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Monday, November 28, 2011

What an awesome Thanksgiving We Had!!

That felt good to share my journal entries with you. I have a journal I kept after my babies went to be with Jesus and I am not yet ready to share those thoughts with you, I was definitely in a different place all together.

So, I might go as far to say that this Thanksgiving was the best I have ever had. Last year was wonderful because I had Thomas, but this one will forever be special to me. First off, I took off the whole week of Thanksgiving. I wanted to spend time with my little family while Paul is off and do lots of fun stuff. It is important to me to make memories with my son and husband.  On Friday, I found out that this amazing woman I work with Jo Ann had somehow managed to get us 3 U of H game tickets. So, on Saturday, November 19, Paul, Jerry, and I went to the game and had a great time. The game was sold out and had the highest attendance ever in the history of the stadium. It was a fantastic day and a great time. I can't thank Jo Ann enough for her kindness, she truly blessed us!

Sunday, we went to church, Thomas wore his special turkey shirt made by Becca Smith!! Paul worked in the nursery and I was able to hear a great sermon that seemed like the pastor was talking directly to me, I love those days. Sunday School was even better, I love working with the youth department. Afterwards, we went to Paul's favorite restaurant, Red Lobster! He was in heaven. Thomas loved it too. That evening, I went to see THE HELP at the dollar movies with my mom, what a great movie that was!

On Monday, we went to JCPennys to see our favorite photo girl Claudia to have our Christmas cards done! They were running a special that ended on Tuesday, so we were able to squeeze a session in. Then, I went to my post-op appt for my recent oral surgery and it took all of one minute! I decided I like dentists/oral surgeons more than regular doctors because they don't ever weigh you!

On Tuesday, we headed up to my work to say hello and then we went to the zoo. It had rained earlier, but it turned out to be a gorgeous day and hardly anyone was at the zoo. I got some great pics of Paul and Thomas together. I love taking pictures of them! 

Wednesday, I started cooking, cleaning, etc..  Paul was busy doing man stuff after he drove to pick up his Nana and Papa for Thanksgiving. I love cooking for special events, I think it is so fun. I had everything ready so that I just had to pop it in the oven in the morning for about an hour! We went to see Thomas' first movie today. We saw THE MUPPET'S. Paul and I both loved the Muppet's growing up, so we thought this would be the perfect movie! Thomas liked it, but he loved the stairs in the theater a little more and loved climbing up and down. Paul chased him all night and then, we went home and relaxed a bit before the big day.

Thursday, we ate Thanksgiving lunch at Paul's Aunt Celinda and Uncle Rick's house. The food was great, but the company was even better. I love Nana, she is like my own grandmother, full of wisdom and goodness. I could listen to her talk all day. We got lots of great pictures of Thomas with his cousins Hannah and Mason! After letting our food digest a bit, we left and I went home to cook the food for my family get-together at 6:00.  My family meets at the Deer Park Fire Hall every Thanksgiving and I love it. The food, family, friends, decor, smells, laughter, all of it, I love. But, I really enjoy the BINGO! We have so much fun playing this game as a family. This year, I pulled the numbers and called them out. I had a blast. It is fun to watch a 60+ year old person get so excited over winning BINGO! After BINGO was over, I did something I swore I would never do again,  I went to Black Friday (really Thursday) at Toys R Us with Paul. We had an absolute blast. I am done shopping for all the children I buy for at Christmas, even Thomas. Paul and I are a good shopping team and we are both able to talk each other out of a purchase that we really don't need. We were both so excited after we finished, so we went home to our baby, but none of us could fall asleep! I stopped for a minute and thanked God because I felt so good, so happy, so excited, so ready for the holidays! I love this time of year. It has been a couple of years since I could say that and mean it. Thank you God for renewing my heart and giving me REAL joy again.

