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Remember the 28th

Life after infant loss, spreading joy to honor our precious child.

Christmas 

  Christmas, is a time for joy and family.  I look forward to it every year.  It’s my favorite holiday.  It’s a time for caring and sharing.  Our schedule is full with traditions that create a lifetime of memories for all. I take a break from work life and turn my focus towards the things I value most, family and friends.

But this should be Harrison’s first Christmas.  We should have presents for him under the tree.  Our Santa pictures should include two kids.  I see 11 month old babies everywhere and I miss him.  I dream of how life would be if he was here on Earth.   Change that, I dream of how things SHOULD be.  

I wish I could see my boys play together.  How would they interact at this point?  Bennett likes sleeping in Harrison’s room now.  It has been 6 months since we lost him, and his room is the same.  The same sheets on the crib, his clothes fill the closet and drawers.  There are even 4 tiny outfits sitting in the dirty clothes.  

I wonder if Harry were alive if Bennett and Harrison would share this room.  I imagine Bennett would sleep in the bed and Harrison in the crib.  I always hoped they would choose to share a room since they were so close in age. 

These dreams will always be part of me.  This incredibly deep desire to have Harrison on Earth will live with me forever.  This missing piece of my heart will remain empty forever.

While I have moments of sadness this Christmas, I don’t feel overwhelmed with sadness or grief.  I feel absolutely overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation.

We have been the recipients of so much kindness this year.  I am humbled by our family, friends, and even strangers that have wrapped us in kindness over the past 6 months.  I am humbled by the enormous out pouring of support to honor and remember our sweet Harrison through acts of kindness.  

I am appreciative to have the opportunity to watch Bennett explore his world daily.  I am appreciative for a strong, compassionate, man to walk this life journey together. I am thankful for the four and half months of joy we experienced with Harrison in our arms.

Today, I choose to feel blessed!  

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

  

This is for Paris

  
Our home is full of heavy hearts for the victims in the Paris attacks.  So many people lost sons, daughters, parents, spouses, brothers, sisters, and friends. It brings me back to the days immediately after our loss.  I know the survivors are struggling with, “why?”  “Why the hell would ANYONE cause intentional harm to completely defenseless and innocent people?” 

 Surviving family members will also be haunted with questions like, “What if… They didn’t attend that concert or go to that restaurant?”  “What if they would have left sooner?” The first few days are the darkest days of grief. Dealing with loss that could have been prevented!  Loss that should not have happened.

So what can we do to help?

1. Change ur profile picture! I’m serious! When we lost Harrison my sorority sisters and friends changed their profile pictures to sailboats (our sorority symbol). This was amazing to see massive outpouring of support. It shows you care! We can’t understand their pain, but we can  express that we care!

2. Honor Paris! I encourage everyone to do an act of kindness to honor Paris. Just say, “This is for Paris.  Pay it forward.” We can reacted to the horrible act of evil with LOVE and PEACE! So let’s do it!!! And share your act of kindness on Facebook! I Know Paris will see it!

 I’m also going to tell you what helped me during those first few days.  Maybe through the use of social media this post will find its way to the victims families and provide support.

1. Your loved one Matters!  While there life ended too soon it is just as important and significant as some who lived 100 years.

2. There is NOTHING in your power that would have changed the outcome.  Nothing will bring them back.  It’s not your fault.  

3. I encourage you to honor their life.  Honor them with love for others.  Your love for them is endless even after loss.  Carry them with you by showing love for others.  At first the process of honoring will feel knumb like putting one foot in front of the other.  You will be mad that you are doing acts to honor them instead of having them in your arms.  But eventually you will find joy in the process.  Joy that is a constant reminder of their importance.

4.  Accept help!  You can’t do it all right now and that is ok.  Let others hold you up.  But don’t stop participating in life.  Allow your friends and family to distract you.  Spend time with the people who care about you.

5. Write down your memories.  Tell your story over and over.  Don’t hold it in.  Talk about it and write it down often.  The memories will fade and you will want them to reflect back.

Paris victims, I am personally thinking of you often and I am incredibly sad for this horrible unfair act of evil.  It’s not fair!  It sucks!  And I will honor you this week with one daily act of kindness to show you I care!

