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Remember the 28th

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

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Infant loss

Out Numbered

 My husband and I learned quickly that there are many challenges to having a barely two year old and a newborn.  While pregnant with Harrison, I remember tending to Bennett’s needs after a night time waking.  I specifically remember positioning my 7 month pregnant body on the floor in front of of our almost 2 year old’s crib, while holding my son’s hand through the slats.  My arm was numb, my hips ached, and I laid there imagining how I would soon have an ADDITIONAL child needing  my attention.  I was stressing, “How will I handle this situation after the new baby arrives?  How do I continue to maintain the attention our two year old is accustom to receiving and now DEMANDS, plus meet the needs of a new baby?” While I didn’t know how.. I came to the conclusion that I am not the first parent to have two kids, two years apart.  Other people have figured this out….  So it must be possible???


Once Harrison arrived, I still feared my alone time with both boys.  I was fine with one, but how do I handle two?  I would be out numbered!  Luckily it was a few weeks before I had to manage two babies alone.  The day arrived spontaneously.  Bennett decided to jump off the couch.  He landed weird on his leg and wouldn’t walk.   We iced the leg and gave him some Tylenol.  I was confident he would be fine in the morning.  Morning came and he was still not putting weight on his leg.  UGH!!!  I can’t take him to daycare if he can’t walk!  He needed to see a doctor and Jason had to do go work.  So I was suddenly thrown into my first “survival mode,”  aka. first day alone with both boys.

First stop, the ER! I was pretty much a pack mule.  I had a diaper bag, purse, stroller, infant car seat, my coat, Bennett’s coat, hats, scarves, mittens, infant car seat cover, the WORKS!   Harrison decided he needed to be nursed right as we walk in the waiting room.  I am attempting to take my coat off and cover myself.  Right when we got into position, they called us back to see the doctor. Perfect timing!!!  Ugh!

They take Bennett’s vitals and I resume nursing in the patient room.  We wait a few moments and the doctor comes back.  He exams Bennett’s leg, no discomfort!  He asks Bennett to try to walk.  He hops out of the chair and walks normally across the room and back….. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!!  He is fine!!  Yup!  He was magically fine!  So we load up everything we own and head back to the car where I was finally able to finish nursing Harrison.

This was just the first hour of my first “survival mode.”  But honestly, we figured it out.  Harrison’s nursing was interrupted all day, but he survived!  I required Bennett to practice patience a few times, but he survived.  I enjoy happiness, stress, love, anxiety, delight, and I survived! 🙂  One of my favorite moments was when I had both babies crying.  So I loaded everyone up in a rocking chair (Harrison in the Bjorn) and rocked them both to sleep.  I was so proud of my accomplishment. 🙂  And it felt wonderful to have both of my sweet babies filling my lap and overflowing my heart!
Aug 28th is next Friday!  We will be doing random acts of kindness to honor Harrison.  Feel free to join us!  If you participate please go to the Harry’s Joy Facebook page and post your act!  Please tag your post with #harrysjoy28 so we can follow along!  We appreciate all of your support.  Watching Harry’s Joy grow is very therapeutic in our healing process!

 

Dear Harrison

  Tonight is Friday night. TGIF, right? The marker of the work week ending and family time beginning.  For the past 6 weeks it has also been the weekly anniversary Harrison’s journey to a pure land.  I have moments where the sadness is absolutely suffocating.  It feels physically heavy as it sits on my chest and neck.  The tears flow, giving me room to breathe once again. No matter how many negative thoughts or emotions I feel, I ultimately continue to come to the same conclusion.  Nothing will bring back our baby so I MUST honor him every day of my life, as I will ALWAYS be his Mommy.

Tonight I took a step back to remember our promise to Harrison.  To refocus my mind and attention on our purpose as parents.  Jason and I wrote this letter to our sweet baby the week after his passing.  The minister read the letter during Harrison’s Memorial service but tonight we would also like to share this letter with the world.

