Thursday, December 26, 2013

Surrender

I still wake up every single morning thinking about Noah and the fact that he is not here. Each day is a battle against depression. Now that the shock has warn off completely, the infinite earthly reality has set  in. I will never see, hug, or talk to Noah again for as long as I'm living on this earth. I'm only 32. The thought of living so many more years is sometimes daunting. This life is still worth living, though. I'm surrendering to this life.  I pray for a "drop of grace to carry me through this day." (For King & Country)

This Christmas season I also struggled with guilt. I experienced joy this month more than I have this entire year. How can I have joy when all I want to do is be sad?? Maybe God is working on my heart. My pastor used a metaphor to explain this struggle to me. He said that happiness is an island and grief is the sea. You can have both at the same time. Joy in the midst of grief. I think I've talked about this before. Maybe it's a thought I should cling to. On Christmas morning my husband and I both woke up around 4am, thinking about Noah. He started to cry and I told him it would be ok. His response was that he wasn't really sad, but humble. Humble? Humble because God sent his son Jesus and what that means for us -- the true meaning of Christmas. Joy in the midst of grief. I love that husband of mine.

Psalm 84:1-5 -- "How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young at your alters, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Blessed are those whose strength is in you."

Wow. How fitting this is for me. My soul does long for Heaven. I love metaphors, obviously. I compare myself to the sparrow and swallow. I've found a home and made my nest. An earthly home for now and then a heavenly home. Noah is in the dwelling place of the Lord, singing His praise and is blessed. I am blessed by the strength that only comes from God.


Steven and Theo this Christmas.
These two make me smile. I don't know what I would do without them.
Noah was certainly missed that day (and every day). 

Monday, December 2, 2013

One Year


There just aren't enough words to express how much I miss him. No words at all really. It has been a year since he went to Heaven. I'm still holding on to the memory of our last hug. If only I could hug him again and never let go. The day Noah left I had no idea how I was going to live this life without him. I still have the images almost daily of finding him that morning. The image of his daddy holding him one last time while the paramedics arrived. Oh death, you are so painful. Oh God, please continue to restore my soul! Don't let this strength I have in You fade. I wish he could tell me what Heaven is like. How bright are the colors? How often do the angels sing? What does Noah do there? Are the dreams that I've had about him there really glimpses of Heaven? His prayers were often, "Dear God, thank you for Mom and Dad, me and Feo. I had a good day today. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen." Did God say, "you're welcome."?

Theo still asks about him. He often says, "my Noah be back in a minute." Oh how I miss seeing them play together. Noah was Theo's best friend. I hope and pray he will always feel connected with Noah somehow. Quite often I wish he could be here to do things with us, like go to a movie or play at the park. I'm not sad for him, sad for us. I know I've said that a million times.

I knew this one year anniversary was going to be very hard so I had to think of a way to celebrate his life and what kind of boy he is. Just like I planned his 5th birthday party for months, I planned this event for that long. We called it the Be Kind campaign. The idea was for people to do an act of kindness for someone else and leave a card behind that said it was in loving memory of Noah. He was such a kind and gentle friend so we thought this was the perfect way to remember him. Many acts have been done so far and I hope it continues.

I have great joy in knowing with all of my heart that he is safe and with God. The hope that I will see him one day has been my crutch. I dream of the day when I get to see Jesus face to face and then He will take me to see Noah. I also dream of the day when the four of us can be together again. Thank you God for Heaven and all of it's joy! While we wait to get there, we will make sure that his life will leave an impact on this earth and will continue to share his kindness.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Coping with Grief: A Christian Perspective

I don't claim to be an expert and I'm not telling you how to feel or when to feel it. I'm just a mom who is going through this journey of learning to live this life on earth without my son. Over the past year I've learned a few things that have helped me along the way.

Life is never the same, but you have to learn to cope, or adapt. It is a very long process. Everyone grieves differently. Anger, shock, sadness, denial, depression, and even physical pain are all feelings associated with grief that everyone will likely feel. Pain of grief is unique. There are no magic words to take away this pain, but in this pain you will learn to live by faith. Living by faith allows you to learn to cope with the despair that you're feeling. Grieving is a natural response and is necessary to heal.

Music

Music can be very powerful therapy. Just hearing the words that you feel from someone else is comforting. The most helpful song for me is Mercy Me's "The Hurt and the Healer."