I had a hard time getting up and moving on Friday, but after doing a few loads of laundry, a nap with Thomas, and some cleaning, we packed our bags and headed to Danbury, Tx to enjoy Thanksgiving fun with the Reim family. I feel so blessed to call this family my friends. They are simply put-true examples of the love of Christ. We had a wonderful, relaxing, emotional, unexpected blessed time. Paul and I already talked about next year and how we are going to get there bright and early on Friday morning next time because we didn't really want to leave when we did. All different branches of the family were there and it was a place so full of love. All different races present, an array of ages present, and a plethora of good people. We made crafts, watched movies, watched a cute talent show put on by the kiddos, ate great food, had lots of hot chocolate, sat out by the bonfire, great conversations, caught up with old friends, and the list goes on. I enjoyed meeting a lot of new people and I really enjoyed catching up with long-time friend Rachel Hunt. I have missed her friendship. We never had a falling out or anything, we just got busy with different activities in high school and were in different circles of friends, but she is still an amazing woman! I loved watching her now as a wife and a mother, she truly loves her little family and I am so glad I was able to spend time with her. I talked lots to Lana and Misty and their families as well. Their parents are incredible! I went up to the Lodge not knowing what to expect, but I was truly blessed. The family had befriended a Vietnamese family that had overcome some huge obstacles. Last year at this time, the young mother was fighting for her life after a severe traumatic brain injury, she was pregnant at the time, so her little girl that was born very premature was in the NICU, and the husband was being stretched as thin as possible between the two. They had just moved here to Houston and had no family. Misty's mother-in-law was their baby's nurse and she became close to them and then all the family started loving and helping out this family. Long story short, this mother defied all the odds and proved to be a living miracle and is now walking after they told her she would not. She is talking, joking, holding her baby girl, she is smiling, breathing on her own, she is ALIVE. Through all of this, the family has come to know the Lord and Phong, the husband shared their story and pictures of their journey. I was so touched. I told them that I want to be doing this same thing next year, I want to be telling them of the new liver I have received and all that God has done for me in my life. Then, Misty asked if they could pray for us. My heart was so touched. The Reims raised some wonderful kids. I was moved to tears as they prayed for me and my family. I could hear how Misty really did put herself in my shoes and she prayed the same way I pray, I don't want to leave my baby without a mom. Then, to hear Lana pray and hurt for others. It is so comforting to know that people like this really do exist, people full of goodness. Both Patti and Martin Reim prayed as well and shortly after, we had to head back home on Saturday night. I left with a little extra pep in my step, I could feel how their prayers had lifted my spirits, I am so blessed. I can't wait until next Thanksgiving!

Sunday, we went to church and Paul taught the lesson. It was a great lesson with good analogies. We brought breakfast for the kiddos and then we ran a few errands. I had to get home to take a nap because I have to work tonight. I had a wonderful week off and my body, mind, and especially my soul feel renewed. I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday as well.

Words From My Journaling

I found my journal from my pregnancy with the twins. I thought I would share:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

    First morning in the hospital after being admitted yesterday. First, I feel so blessed to have Dr. Rowe as my doctor- I am amazed that there is even a doctor like him in existence. I feel so loved after all of the friends and family that came by to see me. ( Mom, Dad, Tricia, Karina, John Emerick,  Pawpaw, Heather, Susan, Booley, Tricia H, Kim, Susan, Deb, Karen, Celinda, Rick, Kay, Mary, Dee Anne, Jerry, Billy and Danny). I want my boys to meet this amazing family I have and love.
     Jamie Hodges told Karen to have me read Psalm 91 today. She must really be close to the Lord because it is exactly what I needed to read.
* I do dwell in the shelter of the Most High
*I will rest in the shadow of the Almighty
*He will and does always save me-even though I don't deserve it
*I wand to find refuge under His loving wings
*His faithfulness is my shield
*I want to dwell in the Most High
*He will guard me in all my ways
*Because I love Him-He will rescue me
*He will protect me