  

Reflecting Back

  

  
I look back at pictures of myself prior to losing Harrison and it’s like looking at pictures of someone else.  This experience of loss has created an entirely different human. I now file memories away as before loss and after loss.  I wish I could turn back time and live as that person in pre loss state for just one day, but I can’t.

What do I see when I look at this picture? I see a busy Mom.   A women who loves her children and husband.  A woman who is so physically tired she finds herself searching for words.  A woman who lives in a messy house because there are not enough hours in the day.  A homebody that loves spending time with friends and family. A woman who is trusting. Her days are packed with little time for herself.  Her hands are full and her heart is over flowing.  She is happy!  She has it all!  The career, the husband, and the kids!  She lives in constant chaos but she loves her chaos.

 I remember thinking the weekend before Harry passed,”I have everything I want in life! Everything I want is right here. Even if it is the hardest thing I have ever done.” Now, I’m thankful for that memory.

So today I reflect back and read this list above and believe all of these facts are all still true.  But I am not the same person.  

Here is how my mind has changed..

I visit uncomfortable feelings EVERY day. I constantly am aware of Harrison’s loss. I spend time pining for something that is not possible. I daydream about the possibility that this is a mistake and my baby is alive. I daydream that someone is going to surprise me and bring me Harrison. This thought brings me incredible happiness for a split second.  Followed by intense sadness  as I realize it’s delusional and will never happen.

Life feels fragile.  I receive a phone call from Bennett’s school and my mind leaps to the possibility of his death.  When my husband doesn’t call me by 5:18 after work, I will fear his safety.  I fear the  mortality of family and close friends .  I look at pictures of sleeping babies and worrying that they are dead.

Additionally, my life is more focused.  I understand and better appreciate true love.  I have a mission to honor Harrison and carry his joy in this world.  I have learned how to support those in pain.  I am no longer afraid to approach when I don’t know what to say.

While I want to return to my pre loss life sooo bad. I don’t have that choice.  So I will get to know the new me. And I know I have a “new me” because I LOVE Harrison.  I will always love him.  This is the definition of true love. I will continue to love deeply and risk loss. I will love my husband and Bennett just as deeply.  As they are both worth it!  

So now I look back at this picture of myself and say, “Today is the best day of your life!  TODAY!  Savor every second of it!  Love deeply and absorb every moment!”  And even though I can’t bring Harrison back, we are still living.  And we are living lives to honor him.

So today we honored Harrison by completing our Harry’s Joy Misson as a family.  We are a few days off because I was out of town this week and we like to do our acts of kindness as a family.

  
Today we went to the grocery and paid for a young mother’s groceries.  It was wonderful!  She was appreciative and embraced my husband in a hug as Bennett and I watched from a far.  Her baby looked about Harrison’s age.  I know she will hold him a little tighter for us tonight.

We love you Harry!

A Grandpa’s Love

  
We have been so fortunate to experience so much love and support since losing Harrison.  So many friends, family members, and even strangers have been kind enough to help hold us up during our weak moments.  We have experienced grace, kindness, support, generosity, and love from so many.  I can’t express our gratitude enough. 

Even with an huge amount of help and love, walking through this grief journey often feels isolating.  In the first few days after Harrison’s  passing, it seemed my husband and I were circled with love from others while on an emotional island that very few people can understand.  

I have read all about the stages of grief.  I believe I did so in hopes I would find a light at the end of the tunnel.  Some sort of understanding of what I’m feeling, how long I will feeling it, and when will it be bearable?  But the books always talk about these seemingly linear stages.  And that was not what I was experiencing.  It seemed no one really understands what I am  experiencing. Nothing takes the pain away.   Our situation is unique  compared to the textbooks.  I felt alone walking uncharted waters.

Days after losing Harrison, while I was on my self absorbed personal journey, I remember my mother said something about her grief.  I am embarrassed my first thought was… “Your grief! I’m the one who lost my child!”  But I paused and looked around at my house full of people supporting us and realized EVERYONE around me was also grieving. When Harrison passed it wasn’t just a loss for Jason and I.  Other people lost a grandson, a nephew, a cousin,  and a neighbor.