Some other songs that are awesome are:
"Keep Singing"-Mercy Me
"With Hope"-Steven Curtis Chapman
"There Will be a Day"-Jeremy Camp
"Already There"-Casting Crowns

Worship

My pastor, who's daughter passed away as a young adult, preached on worship this last Sunday. He said that worshipping when your heart is broken is pure worship. That kind of worship is about God's character and not the things he gives you. It will restore you, help you regain your perspective, and help you focus on the eternity. It was hard for me sometimes to worship, to be honest. The words just didn't seem authentic to me because I allowed bitterness in my heart. There were also sometimes when I just didn't want to be happy, but I sang the words anyway. I definitely felt that way at Noah's life celebration service. I used all of the courage and energy I had to sing those words. God gave me a great gift when he gave me Noah. I am not about to let Satan take my thankfulness away.

Scripture

In order to control the bitterness, I think it's important to read scripture often when you're grieving. I remember asking my friends for their favorite scripture. Here are a few verses to meditate on:

  • "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
  • "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7
  • "Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength." Isaiah 40:31
  • "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:11-13
I think it's important to remember verse 13. When you're in the pit of despair and you don't know how you're going to make it through, God will meet you there, you just have to ask.

Books

Noah passed away in Oklahoma. A week later we had to fly back home to Oregon, without him. That was the most difficult trip I've ever made. I went to Oklahoma with a son in each hand and left with the 11x16 picture that was on display at his funeral and his little brother instead. On the airplane I read the entire book, Heaven is for Real. It's about a young boy who almost died from appendicitis. While he was in surgery he actually went to Heaven and then came back. The book paints a beautiful picture of Heaven and is very believable. It's also easy to read. Another good book to read is Holding on to Hope by Nancy Guthrie. Her daughter and son passed away from Zellweger Syndrome. Also an easy read and Biblically based.

Counsel

We attended a class called Grief Share. It's a nationwide program that is Christian based. It's for anyone who is going through the grieving process. They meet once a week. I highly recommend at least trying it out. Another thing that is helpful is to have a friend who will listen to you talk through your emotions at any time. I am blessed with a lot of family and friends who have been there to listen, encourage, or just sit with me. You can also seek counsel with a pastor or a therapist. Do what's best for you.

Heavenly-minded

Imagine if we lived in a world full of disappointments, pain, war, shootings, death, etc. Oh wait, we do. I'm not saying that there is nothing good in this world. God is good and his creations are good. If you think this life is void of pain, then you're in a bubble. Sorry to tell you that. Even if you haven't experienced some kind of heartache, this world is still not perfect. However, there is a place that is. A place where there are no more tears, no more suffering. Our home is there. (Philippians 3:20).

Just remember, our lives change whether we want them to or not, but God does not change. His dwelling place is Heaven, where Noah is. He's safe and sound from this world and that is where I will spend eternity. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16



Friday, October 18, 2013

An Answer?

Yesterday I received a long-awaited phone call from the Medical Examiner's office in Oklahoma City. We've waited almost 11 months for the answer to this question, "why did our son die?" Here's the answer; no cause found, inconclusive. No cause found? They did every test they could think of. There is one test left that will take up to a year to get the results back, but that's the very last test. A genetic heart disease test. That doesn't mean that they think that's what it is. That is their last resort because it costs $5,000 and they don't have a lot of funding.

So, what am I supposed to do with this? How am I supposed to live my life never knowing what happened? My husband very wisely said that there is no hope in knowing, only hope in Heaven. If we would have known the cause I would always think about what I could have done to prevent it. How could a happy and presumably healthy boy just go to sleep and never wake up? Knowing that they couldn't find anything and his doctor didn't find anything in her scouring over his charts makes me believe that there's nothing we could have done. If there was something, we would have done it. There is one small voice that keeps saying, "why didn't God tell me there was something wrong? why didn't He make it more apparent?" It is not my place to question God. It is only my place to TRUST Him. Trust Him that he is in control. Perhaps it was His grace that we didn't find out the cause, as said by a good friend. I'm going to be honest, sometimes it is hard to trust that this will all be ok and that the joy will come. I think the only way to reach that trust is to ask Him for the strength to get there. Not just ask for extra strength, but God size strength.