How can God love me so much that he wants to do all of these things for me?  I am so happy that I know Christ as my Savior- I want Him to use me and my twins for His glory. I may not even understand why I have to work so hard or fight for things, but I know God is preparing me for something amazing. He has blessed me with a family like no other and friends that make me feel loved and special. I love my husband, aunts, uncles, cousins, mom, dad, brother, sister, and niece so much. Pawpaw continues to surprise me and love me-he is such a good man. Lord- thank you for giving me such a strong support group to love and care for me. you know my needs and you understand how much I need people. You are my strength Lord- I GIVE MY BABIES TO YOU AND MY HEALTH TO YOU LORD- You know the plan and I trust in Your plan for my life because ultimately my life is Yours. (Can you believe I really wrote these exact words in my journal?)
Lord- Thank you for Paul- I know I am hard on him and expect a lot, but he is really stepping it up here lately and I appreciate him. I am so glad that Jerry and DeeAnne were here for him when he needed them. I am sorry for being selfish sometimes and putting him on guilt trips. I keep thinking that these are your babies Lord and You are trusting us to take care of them here on earth. Thank you so much for Dr. Rowe-words can't express how I feel about him. He is one person that is definitely doing exactly what you asked him to do with his life. Please protect him and keep him safe, strong, and healthy.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Lord, thank you for another day of babies in my belly. Thank you for letting them move inside of me. I don't know how your mother ever let you hand on that cross-I can't even begin to imagine her agony. I love my little boys so much and Jesus you were perfect-I know Mary loved you so much. I don't want my little guys to experience pain, much less death. I guess God knew what He was doing when He chose Mary, she has strength beyond human capacity.
Psalm 90,92, and 93
He is my Rock! God-Your works are great.
The Lord Reigns
The Lord is Mighty

Visitors yesterday- Heather B, Heather S, Marty S, Mom, Dad, Rick, Celinda, Susan M, Karen,Weldon Eubanks, Cotton, Pastor Rob, John. People that called Pree, Judy, KeaShawn, Pawpaw, Kay, Kim, Tricia H, Robby, and more)

My prayers:
Please be with Kea Shawn as she looks for a job and interviews today. Thank you for all of your many blessings in my life. I love you so much Lord. Thank you for loving me- I pray for all those people who don't know you. Please help me spread your love to them. Please perform a miracle in the cord of my babies-I know you are in the miracle business.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Guess what? It looks like I may get to see my beloved Bruschi this morning, which brings a big smile to my face. I know God blessed me with my dogs. My room looks lovely this morning with two beautiful flower bouquets my brother brought by last night.  My wonderful nurse from last night brought in two vases for the flowers-her name is Christy. The nurses here have been amazing! Thank you Lord for such wonderful, caring nurses that are taking care of me. Lots of people have been calling and are praying for me. I will pray that God can use this situation to honor and glorify Him and further His kingdom.  God-thank you so much for my Aunt Tricia- she truly is Your vessel. I feel I have so much to learn from her yet. She is like my "Christian mother," teaching me how to live a life that reflects Christ in all that I say and do.  She is a true gift in my life. She called ALL the people invited to the baby shower last night, which took a grand load off of my shoulders.
Today, I am going to read a scripture passage that my boss Kathy Schock sent me. I feel God places scripture on people's heart to share with me.
Philippians Chapter 4
*Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS
*Do not be anxious about anything
*Be content in any and every situation
*God will meet all my needs

In all situations and experiences we go through, God is always teaching us and growing us. I have been sitting here the past few days wondering what it is that God is teaching me. The funny thing is that there is no way for me to know that God's plan is right now, but my desire it to continue growing closer and closer to Him.

My prayer today is when the Bennett's arrive, please allow Paul time with his family to fellowship and gather strength from them. Thank you for all of the many blessings in my life and help me Lord to stay positive with my eyes on You alone.

Visitors from yesterday: Heather B., Mom, John E., Tricia, Karen, Neill, Celinda, and The Lyles.

D-DAY Sunday, November 8, 2009

Yesterday proved to be a little more trying for me. I gained 3 lbs of fluid, which makes breathing and getting around so much harder. Throughout the day it was mainly time with Paul and my mom and brother. A burst of visitors came by all at the same time in the evening. It make my night that Kim Culpepper's mom came by to see me- I know she is a prayer warrior. I had a few episodes of not being able to breath yesterday, which is quite scary. I feel sorry for people who have to live like this day by day.

Visitors from yesterday: John, Rhonda C, Jerry and DeeAnne Bennett, Mary B, Pawpaw, Kay W, Deb, Susan, Russell, Nina, Mom, Bruschi, and Paul.

Psalm 46
* God is my refuge and strength, He is my ever-present help in trouble
*I will not fear
*Be still and know that He is God
*God is my fortress

-Dr. Rowe is here it do my ultrasound, be back later!

**As you know, my ultrasound showed that Jacob's heart had stopped beating and Benjamin was in trouble. I has an emergency C-Section and my life was forever changed that day...