My father-in-law started attending a men’s group to work through his grief.  The leader of the group ask Tony to write out his story to share.  A few days ago Tony shared his story of Harrison’s loss with us.  It is a hard story to read.  But it allows me to understand Tony’s grief. I appreciate Tony sharing his story with us.  It makes me feel less isolated understanding Tony’s experience with grief.

Today, Tony is allowing us to share his world with you all.  Perhaps there is someone out there experiencing there own grief that will feel less isolated hearing this story.

 This is what Harrison’s Grandpa Tony experienced on June 5th 2015.

“On June 5, 2015 about 3pm, I am driving on I-70 nearly to downtown Kansas City just 15 miles from my son’s home in Lees Summit. I am driving my daughter Elizabeth and her daughter Fiona, who is 6, to meet Harrison Anthony Herold, their 4 month old nephew and cousin that neither had yet to meet. My phone rang and my youngest son Jason was on the phone, very upset, and telling me that his son “Harry” was at daycare and they couldn’t get him to respond after a nap. Jason was going to the Emergency Room and they were rushing Harry there also.

My daughter-in-law Darcy was working from home and on a 3 way conference call and they could not reach her. After about 10 minutes , when I had heard nothing more, I recalled Jason and asked him what was going on. He said that “Harry did not make it. They could not revive him. He was dead.” Jason wanted to leave the ER to go get Bennett their 2 year old who was also at the same daycare. This day, it was only Bennett and Harrison at the daycare home. Bennett saw and experienced everything, policemen, paramedics, and firemen who came to the 911 call and subsequently took his brother “Harry” away from him.

I told Jason we would go get Bennett. When we arrived at the daycare home there were 4 police cars. Bennett was standing off to the side completely forgotten about. His clothing was soaked with pee and he had seen it all. Firemen had carried Harry away and Bennett would never see him again. The police checked my ID and we took Bennett to the emergency room.

We all ran crying into the ER carrying Bennett and we went to the desk to say we were here for “Harrison Herold.” We got blank stares until someone said. “Its the baby.” We were led to a small conference room. It seemed as if everyone in the ER waiting room were watching us as we cried and screamed and went to find our family.

Jason tried to comfort his son Bennett and actually our 6 year old Fiona did a better job than any of us at soothing Bennett. After some time Elizabeth and I went to the ER room where Darcy was holding Harry. Darcy was crying and kept saying, “I’m so sorry this has happened. I so hope you were not afraid. Where are you Harry?” My daughter Elizabeth went to Darcy’s side and they both caressed and held the baby who was cold and white. I left to return to the conference room with Fiona and Bennett and Jason.

Later the nurses came in and told them that they had to turn over the body to the Medical Examiner’s Office. Darcy would not lay “Harry” down on a cart but rather placed him in the arms of a crying nurse and instructed her to hold him until Darcy had left the room.

We had 3 cars at the Hospital. Darcy insisted on driving home alone. Elizabeth drove Fiona and Bennett home. Jason wanted me to drive him in his car. As we both got in the car, I felt overwhelmed with the reality that my son was feeling absolute despair and I could not help him or fix it for him.

Silently, we drove the back roads the 10 miles to their home. I felt so lost and helpless. As we pulled out of the parking lot, I reached over and held hands with my 39 year old son and we drove home to Hidden Valley Road. My heart and soul are completely shattered.”

– Anthony Herold, “Grandpa Tony”

While this story may be difficult to read, it is a reminder that one lost life in this world, no matter how small, will impact so many people!  Thank you again, for all the support and thank you for supporting others experiencing any personal loss.

Next Wednessday is the 28th once again!  Feel free to join us and share you acts of kindness.  If you need Harry’s Joy cards you can pick them up at any of the posted pick up locations.

 

Emotional Roller Coaster


This week we had dear friends unexpectantly lose an amazing family member. He was a cherished father, husband, grandpa and overall a great person. Our hearts break for their family has they begin to grieve and process this loss.

Our friends have a six-year-old that is processing this loss through her sweet, innocent soul.  I was informed that her first question to her parents when she found out about the accident was, “Is Grandpa with Harrison?” At first, this explanation was enough to help her understand her “new normal.”  Eventually this sweet, six-year-old said, “I’m glad that Harrison has Grandpa.  They are going to have fun together in heaven!  But I’m mad that I don’t get to be with Grandpa.”