I miss Noah so much. I really miss taking care of him. I'm so thankful that I have two boys. I don't know what I'd do without Theo. He'll never know how much he means to me. I was meant to be a mom. So now I have to parent him from here on this earth. One way I can think to do that is to attempt to bring purpose to his life and carry on his legacy that he left behind. That is why I'm embarking on the "Be Kind" campaign. I'm committing to continuing this campaign on November 29th for the rest of my life. I'm not doing it just for Noah, I'm doing it for myself, too. I think doing things for others will bring me joy. As I've said before, I'm searching for the joy that will endure through the sorrow.

I just want to thank you all for your support throughout this very difficult time in our lives. We have such great friends and family. Thank you to those who have listened to me talk about my suffering and have been there with me when I've cried. Thank you for loving our Theo and accepting his crazy antics as he learns to live this life without his brother. This journey we are on to healing will be very long I'm sure. Your letters, messages, phone calls, hugs, talks, and prayers are all very very appreciated. Much love to you!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Finding Joy in Sorrow

"Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing." 2 Corinthians 6:10. Oh Paul, you're so right. You may wonder why I'm rejoicing while my heart is broken into a million pieces. My answer -- the hope of joy that only comes from God. I just can't say that enough. Romans 5:2-3 says, "Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of underserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance." I'm not saying that I'm happy and rejoicing that Noah is gone. I'm just searching for the joy that will endure through the sorrow. Looking forward to the day I will see him again. Oh how my heart aches for that day. An ache too painful for words.

John Piper wrote, "So let us embrace whatever sorrow God appoints for us. Let us not be ashamed of tears. Let the promise that joy comes with the morning (Psalm 30:5) sustain and shape our grief with the power and goodness of God." Wow! One day our tears will be wiped away and death will be no more. I think I can rejoice in that. How about you?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Are you happy?

Yesterday Theo asked if I was happy. It took me by surprise. I'm sure he asked because I had been crying a few hours before that. My answer was, "Um, I have joy... Are you happy?" Thankfully he said, "yeah." I just can't bring myself to say that I'm happy. I think that's a fair thing to say. Although, I'm certainly not going to tell Theo that I'm unhappy. He might take it personally and I don't want him to remember his mother as an unhappy, bitter person. Also, just because I'm not happy right now doesn't mean that I just sit in my house to mope, say "woe-is-me, " and drown my sorrows in iced blended coffees. Well, maybe I do that some days... ok, most days. I'm still able to smile and laugh. And yes, I do count my blessings and thank God for what he has given me. I don't have to be reminded of that. I am also aware that I'm not the only person who is suffering in this world, but this is my blog and my thoughts, so I'm going to talk about me.

Theo's question made me think about the last time I was truly happy. I don't remember an exact day, more of a season - last fall. I have pictures to prove it. No pictures of me, of course. I'm usually behind the camera.
Best friends. Look how happy they are. Theo wouldn't go down the slide unless Noah did. Theo has become a lot more brave since then. I'm sure he would go down it now. 

This, this is my happy moment. 

My buddy. Even he was truly happy on this day. It took a long time for him to smile at the camera like this again.  

My silly boy. I love him so. 

I often wonder if I will ever be truly, completely happy again. Is there anyone who feels that way, though? Aren't we always wanting more? Why can't we just be content with God? Why do I have to be bitter about this bumpy, twisty-turny road that I'm on? You know, this road leads to somewhere. Heaven. I suppose that is what hope and joy are all about. Sure, I can be depressed and in despair because my Noah is gone from me. I can be mad and angry that I can't hug him or hear him laugh. Or, I can choose to remember his laugh and his hugs. I can choose to be thankful that I got to experience that for almost 6 happy years. I could have not known him at all. I can choose to focus on the hope of Heaven and someday, maybe I'll be happy again. After all, this is only a shadow of our real life. An eternal life in the presence of God is my future reality. Noah is still my son, and he always, always will be.
I love the faces on his pumpkins. I love that he was creative, kind, and overall pretty happy.







Tuesday, September 3, 2013

First Day of School

Today would have been Noah's first day of the first grade. I keep wondering what he would be wearing, if he would have the same Wall-E backpack, and about how excited he would be. I'm sure he would be wearing a plaid or polo shirt. I wish I could hear all about his day. I wish I could just pick him up from school like that's where he's been this whole time. Life is NOT FAIR!! My life is not fair. Today, I am having a pity party. Pitiful me. I don't feel this way all of the time. The realization that he is not coming back is more real. The pain is bearable but my heart will always always be broken. Ugh.



A picture from the first day of last year. I miss you so much Noah. Your Daddy, Theo, and I love you. Today is Daddy's birthday. Wish you could have been here. You are always here with us though because we will always love you and that love makes you a part of us. This is not where it ends. See you later my pal. 