These writings are word-for-word out of my journaling.. It is weird how God was preparing me, but I truly never saw it coming.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Finding out I had the "C" word

Let me clear-up one thing before I start this new blog. All the comments said to me during my grieving process, I knew in the back of my head that everyone meant well and had good intentions, I simply wanted to let people know how certain comments made me feel. Having a baby die is different than other experiences of grief. What I mostly felt was loved throughout this long road. I have been truly blessed with the most wonderful family, friends, co-workers, church friends, and the list goes on. I only want to help you out if you ever have someone close to you go through a loss of a baby. I have always been the person that likes to help out others in times of need, but I found myself needing others and I was blessed to have tons of support.

     Okay, so I always run into people who ask me when I am going to talk about my diagnosis. It is still hard for me to say it. I practice saying it in the mirror, because it still really doesn't feel like this is my life. This summer was busy. My doctor had asked me to have an MRI and EGD done at my appt in May. I put it off for a while, I guess I was nervous. You know when deep in your gut you know something is wrong in your body, well, I had that intuition, but I kept it completely to myself. I had been experiencing a lot of pain on my right upper quadrant of my abdomen, lots of nausea/vomiting, I had been having lots of diarrhea, and I felt more tired than I ever have before. No one seemed to notice because I am the world's greatest at hiding my hurt. The only person I know of that caught on the my game recently was my cousin Lisa. We were at my second cousin's birthday party and I was in a lot of pain and she said something to me. She asked if I was okay and I treated her like she was crazy for asking, I lied and said I was fine. I guess all of her years as a nurse taught her how to spot a person in pain, or maybe she has figured me out. She married my cousin Robby, and I hope he knows what a jewel he married that day. I know she loves me and I can trust her fully. Just about a year ago, she knocked on my door in tears. She came to me and she told me that her mother had been diagnosed with lung cancer. When you are a nurse, you know there are certain diagnosis that you never want to hear. I cried right along with her and then she asked me a question that made me realize one of the reasons I went through the loss of my babies. She asked me," How do you plan a funeral, how do you survive it?"  I told her that I didn't know, but somehow you just get through it, God helped me through it, Paul helped me through it. Lisa has no idea how special she made me feel that she came and told me and let me console her, I needed to be on the other side of grieving. I wanted to give back to all the people that helped me, people like Lisa. I want to let you know that her mother is doing amazing and had surgery to remove the lung that had cancer and she is running around Pasadena looking cuter than ever. Lisa is a wonderful daughter, mother, wife, cousin, sister, friend, nurse, person, I could go on. I am so happy that Lisa has her mother with her for another Christmas and I am sure they will spend many more holidays together.