This reminds me of another point in my life when I called to tell a close friend I was expecting. Typically this is an easy conversation.  But this time, it was different because my dear friend was struggling with infertility. I wanted to be sensitive to her situation but I didn’t want to offend her by not sharing my news.  I will never forget what she said that day.  She said to me with grace, “I am very happy for you and I am very sad for me.”  The feeling was mutual!

Hearing about this sweet child’s grief, as well as, reflecting on the words of my dear friend brings back so many feelings. There are many emotions I have gotten familiar with over the past 4 months. I now have a better understanding of the phrase “emotional roller coaster.” We all have or will have experiences with grief and anger in our lives.  I wish I could protect my friends and family from this awful reality, but I can’t.  No one is exempt from anger. So tonight I find myself reflecting back on my experience with anger.

Anger seems to be the most destructive and difficult of the grief phases.  I’m pissed!  I’m mad at the universe for taking my Harrison.  I’m mad at myself for not having better intuition.  Don’t get me started on how mad I am at our old daycare provider. I’m mad at any parent that casually complains about everyday parenting stresses; as I would trade there challenging child with my situation in a heartbeat.  I’m  mad at myself for also having inpatient moments with Bennett and/or Jason. I’m mad at the innocent person describing their “bad day” which pails in comparison to losing a child.

These are all situations I have to live with and process daily.  This is my reality, and this is what I am learning as I process my experience with anger.

I believe anger is caused by our personal perception of a given situation. It doesn’t mean the “situation” is technically right or wrong.  However, if your perception of a situation, is that something is wrong or unfair, you will feel anger. So you are NEVER wrong for feeling anger. It’s your personal perception and you have a right to your opinion.

Having said that, there is no coincidence that anger is one letter away from danger.  When I’m angry it seems to negatively affect my soul, my job, and my relationships.  Face it, no one wants to hang out with a “Negative Nancy” even if your reasons for being negative are valid.  Additionally, the individual I was harboring anger towards was not negatively impacted. Therefore, I was gaining nothing positive from my anger.  And I hate not being productive!

So this is my recap, I have a right to feel angry (everyone does).  Being angry doesn’t fix anything or help anyone, including myself.  But I found I can’t control the feelings of anger or hide from them.  It IS going to happen. Bennett does not deserve to be raised by an angry Mom.  Jason does not deserve to have an angry spouse.  I do not want to live a life of uncomfortable, cold anger. So within days of losing Harrison I recognized I was going to have to learn to experience it, manage it, and move past it.

In fact, during our first counseling session after losing Harrison, Jason and I realized that we had a duty to honor Harrison, through a strong marriage, and providing a loving, caring environment to raise Bennett.  So my motivation was born for overcoming anger.  I put one foot in front of the other and decided I would replace my anger with spreading joy.  With time, the process of Harry’s Joy was created.

However, my struggle is not over.  With the help of Harry’s Joy and each passing hour, day, week, and month it becomes easier to process my anger.  When I feel angry I allow myself a few moments to vent and release.  Sometimes through screaming, crying, exercise, or talking with Jason and/or a close friend. Then I regroup and connect with my core motivation; Jason, Bennett and Harrison.  Then with one foot in front of the other, I force myself to do something positive.  Sometimes the task comes naturally but other times it feels like I am dragging my body through knee high mud.

This Monday another 28th occurred and another Harry’s Joy took place.  This month we delivered treats to the fire station.  Bennett spent the week decorating the box that contained the treats as well as discussing how we would make the firemen happy.   When we arrived at the fire station our box was reciprocated with a tour of the fire trucks.  Bennett got in the trucks, checked out the outfits, honked the horn, and gave each fire fighter a high five.  I feel like we ended up receiving the gift this month!

Thank you to everyone who is walking this mission with us.  The constant reminders of each act of kindness helps us walk our journey and focus on our key motivation.  I can’t express the appreciation I feel for the love and support that has surrounded over the last 4 months.  If you want complementary Harry’s Joy cards a list of pick-up location is here.