Monday, August 19, 2013

What Would Jesus Do? (and a little soap-boxing)

"Jesus wept." John 11:35. Why? Because his friend Lazarus, whom he loved, died. Two verses before that says, "Therefore, when Jesus saw her [Mary, this sister of Lazarus] weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled." According to Pastor Greg Laurie, the greek work for "troubled" could be translated to "angry." Jesus was angry at death. He was sad because his friend was dead and the people who loved him were full of sorrow. I can be angry at death and sad that Noah is gone. I'm going to feel this way for as long as I need to.

Most of you know what happens next in the story of Lazarus. 38 So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39 Jesus said, Remove the stone. Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God? 41 So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said,Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me. 43 When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44 The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, Unbind him, and let him go.” 


I find it interesting that both Mary and Martha questioned Jesus and told him that he had been there their brother would not be dead. Little did they know, God had amazing things planned for them. Noah isn't coming back to me. I will go to him in Heaven. If I believe I will see the glory of God. "For our present troubles are quite small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever!" 2 Corinthians 4:17 NLT. My present troubles are NOT small, but thinking eternally, they may be quite small. 


Someone suggested to me in an indirect way that my focus in Heaven should be on God and not Noah. First of all, that hurt my feelings. Second of all, you don't know my heart. My son is dead. There, I said it. The only thing that gets me through is the HOPE of seeing him in Heaven WITH Jesus. Of course I want more than anything to see my Creator, Savior, Counselor. I get to be in His presence with my son. I don't claim to be a Bible scholar, but I know enough and have been given enough validation through my prayers, scripture, and other people God has spoken through to have faith that dream will come true. If you've never read the book Heaven is for Real, you should read it. Also, before you decide to tell me how to grieve, take a moment and think about the pain of losing a child, or anyone you love so dearly. Ok, gettin' down off my soap box now. 



Monday, July 29, 2013

Hope

I wish I could come up with the words to express the pain of losing a child, just so you could know the power of God's peace and comfort in a time of darkness. Sometimes the image of finding his little body without his soul floods through my mind and I feel like the room is spinning. Everything else fades and I'm in a far away place. A dark place. Soon after that the image of Noah in Heaven that I had in my dream comes to my mind. I hold on to that for dear life.

I've never experienced His presence like I have since Noah left. God really does show himself when we need Him most. He is always there, but when there is absolutely no where else for us to turn, he gives his light of Hope. I like how He reveals himself through my family and friends. Friends who promised to walk down this road with me, pray for us, remind me that every day here is a day closer to Heaven, and friends who tell me that this just plain sucks. Also, my little Theo running through the halls at church telling everyone that God helps us, something he learned in Sunday School. Prayer is what allows me to have peace throughout the day. I know when someone is praying for me. That may sound crazy to some, but it's my truth.

To me, grief isn't something you get over, it's something you get through. I'll have to move through this life on earth without Noah. That was not my plan, and it really sucks, but it is what it is. I'm going to hold on his memory and cherish the joy that he brought to our lives. Eight months ago today was the last time I hugged my pal. Ugh, I so wish I could just hug him again and never let go. Someday. That's what hope is all about. Hope that I will see him again, along with my Savior. Hope that one day on this earth the joy of Noah will come first to my mind instead of the constant reminder that he's not here with me.

One of my favorite pictures of him at the beach. 

He loved to look at maps and pretend to tell me where to go. Well,  I don't think he was pretending. I miss those brown eyes. 


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Alone

I feel so alone. Alone and discouraged. God, I just can't be strong on my own. Help me. Help me find Your strength. So many people in my life are happy but I am sad. I feel that I'm being punished, even though I don't think You work that way. Noah was full of so much joy and compassion. I feel like my joy and compassion were ripped from me when he left. I just don't know what to do anymore. So much sadness, anger, and depression. If you're reading this, please pray for me. I know there is hope. I know there is joy. It's just hard to see right now. Guess it's just one of those rough days.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

OK

There are two things I struggle with the most; being bitter and pretending that I'm not. I've always loathed bitterness. It has the ability to suck you in to a deep dark hole. I do NOT want to be there. I don't want that darkness hanging over me because I'm afraid that it will cause me to miss the healing and comfort that God has in store for me. But. When I'm around so many people who seem happy I just get discouraged because I don't feel that way. I am just tired of pretending that everything is ok. I am not saying that I don't have moments where I allow joy and laughter in, I do. The joy of the Lord is my strength, right? Sometimes it's just hard. It's hard for me to smile and say "ok" when someone asks how I'm doing. I AM NOT OK. I'm sad and I miss Noah SO MUCH. I can't really say that though. I don't think people will continue to ask me that if that was my response. So, for now, I'll just say "ok." It's the best that I can do. Honestly, in the end, everything will be ok. The end just seems so far away. One of my good friends reminded me the other day that when I get to Heaven, Noah won't know how long it took me to get there. Also, I won't know either. There's no time in Heaven. All our tears will be wiped away!!!