     Okay, I keep avoiding it, I hate that I have this. Summer was busy and I kept avoiding the MRI, but I finally answered one time when St. Luke's called to schedule my appts. I scheduled them for July 15 for my MRI and July 21 for my EGD. I always joke with my doctor that I will keep doing what he asks until he tells me I have to have a colonoscopy.  I went for my MRI, and it seemed to take a long time, this always makes me nervous. I left and the radiology technician told me my results would be with Dr. Ankoma-Sey by Monday. When I saw my doctor on Thursday before he did my EGD, I asked him about my MRI, he told me that it must have been great because I hadn't received a call from him. I was put to sleep and when I woke, I felt good, my EGD was normal, so my mom and I left and we went to lunch and then home. We started getting everything ready for my brother's wedding. We were flying out on July 28th, John's birthday is July 29th, and his wedding is July 30! I  was busy getting clothes washed and I had to work on Monday and Tuesday before we were scheduled to fly out. On Tuesday, July 26, 2011, our sweet secretary at work overhead paged me to say that I had a call at the nurses station. I walked up and picked-up the phone expecting to get report from the PACU on my patient, but it was Dr. Ankoma-Sey's nurse and she said, "Mrs. Bennett, Dr. Ankoma-Sey is on the line and needs to speak to you, I am hanging up." This huge lump swelled up in my throat and I don't know if this makes any sense, but I tried not to hear. I knew when the doctor himself called, it was NEVER GOOD NEWS. He is from Ghana, Africa and he told me the news in his sweet accent. So, in front of a ton of people, I heard him say it, but I made him say it twice. He told me I had liver cancer and I told him there was no way he could know that, I want a biopsy. He said that he did know it and a biopsy was out of the question and that I needed to have some tests done to clear me so I could be added to the Liver Transplant list. I told him that he told me my MRI was okay this past Thursday, he must have called the wrong patient. He said I had to have a chext x-ray, metastatic bone scan, and chest CT done, if all of these were free of cancer, I could be placed on the list. My knees had failed me for the second time, they got all wiggley, I needed air. Hey EVERYONE, stop working, please slow-down, someone help me. Carmen knew something was wrong by my reaction, but she never gets into anyone elses business.  Roxanne, a very godly woman I work with knew something was up as well. I scheduled the tests for the next day, Wednesday, because I was flying to Los Angeles on Thursday. I would see Dr. Ankoma-Sey when I returned on Wednesday, August 2. Dates have always been important to me, I can remember all of these dates like my own birthdate. It is weird, the things I fixate on. I quietly walked down to an empty room, room 713 and I called Paul. He listened and then said something I now think funny because he didn't know what to say. He said, "you really need to eat better?" I was like, HUH? Did you just hear me, I have cancer in my liver, I have a baby, I have plans, I am scared, I don't want to die, I need you, why is this happening, can you call and see if they called the right person, don't tell my brother-I don't want to ruin his wedding. All these thoughts, Paul quickly realized that he just said whatever popped in his head and he apologized and then comforted me and asked a lot of questions, questions I didn't have the answers to. I kept hearing something my doctor had said, he had not expected me to get cancer so soon, I am so young. I called my mom and sister next, then Karen and Neill. I needed Neill to tell me how he could know I had cancer without a biopsy. He explained things to me and I wanted to know why I wasn't yellow. Am I going to lose my hair? I know that seems so vain, but I have felt my head before and I know it is shaped funny. My mind was racing. I got myself together and then I went and completed my work day. I was able to act like nothing had happened, but I told Roxanne because she knew something was up and she has continued to check on my daily and bless me with her kindness. I texted my friend Kelly Bircher, because she only texts, but she called me right back and had a ton of questions. She is a super nurse and immediately was getting a plan together on how we were going to attack this thing. We have an unspoken bond, a common nursing philosophy, we both believe EVERYONE deserves great care, that is why she is saving tons of lives as a lifeflight nurse, I am so proud of her for going after her dream and succeeding.
    What was I supposed to do now? I went for my tests the next day with my sister and since they were ordered stat, we had the results within an hour. NO CANCER IN MY BONES or LUNGS, but I had some nodules in my thyroid and a spot on my ovary. More appts in my future I could foresee. I love my sister, she handled all the insurance stuff for me and she is a ROCK. She never lets me down. I was quiet for a few days, I wasn't sure how I felt. This is something I only recently shared with those I am closest to. The thing I struggle with the most is prayer. How and what do I pray for? I was really frank with God. I had prayed since I was in junior high to never have to be like my dad when it came to my health, I had asked God to never let me have to be dependent on medication or have to go to the doctor much. Then, I get diagnosed with an autoimmune illness and I am told I will have to take medication for the rest of my life, great. Then, I had prayed for my babies, everyday, I prayed for them to live. Then, my babies died. If I pray for healing or for a new liver, or for a miracle, will God do the opposite yet again? These are my real thoughts people, I ask God lots of tough questions because I treat Him like my father. You can ask my brother and sister, I have never been afraid to ask my dad tough questions. My dad probably wishes I wasn't so bold, but I know he loves me just like God loves me, unconditionally. You see, I want God to answer my prayers the way I tell Him to answer them, I realized I am selfish and a little ignorant. God knows so much more than me and His ways are better. He sees the whole picture. I have come to terms with my mortality, I feel the freedom of knowing I am saved by the blood of Christ, I look forward to being reunited with my sons, I realize that I do not know the best plan, I only know my desires. I desire to live, to love, to watch my son grow into a man, I want to continue to forgive people, I want to give compassionate nursing care to others, I want to see Karina get married and become a mother, I want to see Paul achieve all the dreams he has, I want to own a horse, I want to retire someday, I want to do random acts of kindness in the name of Jesus, I want to go to Hawaii, I want to complete my bucket list. I always joke with my family that if I ever go to the doctor and then immediately after plan a trip to Hawaii, I am dying. I want to see that crazy island before I leave this earth. It may sound silly or little, but I want to eat fresh pineapple and run in the water, taste the ocean water, lay in a hammock, see a volcano, walk on hot coals, hula dance, and I could go on forever. In my next post, I want to tell you how I now know that I actually prayed for cancer without knowing that was what I was praying for. You see, my cancer is an answered prayer, a gift if you will.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Things You Should Never Say to a Grieving Mother