  
  

9 months

  
I can’t believe Harrison would be 9 months old on Monday.  I can’t help but ponder all the milestones we have missed.  I imagine how Harrison and Bennett would be able to interact at this point.  He has now been gone longer than he was alive.  I know it’s not productive to ponder things that are out of my control. Most the time I avoid pondering painful emotions.  However, when it comes to Harrison, he is worth it.

As this 9 month anniversary approaches I am once again thankful for the amazing distraction of Harry’s Joy.  During my time of anticipating  and enduring this birthdate I have something to keep me busy.  The positivity that I experience surprising someone with a random act of kindness is uplifting.  Plus the act of watching others honor Harrison in their own act of kindness is a wonderful reminder that we are not alone.  We are so blessed to have friends, family, and strangers that are willing to think of our sweet boy and do something kind for another.  So thank you all for joining our mission.

This weekend I have been home alone with Bennett as my husband plays in a golf tournament out of town.  We call lone parenting, survival mode.  I have focused on nothing except meeting Bennett’s needs.  I have to say I have enjoyed the weekend, and I have realized I envy my son’s spirit.

Today we took many walks.   During our walks he jumped in water puddles and when that wasn’t enough he bent over and splashed with his hands bringing mud upon his smiling face.

  

  He investigated each leaf on the sidewalk and collected his favorites.  He stopped to pick and blow every dandelion puff along the way.  

  
He found a butterfly and begged it to land on his arm. What I wouldn’t do to live in a mind that is constantly taking time to explore!  A mind that has no fear or schedule.  A mind completely engrossed with the task at hand, even if it shifts to a new task every 30 seconds!

I loved learning and consciously  observing Bennett’s

 naive spirit this weekend.  I promise I won’t start throwing myself down to the ground when I don’t get my way and I won’t protest MY TURN when there is a line at the grocery.  However, I’m going to try to multi task less, and live in the moment more; just like Bennett.

Daily Drama


So this week I had a “Mommy Moment.”  You know that moment when you are tired, your child is tired, you are in a hurry and your child is NOT!  It’s not a perfect moment.  For me, it’s typically in the mornings.  I’m a slow waker! Like, REALLY SLOW!!! It may be 8 am and I have been physically awake since 6am (or 5:30) but I’m really not “all there.”

elephant

One day this week I was knee deep in a morning rush.  Bennett was NOT having it!  He could care less that I had snoozed one extra time putting us on a tight schedule.  The day before he dressed himself.  However, this morning he was refusing to remove his “JJs” aka pajamas.

I tried all the tricks; giving him  choices, reverse psychology, bribery, and begging.   He didn’t care, he just cried.  So I proceeded to push my personal agenda.  I got him changed, packed his breakfast, brushed his teeth, collected his backpack while ignoring his whine the entire time.

By the time we got to the car I was ready for a nap!  Then Bennett insisted on getting in the car seat by himself, “I do it!”  So I let him do it alone.  But he proceeded to explore the entire backseat of the car.  Pointing out all his findings…. an umbrella, sunglasses, an ink pen, trash, etc.  My impatience  grew.  Now he is not only slowing me down, he is NOW pointing out my need to clean the car. I gave him a warning, “Bennett if your not in your seat by the count to three Mommy will help you. That’s 1!” He responded passionately,” NO help you.” (This is not a typo, he referred to himself as “you.”) So I said, “That’s 2….. That’s 3, Mommy helps!”  I put him in the car seat.

The next thing I know he is wailing, kicking, and screaming!  I am trying to restrain him into the car seat.  I felt horrible.  My Mommy’s guilt was kicking in.  I swear consequunes are more difficult on the disaplinarian than the child.

Then I start questioning myself.  Did I make the right choice?  He is buckled, I did make it to work on time, but I’m just irritated.  And I think of Harrison.  I think, what I wouldn’t do to add one more stress to this situation my adding Harrison in the mix.

I remember juggling two kids during this task just 4 months ago.  This was an absolute 3 ring circus.  Harrison HATED the car seat.  The second you clicked it into the car the screaming would begin.  This was a typical car loading routine.

1. Carry Harrison bundled in car seat along with two diaper bags, and my purse out into the garage while holding Bennett’s hands and persuading him to participate.

