Today, I will try extra hard...but I can't make any promises for the days, months, years to come. 

I miss my son. I miss my daughter. I miss the way my life used to be. I miss the 'old' me. I just can't get to know this 'new' me. And sadly, dammit, there is not one single thing I can do to change any of this.

Friday, April 27, 2012

"Having One Of Those Days"

...was my reply to Paul's question of how my day was today.  He asked me, "Aren't they all, one of those days?" Sadly, we both said at the very same time, "Some days are just plain worse than others." And today would be, One Of Those Days.

I woke up this morning, not wanting to get myself out of bed. I had to, the dog wanted out. I dragged myself up, got dressed and headed out the door. As I walked the dog around the yard this morning, I was in awe of everything that has gone on in our lives the past 2 years. I walked the yard, and memories came flooding back. Of Brad, as a little boy and how he played for hours in the yard. I walked past his beloved truck. And my heart ached. He loved that old pickup truck of his.  And then the memories of Carly playing in her sandbox, which is till in our backyard - along with all of her other outside toys :( starting running through my mind. Dandelions in the grass, break my heart. She loved to pick them and then, when they were ready, she got a huge kick out of knowing she could blow them. Memories are good, but they are painful at times. Today was one of those times.

This afternoon I had to run some errands. I pulled into the drive thru, to do some banking and the  song below came on the radio. It's the song Brad's buddies picked to have played at his funeral. I sat in that drive thru crying my eyes out. I miss my son. I can't believe he is gone. I can't believe that we still have no answers. I can't believe we are a part of a  on going criminal investigation. I just can't believe any of this.

After the banking, I headed to the cemetery to visit both of my kids.  As I stand at their graves and I feel sick. Sick over what could have been. Sick over what should have been. Sick that I'm standing at the foot of the graves of two of my kids.

After pulling myself together, enough to drive. I headed to the grocery store. Which I HATE! Anxiety hits me hard while at the store. I've been told, it's very common with grieving parents. If I could order all our food online, I would avoid grocery shopping all together. I walk the isles like a freaking zombie..I forget everything I need. All I can think about is getting the heck out of the store and getting back home.

While driving home from the store, I find myself daydreaming. The events of  April 23 2010, play through my mind like it just happened yesterday. October 8 2011 pops into mind too. The phone call my girlfriend made to my cell phone to tell us of the fire. My constant, repeated calls to Brad's cell phone. Calling my brother, my friend and my parents..asking them to get to our house. Driving down our road and seeing the fire trucks, ambulances and police cars. They are a vivid and constant thought in my mind. I can play that night out like it just happened. These are not good memories. Not at all. But there really is no way around them. We have to go through them. And know that they will never leave us. The horror of both those days will live with us for the rest of our lives.

As I returned home this afternoon, I pulled into our driveway and this song came on the radio. We didn't play this song at Carly's funeral. I didn't feel "Party In The USA" was appropriate for her funeral. This was one of Carly's favorite songs. She called it the "butterfly song", due to the lyrics within the song.

Of course, my tears streamed down my face again. Oh my gosh, Carly loved this song. If it came on the radio while she was sleeping in the car, she would wake up almost instantly and start singing and bopping in her car seat. Without fail, she would wake up! It was pretty funny to see. Oh my gosh, I miss that sweet little girl.

Tonight, Paul and I are having a low key  night of homemade pizza and staying at home. I've cried enough today and I'm ready for this day to end. I'm so tired of having another, One Of Those Days.

**hopeful the video's posted right. This new way to post thing, has me a bit confused**

Monday, April 23, 2012

April 23

Is one of our most dreaded days.

Hard to wrap our brains around the fact that we no longer are able to enjoy this sweet little girl, every day.

The "experts" on grief say that the hardest part of grief, comes in the second year. We wouldn't know that for certain. Why? Because we lost Brad right smack dab, in the middle of our second year of grieving for Carly. I can tell you, as I forced myself out of bed this morning...which I do every.single.morning, just so I can let the dog outside, I replayed Carly's last day on this earth, inside of my head. It left me feeling sick.

We have no words to describe how very, very much we miss this little girl. Sure, we can tell you what we miss..but how we feel about missing her, just can not be described. We miss her so much, it comes from deep, deep down inside. We miss her laughter. We miss her voice. We miss her mischievous ways. We miss her curiosity. We miss playing with her. We miss teaching her. We miss watching her grow. We miss watching her learn. We miss her physical being. We miss her hugs. We miss her laying between us each and every night...hogging the ENTIRE bed! And even tho., I can tell you everything that we miss about her, I can not describe the pain that is within us on a day to day basis.

I hate the date, April 23. Hate what that day became for our family. In my eyes, it was the day that started the very downward spiral of our lives. Nothing will ever be as it was before that day. Life as we knew it, has forever been changed. Paul and I are no longer the people we once were and we realize, we will never be the same. Ever.

Today, Paul is home from work. Thankfully. I was concerned about being all by myself today. He didn't tell me he was staying home, until last night, when I started to make his lunch for today. So, later on today, we are heading to the cemetery to visit both of our children.  Leave flowers for this sweet little girl, who is "The Music In Our Hearts, Forever." (words inscribed on the back of her headstone.)

Although Carly is no longer on this earth, our love for her remains, strong and deep. We will love her until the end of our days.

My hope for today is that Brad has Carly on his lap, wrapped tightly in his arms. And that they both, feel the love that Paul, Ashleigh and I have for them, today and forever.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

10 Years Ago

...today, our family faced what we thought would be the most difficult time in our lives.

April 5, 2002.
Carly was taken back to surgery at 7am.
Open heart surgery.
Surgery that would last about 6yrs.
A surgery that no doctors were confident about doing.
Odds were stacked against her.
She had less than a 20% chance to come out of it alive.

She survived.
Much to the surprise of Motts Cardiac Doctors.
Her surgery deemed, a success!

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13 hours after surgery, Carly coded/crashed.
The entire ICU swarmed her bedside.
One nurse straddled over Carly's gurney.
Paul and I stood back and watched in horror.
We later learned, the nurse who straddle over Carly,
had her hands placed on Carly's tiny heart, massaging it.
Carly had a pulmonary hemorrhage..her lungs were shot to HELL!

The equipment you see in the above pictures,
is ECMO and yes, it's as scary as it looks.
But, BUT after 3 1/2 days, ECMO saved our sweet girl.
She beat the odds stacked so high against her.
She fought her way back.

31 days after surgery...we brought her back home.

And now, besides our memories,
both good ones and even the bad ones,
this is what we are left with.

Our hearts beyond broken.
Our hearts completely shattered.

How can 10 years have passed so quickly?
How can all that was fought for be gone?

10 years.