   I am redoing this post because I may have hurt people's feelings with the original post, and that was not my intention. So, let me clear-up a few things before I start. I mentioned that ministers and people that were trained professionals said some really hurtful comments. What I meant by mentioning that was this: don't expect ministers to always know the right thing to say, just because they went to school doesn't mean they know how to deal with every situation. Lots of mothers that experienced a loss like I did have stopped going to church because a minister hurt their feelings by saying something that hurt them. I would never want someone to stop going to church, my Sunday School group really helped me heal after the boys died, and they are still a place of strength and support for me. All the people that said things to me that hurt my feelings had good intentions, they were trying to comfort me. The point of this is to help people in the future if they run across someone going through a loss like this. I can't tell you how therapuetic this blog is for me, it is as if when I write these things down, I am releasing all the anger, pain, and sadness that I have been holding on to for the past two years. The two year anniversary just passed, I can't believe it has been that long, I still cry in the shower for them, that is my safe place to grieve.
     There are five things that really stuck out to me that hurt my heart.

 1.  "Babies die every day, get over it." More than one person said this where I could hear, or said it to me, or they said just one half of this quote. They would remind me that babies die all the time, or they would tell me I needed to get over it. When I would hear this, I would think that yes babies do die every day, but not my babies. I have never experienced something like this and I was trying to move forward, I don't know if I will ever "get over it." I would never tell a grieving child that "mothers die everyday," because even if the mother they were grieving for was 100 years old, it is still that person's mother. We never want to lose the ones we love. Death is hard, period.
 2.  "If you were a good Christian, you would be happy your babies were dead and with Jesus," I really don't think this comment needs much explanation, but I believe all Christians to be good. I would challenge that person to switch places with me and lose their children, then they could tell me if they were happy. I know that this experience helped bring me closer to Jesus and treat Him like He really was my father. I finally had strong emotions towards Him and I talk to Jesus so much more now. I will never say I am HAPPY my babies died, it would be a lie.
 3. "You are so lucky, you have two little angels in heaven looking out for you."  Now, I honestly know that these people were being very kind to me, but I wanted my babies and still want my babies here on earth, not flapping around somewhere in the heavens. I never felt lucky that they died, it still brings me great sadness. I never really knew what to say to someone that said that to me. I would just remind myself that I might have said this same statement before my babies died.
 4. "This is all part of God's great plan for you."  I know that God has His plan and that He knew when I was in my mother's womb what would happen, however, these words brought me NO comfort. If I wasn't a believer, I am afraid these words would have pushed me away from Him. Once again, I must say that I knew people were trying to be nice, so I wouldn't get mad at the person, but it would actually make me a little madder at God. I would constantly talk to Him about His plan for me. What else did He have in store for me? At the time, I only believed there would be more pain in my future. At the time, it was really hard to find the "silver lining."
 5. "Trina, I am so SORRY." For me, this phrase made me very uncomfortable because the natural response to this phrase is, "it's okay," but it wasn't okay. I usually thought in my head, "why are you sorry?" I didn't understand why this had happened, and the only person I wanted to hear "I'm sorry," from was God. I needed Him to tell me that He was sorry. I know that God is not sorry and even now I can see how He was laying out the framework for my future, but I was hurting so much. Now, I never tell anyone that has lost someone that I am sorry. I tell them that I hurt for them and that I am praying for them, especially for healing of their heart.