2. Open Bennett’s car door and encourage him to try to climb into his seat.

3. Carry Harrison around the car and place inside…. Crying begins.

4. Walk back to buckle Bennett in the car.  Simultaneously, he has now crawled into the front seat and is pretending to drive.


5. Walk to driver side and remove Bennett from car. Harrison still crying….

6. Fight Bennett into his car seat and buckle. Harrison and Bennett crying….

7. Return to Harrison, take car seat out of the car and jostle him to a calm state. Place him back in the car…. Crying resumes….

8. Get in drivers seat, turn on radio  and drowned out crying….


What I wouldn’t do to hear that cry again.  To feel that sense of completely overwhelmed and defeated.  All because I love those two boys and I will take chaos over their absence any day.

So today I am not seeking or recommending any parenting strategies.  In fact, I’m sure some child psychologist would have a hay day correcting my above parenting.  I am simply wanting to share. I think all parents would agree that parenting is Gosh Darn Hard!  But I know that most parents would agree it is worth it!

This week my plan is to survive the struggles and add more uninterrupted connecting time.  More time appreciating Bennett, encouraging him, absorbing him, and loving him.   His chaos is worth it!!!!

 

9/11

Today I can’t help but think about all the men and women who died on September 11th, 2001.  It seems like it was just last year but it was 14 years ago!    This year I consider that loss  differently.  Now, I have a new understanding for grief and loss.  I understand more clearly the pain so many experienced on that day.  So today I think of that loss much more intimately.

I now can imagine the shock and denial loved ones must have felt when they learned of the situation.   I somewhat know the journey they have all walked as they consider every imaginable situation that would avoid the loss of their loved ones, even though nothing reverses reality. I think of the men and women who were just at another day of work.  The children that were at a normal day of daycare.  The men and women who were just taking a routine flight.  All to end in a devastating, seemingly preventable, irreversible, act of horror.

But what I can’t imagine is the  anger they might have experienced knowing another human PLANNED this horrific event.  I know that I don’t understand this piece.

I also think about all the firefighters and police officers that marched bravely straight into the nucleus of the danger.  Instead of running screaming away from the scene, they loaded their bodies with gear and walked towards danger.  So many people were saved that day due to these heroic events.  I can imagine the unbelievable appreciation some loved ones must feel for getting there loved ones back.

So today I say thank you to all the heroes 14 years ago that helped so many people survive.  I also thank the police and firemen who protect us every day.  Thank you for your service.

It’s hard for me to imagine how I will feel 14 years after Harrison’s death.  Bennett will be driving by then!  Life feels so stagnate right now.  It seems like Harrison is still 4 months old.  I see Facebook posts of kids born after Harrison turning 6 months old.  Will Harrison always be 4 months old in my mind?  

This week on Facebook I saw the post announcing we were having a boy.  It’s hard to imagine this little man has already come and gone.

I remember laying with Harrison the weekend before he died and thinking,” I have EVERYTHING I need right in this house.” I was sleep deprived, stressed at work, and distant from my husband but I still remember feeling overwhelmingly appreciative for the amazing gifts in my life.  And now I am appreciative of these memories of graditude.

So here is my challenge to myself.  Parenting is hard.  Life is stressful.  But I will put mind over matter and BE Grateful!  Gratitude is not always an easy practice.  Gratitude is not just recognizing the good but spending time cultivating more good.

 
 I feel angry, tired, and frustrated. However, I will take time to recognized what I appreciate. Additionally, I will spend more time focusing my attention with what matters the most.  

My graditude starts with my amazing husband and both of my sons.  So this week I will put my phone down and spend more time absorbing my family.  I will multitask one less item to take in what my husband is saying.  I will serve dinner 10 minutes later because Bennett needs a hug and attention.  When I see a 4 month old baby that reminds me of Harrison, I will not turn away from the pain.  I will turn my heart to my Harrison and say, “I will always love you sweet baby boy.”

This was NOT Gods plan!

  

 Let me start off with a disclaimer.  I do not currently affiliate with any specific religion.  I also do not judge anyone else for their beliefs.  Christian, Jewish, Buddhist,  Agnostic, it makes no difference to me what  you believe.  I feel your spiritual journey is personal and influenced by your experiences, relationships, and the information you have received.  In my opinion, there is no right or wrong spiritual journey.  