As I was praying to God the other day I asked, "why couldn't You have waited until I died before you took Noah?" I know it is not my place to question God. I'm just being honest here. During my prayer I thought, what if I had died before Noah? How much pain would that have caused him? How much pain would he have to endure with any one in our family leaving before him? My son will never know the pain of losing someone, for that, I am thankful.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Petition

Please take a moment to sign the petition for the Oklahoma City medical examiners to take action in decreasing the amount of time it takes to get results back to grieving families. We have waited 7 months now and they're still telling us to wait! The beginning time frame was 4-6 months. They need to increase funding so they can hire more examiners. They're excuse to me is that they have an increased case load. It is really not fair to us to have to wait this long!!

https://www.change.org/petitions/state-of-oklahoma-and-gov-mary-fallin-urge-oklahoma-to-increase-staffing-for-the-medical-examiner-office

Thank you for your support!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Empty

Life when someone you love so much leaves this earth becomes empty. Not only do I feel empty inside but a lot of things around me are empty.
An empty chair at the dinner table where Noah sat. 

Empty shoes that he will never wear. 

An empty bed where no more bedtime stories are read, no more prayers together at night, no more saying "good morning Noah, time to get up for school." 

Empty spot next to his brother. 


My empty hand where his hand used to be. 
Empty seat in the car. 
Empty arms waiting for his hug.

EMPTY.

Sometimes when I'm in a crowd, with friends, or even just by myself I want to yell, "I MISS NOAH!!!" I HATE feeling empty. Yes, I know that I'm filled with the love of my family and friends and God. It's just the way I feel right now. This feeling is so suffocating sometimes and I don't know what to do. Why does my life have to be like this??? For what purpose GOD? God, I need your strength. Your comfort. Your peace. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Complaint

Did you know there are more psalms of complaint in the Bible than there are of thanksgiving? Complaints are being honest with God. Complaining to God about how I feel and how I think death really sucks, allows me to be open to His comfort. He is not shocked by our despair. Even though the pain is so suffocating sometimes that I can't see past the fog that is my grief, I know that there is an end to this suffering. Death is defeated in Christ. I know where I'm going when I die, Heaven. That is where my son is. When I get there, all of the pain and tears of his death will be wiped away. While I wait for that day, I will weep with hope.

One night this week I was crying in bed and asking God for a glimpse of Noah in Heaven. I thought that if I just thought about Noah while I went to sleep I would see him in my dreams. A few hours of sleep later, I was suddenly awaked by the sound of Theo giggling. He had been sleeping in my room because my family had been visiting. He was just giggling in his sleep, like he was dreaming. Steven was away on a business trip. The next morning I received a text from Steven that said he had a dream about Noah. He was sifting through his closet and found him the back. He started to tickle Noah and he giggled. Steven said he woke up laughing. Maybe they had the same dream?? I'm not making this story up, folks, it's all true. I honestly believe God gave us yet another glimpse of Heaven.

This was from our trip to the beach last week with my family. I just thought it was a neat photo.  Theo's drawing in the sand next to Noah's name looked like a heart. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Bitter

I'm really struggling with bitterness lately. Yes, I'm aware that I have plenty of things to be thankful for. But. I get so frustrated hearing people complain about things that don't matter. I know it's not fair to feel that way, they didn't cause my life to be like this, so I shouldn't expect everyone else who isn't hurting to be happy 100% of the time. Still, it bothers me. I'm just bitter. That's what Satan wants. He wants me to be bitter. Someday I am going to have to make a decision to throw that bitterness and despair away and give it to God. I feel like I can't let go of it right now. I'm not saying I feel this way all of the time, just moments throughout the day. Maybe this is a normal process in my grief journey. I know God won't give up on me.