    While there were lots of things that hurt my feelings, there were also lots of wonderful, thoughtful things done for us. We received tons of homemade meals. Paul's Aunt Celinda made us several meals after the funeral and then all the time during my pregnancy with Thomas. Paul's sister also cooked a few meals for us to help me out. One person in particular that touched my heart was Ann Fillipinni, I think the spelling is right! She is my Aunt Kay's boss and the leader of the Mother's Day Out Program at First Presbyterian Church where Thomas now attends. She made us a meal and gave me the sweetest card. She never had even met me, but she had heard through my aunt and felt the need to reach out to me. I told her when I signed Thomas up for her program that I wanted him to be around people like her that did such a great job of sharing the love of Jesus with others.
    My cousin that I talk about all the time Karen has a wonderful boyfriend, Neill. Neill is a doctor and always helps to explain things to me on my level and explain why a doctor might order certain tests, especially when I start getting scared. Neill was at the hospital all the time during the boys birth and short life. He helped me with so many questions and I kept thinking how lucky his patients are when they have to receive bad news because Neill is so kind-hearted and he really cares for people. He is very gentle and soft, yet he is a man's man at the same time. He has experienced two significant losses in his life as well. It was like, he understood me and he just stayed close. He came over almost every day with my cousin and he would just sit with me. He knew I didn't need to be alone. He knew that when I was alone, those bad thoughts starting creeping in and the crying would become uncontrollable. He sang my favorite worship song at the funeral. He sang it so beautifully, I hugged him for a long time after that song, he touched my heart. I am so glad that he uses the gifts that God gave him to help others. He is one of those people that is good at everything he does. I am thankful that my cousin picked such a wonderful man to bring into our lives. I still remember when she told me in her giddy little voice "I met the hottest guy at work, he is a doctor and he plays the piano, I think I really like him." He has made my cousin a better person and I believe she has made him a better person. I love them both and can't wait for them to get married and have lots of babies. They are going to be so smart and talented, and really cute. My cousin is already a great "mom" to all of our kids, so it will be a breeze for her to mother her own babies.
     The only advice I can give to you when dealing with grieving mothers is this, it is what my Momma taught me my whole life: Put yourself in their shoes and then decide if what you may say or do would hurt your feelings. Thanks for reading, I enjoy running into people that tell me they are reading my blog, this blog has helped my healing so much.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Wonderful Phone Call Yesterday

     Yesterday, I was taking a little nap with Thomas, when my phone rang. I had been ignoring everyone else because I was napping, but I would never ignore this call. One of my previous student's named Timmy was calling, and Timmy holds a very special place in my heart. Timmy is one of those kids that has every excuse in the book to have a chip on his shoulder. He went without a lot of things in his life, but he never complained about it. While I was a teacher, God gave me insight sometimes about certain kids, and Timmy was one of them.  Other teachers wrote him off because he always wore hoodies, he was quiet, he flew under the radar. You could easily miss him if you weren't looking. What I noticed about Timmy was: he has a sweet spirit, he had great hair, his smile was genuine and never fake, he did not act like someone he was not, he was brilliant, he was compassionate, he was sensitive, and he noticed the small things.  Good grades came easy for him, he was simple in the fact that he did not need much to be content, while other students had everything they could wish for and were still so miserable. He is full of talent, and when he is your friend, he will always care for you, he is loyal. He has called me every Christmas, and I look forward to those calls. See, I saw that he was special, but he makes me feel special by always remembering me. I called his dad while I was his teacher to tell him what a wonderful son he had. I know his dad must be proud of him. Timmy has joined the Navy and he is stationed in Illinois right now. I am so proud of him, he is making something of himself. 
   His call made my day. I needed to hear his voice and I didn't even know it.  One story I have to tell you about Timmy is that he walked to Paul and I's wedding reception in late May. He was all sweaty by the time he got there and he must have walked at least 5 miles to get there. Who does that for someone? He made that day so special for me. I couldn't believe he walked in the heat to be there for my special day. I hope he knows how much I love and care for him. I have prayed for Timmy for a long time, and it looks like God has been taking good care of him. I can't wait to see what the future holds for him. I know he will be a great success. I used to dream about paying for him to go to college, but Timmy took that into his own hands. I just pray that God protects him and looks out for him, especially if he ever has to go to war.