When losing Harrison, I did not personally experience God.  I wondered how could this be God’s plan?  How could God’s grand plan include  taking our baby?  I was in a inner fight with God and wondering if he even existed.  I was appreciative of all the messages I received stating, “We are praying for you.” I would think to myself,  “Glad your praying, because I can not.” 

  
I tried reading a few spiritual books in the early days on grief, as we received many as gifts.  The first page usually talked about how you have a choice right now to embrace God or turn your back to his love.  I would close the book and turn my back, decision made.

If there is a God, why would he allow this to happen to our family.  What did we do wrong to deserve this? Or perhaps he knew we were strong enough to handle it, so he did it.  That angers me even more!!!  I’m handling this because I don’t have a another choice!  

But here is the challenge, I am struggling to believe in God,  but I need heaven.  I needed our Harrison’s soul to be in a better place.  A place with angels or something nice.  His heaven would probably have lots of boobs to nurse and angels willing to bounce him on exercise balls and take him for walks.  His boots and bar would be off and he would kick and roll freely!  It’s  a place I can eventually join and hold him again.  A place where he is at peace.

Then to make matters more confusing, after Harrison passed, we experienced his presence.  We had multiple lights bulbs blow out in the house.  Our smoke alarm would chirp in Harry’s room and then stop suddenly without changing the battery.  So there must be an afterlife.

And then there were the rainbows!  We selected Somewhere Over the Rainbow as Harrison’s song.   I saw 4 rainbows the week after his passing one was a double full rainbow.  I had never seen this in my life!  It was magnificent!

  

  
While I didn’t want to believe in God, I was experiencing Harrison’s spirit often.  Where is his spirit?  Is he alone?  Is he with me?  Or is he with this so called God?  The God who “planned” his death.  Ugh, I continued to ponder my questions.

  One night, I was laying in Bennett’s room trying to get him to sleep.  The room was dark and with only the constant shush of a sound machine.  I heard a clear calm child’s voice, “mommy.”  It sounded different than Bennett’s voice.  It interrupted my personal thought.   It was so loud and clear.  I didn’t have to strain to hear it.  I opened my eyes and looked around.  The room was dark and Bennett was asleep.  Did I dream it?  But I’m awake.  I lay my head back down, “mommy.”  It happened again.  “Who is that?”  I’m not controlling this. I heard it 7 more times.  I realized it was Harrison, so I closed my eyes and listened again.  But I couldn’t make it happen on my own will. I got up and walked into Harrison’s room and I said out loud, “It’s ok to go Harrison.  I love you!  I will see you again.  Go be at peace sweet baby boy!  We will be ok.  There are good people up there Granny, PaBob, Grandma Stratton, Grandpa Bob, Grandma Alice, and Jason Coale.  They will help you.”

And that was it.  I have not heard him or experienced him again.  I believe he made his way to heaven.  I think of him constantly and I remember him and honor him, but I don’t believe his spirit is on Earth.  He is in Heaven.  And I will hold him again when I get there.

So…how do you live at peace in a mind experiencing these extreme thoughts?  I am experiencing Harrison’s spirit but rejecting God.  Because his “plan” sucks.  I know I’m far from perfect in Gods eyes, but was I soooo awful I deserved to lose my baby??

Then my Father In Law mailed us a book “Why Bad Things Happen to Good People.” He then sent us a note stating, read the last chapter first.  So I did.  

Here is what I learned and what makes the most sense right now.  God does not plan the bad in this world.  He hates it just like we do.  However he does support us through the bad. When the unimaginable strikes, he gives you the strength to get through.  For today, this thought makes me a little more open to God.  So I will sit on that thought.

I do believe the process of Harry Joy has already touched many people.  I believe the idea of Harry’s Joy may be Gods plan.  I believe I am less selfish having experienced Harrison’s loss.  I have found a strength I didn’t know I possessed and clarity about life’s priorities.  If I could trade all these insights to bring Harrison back, I would!  But I can’t!  Nothing will bring him back.  So I will wait until I see him again in  Heaven.

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