Tuesday of this week I attended a life celebration service for a wonderful woman of God, Leta. She and her husband were Noah's Sunday School teachers when he was 3 and 4 years old. She taught my son about God and now they are together in the presence of Him. My pastor said a few things that I don't want to forget. His daughter Tish went to Heaven several years ago in a car accident. He said when people apologized for his loss he would have to say that he didn't lose his daughter, he knew where she was. She is in Heaven. I still can't say that Noah died. How could he have died if he is living in Heaven? I just can't say "dead." I don't believe it to be true in that sense. Pastor Norm also told the family of Leta that sometimes they will have a glimpse of Heaven, the veil will be pulled away for just a second. I know what he's talking about. The rainbow picture I found, the little things that Theo says, things that I find of Noah's, and other things that are too special to me to share -- all glimpses of Heaven. You could also call them blessings from God. See, if Pastor Norm says that we will experience those things, then I am not crazy!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Guess What

"Hey Mom, guess what!" Noah would always say. Often times there was no response to "what Noah?" He just said that to get your attention. A few months after Noah left Theo started saying it, too. He usually says it in the car. A couple of days before Mother's Day we were driving somewhere and from the backseat I heard, "hey Mom, guess what." My automatic response is, "what Theo?" followed by mind going back to what I was thinking about because I know he won't say anything after that. To my surprise he said, "I'm happy." The tears immediately started to fall. You may think I'm crazy, but my first thought was to thank God for sending me a message about Noah. I was telling this story to a very close friend of mine. I left out the part that I thought would make me sound crazy, but again, to my surprise, she had the same thought. So, maybe I'm not crazy after all! Well, I probably am, but not completely.

This Mother's Day was tough, more so than I thought it was going to be. I kept telling myself to be thankful that I am the mother of two amazing boys. I just kept thinking how unfair it was that I was denied a hug and a drawing from Noah. I have always loved his artwork, as any other mother loves her child's creations. I think that was the hardest part for me. Thankfully, I had friends and my husband and Theo to hug on. My friend's daughter Lauren gave me so many hugs that day I lost count! What a blessing she is to me.

Steven gave me this, along with flowers and a special card, as a mother's day gift. His title is "kindness." Just like my Noah. He had a spirit of kindness that always impressed me. Steven wished he could have brought Noah home to me for Mother's Day. I wished that, too. Alas, that can't happen. Noah will always be our son, though. We will always love him and that love will forever be with us.

The flowers I received from Steven along with a rose from my friend Elizabeth.


Today is Theo's 3rd birthday. Happy Birthday little brother! We went to the children's museum today to celebrate. We'll have another party with a few friends. Theo will never know how much of a hero he is to me.


I have this fear that Theo won't remember all of the things he knows about Noah. He's only 3, I don't remember a whole lot from when I turned 3. A man in our Grief Share class suggested I write a letter to Theo talking about the relationship he had with his brother and describing Noah. I would have to tell Theo that Noah loved him so much. He was always looking out for him. He called him "Feo." I can still hear him say, "Feo!" when he would get frustrated with Theo. Noah would always be there to help Theo when he would get frustrated with something. Noah loved to sing Theo a song at bedtime. 

Go to sleep Theo
Sweet dreams Theo
We'll play again in the morning
And have fun tomorrow.

Then he would give him a hug or blow him a kiss and say "I love you, Feo, goodnight." Sure there were times when they would argue, but not very often, mainly because Noah was pretty patient. For the most part, their relationship was special. They were best friends. I'm sad that Noah can't be here to spend Theo's birthday with him. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

5 months

Five months ago today my little boy left this earth.  Maybe that's why today is so hard.  Sometimes I feel like I need to say I hate my life, even though I don't hate it in general.  I hate that life has to go on without my Noah.  Geez, I miss that boy so much!!  The pain is just so suffocating sometimes.

There's a song by Laura Story that I've loved for a while.  It has more meaning for me now.  Here are my favorite lyrics of the song:

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It's not our home

I just love it so much.  I love how music is healing.  I realized a few weeks ago that when I worship, sing praises to God, Noah is also singing to the same God, only in Heaven. Not only am I connected to Noah in the fact that he is a part of me, but I'm also connected to him through our Heavenly Father.  When I start to see the images of finding Noah that morning five months ago I try really, really hard to picture him in Heaven instead.  I know I've talked about this before.  To be honest, it is getting easier to do that.  Some days are easier than others.   I'm thankful for those answered prayers.