Life With Thomas

Okay, so I told you about the day of Thomas' birth, the most wonderful day of my entire life, but I haven't told you all about the past year. After bringing Thomas home, I know I was a lot more over-protective than most moms. I knew this and I warned people about it. It is my job to protect him when he is so tiny. I watched him sleep all the time, I never really put him down at all the first couple of  months before I returned to work. I love the feel of his skin next to mine, and I must say that there is no other feeling like the feeling you get while you are breastfeeding your child. I mean, God thought of everything when He created us, and this is such a special gift we are given. It took a good month before we successfully latched-on every feeding, but I was determined to breast feed. I had to supplement the entire time with formula due to my previous breast reduction surgery, but I am so thankful that I was able to breast feed at all. I mentioned before about having a baby and how it forces you to improve your communication with your spouse, and that is what happened. Paul and I had to start communicating much more to coordinate our schedules, dr appts, and such.
     When I went back to work on November 29, I cried the whole way to work. I don't think I could have left him to go back to work if my mom was not the one taking care of him. My mom loves him like I do, she feeds him like I do, she bathes him like I do, she does things the same way I do because she is the one that taught me all of these things in the first place. I wish I could put into words how I feel about my mother. She is simply full of goodness and kindness. She always puts herself last, and never complains about it. The fact that I have liver cancer now is harder on her than I think it is on me. I have to tell her that if she goes to an appt with me, she has to promise not to cry. She cries a lot for me, which I hate. I don't want her to hurt. We never had much money growing up, so I was not spoiled with "things," but instead spoiled with love and acts of love. I never knew how to do laundry until I went away to college, I never had to clean my room too much, I never had to cook for myself, but my mom did teach us how to cook. My mom did so much for me during my childhood and she never seemed to be tired, but I know she had to have been exhausted at the end of every day. I love watching my mom interact with people, she never meets a stranger and my mom would seriously give you the shirt off of her back, I have seen her do this. I am able to talk to my mom all day while I am at work and I often call and talk to Thomas. I wish I didn't have to work, but I do. I find comfort knowing my son is in the arms of someone I fully trust. She always respects my wishes and does what I ask, even if she doesn't agree with my philosophy. I hope to be just like her someday. I would love to care for Thomas' children someday. I love it when someone tells me that I remind them of my mother. I wish I could repay my mother for all that she has done for me, she is who I want when I am sick. She knows how to care for me like no one else, I hope to be like this for Thomas. If I do die, I want my mom to still care for Thomas and teach him all about me and what I was like, she is the one that knows all my stories.
     The things I love the most about being a mom to Thomas, are the looks I get when I come home after a long day at work. His smile can melt away any feelings of sadness I might have had before. I can feel my soul being lifted just from his smile, and then he will reach his arms out for me and my heart goes straight to mush. These moments are gifts, I treasure each of these times! These moments make up for all the hard times when kids are teenagers, my bank is full of love deposits from Thomas right now. We still snuggle every night, and I could care less what anyone has to say about Thomas sleeping with us, I feel like I am spending every bit of time I can with him when I have him next to me all night. I can feel him breathing, see him breathing, feel his warmth all night and he loves to cuddle too. My son wakes up happy like I do, once I am up, I am ready to go! Thomas wakes up smiling and talking! I enjoy the mornings with him so much. He makes it hard to want to leave the house. I love watching him play and try to figure out how things work. He is very curious. I love watching him go to other people and interact with them. I want him to love people the way I do, people are good you know. I want him to brighten up other people's days the way he brightens mine. My mom has always called me "her little sunshine," and now I understand what she means. Thomas is my sunshine, he makes me so happy, he makes waking up each day a gift. I know my time could be limited on this earth, so I want to spend as much time with him as possible. I'm so glad that he loves to go out and about, I can take this kid anywhere and he acts wonderful. I don't know how anyone can have a baby and not believe in God, you know instantly that God exists when you look at your baby for the first time. There is no way that we were an accident of cells merging or evolution, give me a break, God made us, He is the only one that could make a baby so perfect, and He thought of everything! I have no idea how Mary watched as her baby hung on that cross, I can't wait to bump into her in heaven and find out how a mother could be that selfless and strong, I am afraid I would have pulled Thomas off of that cross. You see, I still have a long way to go in my walk with Christ, but I desire to be this selfless someday.
     In two days, November 8, 2011, it will be two years since the birth of Benjamin and Jacob. I made sure to be off of work that day, so I can go to the cemetery in the morning and sing my babies "Happy Birthday." Please pray for me, as this is a hard day for me, and Thomas will never know how much he helps me get through these hard days. It is hard for me to remember that girl that existed on November 7, 2009. I used to want to go back and be that girl again, but I see now that God has His own unique plan for me, I only wish I could see how it all will turn out.