Dear Sweet Harrison,

Our sweet baby boy, while your life was way too short it was your full life.  You had meaning and purpose just the same as someone who had the luxury to live ninety plus years.  Your memory and purpose will bless this world forever.

When we think of you, we think of joy.  You taught us that infants are enjoyable.  Thank you for your smiles, every single one of them.  The warmth we felt while holding you in our arms, filled us with joy.  We looked forward to the moments we could hold you closely and rock.  Life with you was constant, but constantly beautiful.

Thank you for showing us your brother’s compassion.  While I know he scared you the first few weeks of your life, with time, you began to seek his attention.  Words can’t express the joy it brought us to see the two of you together.  Buddies for life!  Bennett never demonstrated jealousy, only compassion and interest towards you.

We have learned a lot about grief in the past 7 days with the help and support of counselors, friends, and family.  We understand that losing a child is different from losing any other kind of loved one.  We have been told that people never fully recover from the loss of a child.  We have been informed that marriage and parenting after a trauma like your loss can be difficult.  Harrison, we promise you, we will not let your death haunt our family.  Today and forever, we will honor you through our marriage and our parenting.  We will show patience and compassion in your honor.  Through you, we will find strength to make a legacy in your honor.

We love you sweet baby boy.

Mommy and Daddy

Carry Harry

June 4th, 2015 was the last day of my previous life. On June 5th, 2015 a series of events took imageplace that led to the loss of our beautiful, healthy, happy baby boy, Harrison. Due to this loss, I am forever a different person.  My perception of life is forever different. I often ache to return to my previous life. I squirm to find ways to undo the past. I bargain with the universe to give me just 10 more minutes to hold him in my arms. However, I know, no amount of time will be enough. Logically I understand, I can’t turn back time.

It has been a month since we lost Harrison. As time passes, his memories stay stagnant. It doesn’t feel right. How can this world just move on without him? How can I move on without him? How can his Daddy and brother move one without him? The answer is… we don’t! We have to change for good. We are now different people.

image

We have received so many kind words of support over the past month. The words that give me the most comfort are, “I often think of Harrison.” Or “I will always remember Harrison when….” Prior to experiencing this time of grief I never understood what someone might want to hear. For me, this is helpful.

I am a Pinterest Mommy. I love finding fun ideas to enjoy time with my kiddos! I love seeing other Mommy’s creative ideas. There is no mess I am afraid of… Everything cleans up (or doesn’t… who cares?). It is the memories that you make during the process that imagecount. One of my first Pinterest projects with my boys was to take monthly milestone photos on their monthly birth anniversary. I loved to watch them grow! I loved to look back at the photos. It was fun for me! And it was a process. Harrison’s birthday was Jan 28th. On June 28th, after Harrison’s passing, I looked at the calendar….I had no process. I ached for him to be in my arms.

So I need a new “process”, people! Not just any process. I don’t want to resume life like he never happened. He DID happen! His life MATTERS, even if it was shorter than most. What imageprocess can I start to honor him and carry his spirit? I would prefer to carry him in my arms, but I don’t have that choice. So I will numbingly carry his spirit and start a new process. I hope with time the “process” will become beautiful, therapeutic, joyful, and happy.

So here is my idea…. On the 28th of each month Jason, Bennett, and myself will continue to finish Harrison’s milestone photos with random acts of kindness. I will photograph our project with the chalkboard to represent Harrison’s milestone. I will blog about our journey, and continue to share memories of Harrison’s life. I have no clue what the “acts of kindness” will be.   However, I hope we can spread the joy that Harrison brought us. I hope we can continue to teach his brother compassion and imagecaring, which he was learning from having Harrison in his life.

Feel free to join in! Start your own “random act of kindness” on the 28th of each month.  Let’s make the 28th GREAT! (Or pick a different day, any day will do!) There are no rules! Money is not required! Extensive time is not required. Complicated processes are not required. Give a compliment, give a tip, donate toys, donate clothes, make cookies for a neighbor, pick flowers for someone, give a hug, visit a nursing home…. Get your kids involved. And most of all, promise, to remember our Harrison when you do it! That is the best gift you can give us!

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