This weekend, about 50 of my friends and my aunt walked in the March for Babies in honor of Noah. We raised $2,309! Southwest Washington and Oregon together raised over $1 million! I was scared that the day was going to be really hard for me.  We have walked with Noah several times before in the March for Babies.  Having such a great group of friends for support was truly a blessing to us.  I love our church family.  Doing good things helps heal the heart.  I am sure Noah is proud of us.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Reality



I suppose it's true.  He really is gone.  My friend Jenn and I took a trip to Oklahoma last weekend to visit Noah's spot, I don't want to call it a grave.  This was the first time I had seen his marker.  I had a knot in the pit of my stomach on the drive to the cemetery.  I knew seeing it was going to be hard, I didn't think it was going to be this hard.  Walking up the sidewalk to the Garden of Angels, where all of the children are buried, I couldn't hold back my tears.  Once I got closer I just broke down, sobbed uncontrollably and loudly.  If I didn't have people there supporting me I probably would have been a lot louder.  After touching the marker with my hands just so that I would know in my head that it was real, God reminded me that Noah is with him.  I had asked a few friends to pray for the trip and for me while I was there.  I am sure someone prayed for that.  In fact, I know someone did.  Someone also prayed that I would feel the presence of God, and I did.



There was another spot a few feet away that had a large pinwheel.  I wanted one for Noah's spot so we picked one up at Hobby Lobby and brought it there on our second visit.  In my heart I want these images to represent the fact that Noah is in Heaven.  He's in a perfect place with no hate, sadness, betrayal, anger, insecurities, tears, selfishness, etc. I don't want this grave to represent death like it is supposed to, I want it to represent life in Heaven.  I am not sure my mind is going to let me do that, though.  

You might not be able to see them, but we let some balloons go while we were there. 

When we returned to Portland there was a double rainbow to greet us.  Rainbows have a "double" meaning for me.  They represent God's love and mercy for us.  They also represent Noah being with Jesus. 
I posted this picture in January I think.  The day I had taken the Christmas tree down I cried out to God to show me that Noah was with him.  For some reason, I decided to move the furniture around.  I found this picture under the couch.  Noah in front of a rainbow.  I still have no idea where that paper came from and had no idea he had drawn it.  Revelation 4:3 says there's a rainbow shining like an emerald that encircles the throne in Heaven.  I'm sure Noah has seen that rainbow. 

Thank you to my friends and family who have supported us during this most difficult time of our lives. It still hurts tremendously.  I miss him so much and think about him constantly.  It's hard to think about living on this earth without him, but this life here is only temporary.  I know God's love and mercy are abundant. 


Monday, April 1, 2013

God

Looking back on last week, I can see where God was working on my heart.  Most every night I cried right before I went to sleep.  I just get so bitter and sad sometimes.  I feel like I can't breath because I just want to have Noah back.  It's like there's a battlefield in my mind. One minute I'm ok (at least as ok as I can be) and the next minute I'm angry.  I got so worked up that I snapped at Steven for no reason one night.  That night I kept waking up several times.  Once I just woke up thinking about God.  I can't really explain what I was thinking about exactly, I just know that my mind was on Him.  I learned the next day that my friend Laura from church had prayed for me that night.  She was having a hard time sleeping so she decided to pray, for me.

On another hard night, I had a dream about Noah.  I was crying in my dream and then he was hugging me.  I couldn't see him, but I could feel that it was him.  The next part of the dream I told him that I loved him and I heard him say, "I love you too, Mom." I couldn't see his face but I could tell that he was wearing white.  I loved hearing him say that. 

We attend a Grief Share class once a week.  Last week's lesson was entitled, "Why?" We were all very intrigued by this topic, wondering if they actually had the answer. There really isn't an answer to that question.  I learned that it is ok to ask God questions, but He doesn't promise that he will answer all of them.  We don't have the capacity to understand God.  He wants us to trust him, not judge him with asking "why?"  Honestly, I'm not here yet.  Yes, I trust God, and know he will "cause everything to work together for the good."  But, I still have to wonder why Noah was taken from me.  I still want to be selfish.  I can't help it, I'm broken and imperfect.  God isn't shocked by my despair.  He knows my heart.  I just pray that He will continue to heal it.  

This Easter weekend I was reminded that God is the Father of comfort and peace beyond all understanding.  I found joy in doing the Easter traditions with Theo that Noah would have loved.  Although, it is hard to see Theo doing these things without his best friend there beside him.  On the way to an Easter egg hunt he said, "we miss Noah."  He's also been asking to go get him more often than he has been.  I'm looking forward to the day when Theo will understand what Heaven is.  As we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus on Sunday, all I could think about was that Noah was in the presence of Jesus.  Can you imagine?  I just had this overwhelming peace that day.  It was actually a little scary.  I'm not ready to feel that joyful yet.  



Hi Pal. We missed you while we were coloring Easter eggs.  Theo was so excited to color them. I know you would have been too. 
We made a special egg just for you.  
Theo wore the same jacket you wore when you were 3. He also wore his Noah pin.  He loves to wear it.  He sure misses you. I know that your Easter celebration was something special in Heaven. I love you so much Noah. 



Monday, March 25, 2013

I wish someone could come and bear my burdens, just for a while.  I'm so exhausted.  I'm tired of smiling when I don't feel like it.  If I have a day where things are just hard I get really tired.  Grief affects a lot of aspects of  my life.  My relationships with friends or family have changed.  Some are stronger now and some relationships are just simply over.  I can't handle stress the same way.  Yesterday was Palm Sunday.  At our church some of the kids participate in a parade through the sanctuary during worship with palm branches.  I've never actually seen Noah participate, but this would have been his last year to do it.  At first I thought I should hide out because I knew it was going to be hard for me.  I decided to stay and watch.  It was hard for me to see his friends without him there.  My friend Jenn told me earlier in the week to think about Noah doing the same parade in Heaven, in front of Jesus.  I didn't think about that until later.  It would have helped.  Instead I took a little break after they left and cried in the bathroom.  Thank you to the lady who knocked on the door and told me she was praying for me, whoever you were.  Not only was I having a difficult morning because of that, but Theo was also having some issues.  He sometimes has difficulty getting a handle on his aggression and grumpiness.  Don't we all?  When we were on our way home from lunch he told me that he missed Noah and then he fell asleep.  Maybe that had something to do with his actions.  I can see the change in him and how he is dealing with his brother being gone.  That combined with his almost 3 year old behavior scares me a little.  All I can do is pray for and love him and not worry about it so much.  At least I can try not to.

All I could think about that morning was that life would just be better if Noah were here.  That's the first thing that comes to mind when anything difficult happens.  It doesn't even have to be related to Noah.  One of my fellow grieving mothers and I talked about this recently.  Grief is all-consuming.

The lyrics of the song that I sang with the choir were very fitting yesterday. "I want Jesus to walk with me. In my trials Lord, walk with me. When my whole life becomes a burden, I want Jesus to walk with me. In my sorry Lord, please walk with me. When my poor heart is almost breaking, I want Jesus to walk with me." I have this burden of not having Noah here on this earth with me.  Can Jesus bear this burden with me?  Will He help me see that this life is not all there is?  Can He help me understand that I will see Noah again in Heaven and on the New Earth and it will all be perfect?  Will He teach me that it is all about Him and not about me?

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Forever Friend

When we first moved to Oregon, Noah was pretty much my only friend. We hardly knew anyone here so Noah and I did a lot of stuff together, just the two of us. We explored a lot: beach, cheese factory, children's museum, the mall, Target, parks, etc. We even discovered our church one day just driving around. We were the best of friends. Other than the fact that he is my son, I think that time of our lives enabled us to have a close bond.



Noah loved his daddy so much. They always had a good time together, no matter what they did.


This was before our date together to see The Lion King on Broadway. 

I loved doing fun activities with him. Baking was one of my favorites. 

May 14, 2010. Theo was born. We became a family of 4. 

Haha. I love how he could just be silly at the drop of a hat. So much joy in his heart. 

Playing Legos together, a favorite activity. 


They were instant best friends.
Well, an older brother has the right to torture little brother once in a while, right?




Home Depot projects, another favorite activity. 

My boys. 


Theo wouldn't go down this slide unless big brother went with him at first. 


Trip to the zoo with some friends. Noah always loved playing with the little kids. 

Having fun with friends. 
What a silly face. He had fun playing with Dylan.
Riding the motorcycle at the amusement park with Lauren.

He LOVED having his friends over for parties. He would always ask if we could have a party and he would try to help me plan it.




I'm sorry if I left anyone out on this post. I couldn't get through more photos because I couldn't hold back the tears. 


Dear Noah, 

Hey pal. I'm so glad you were a friend to many. I know the parties and get-togethers won't be the same without you, but I'd like to think that you are with us in our hearts. It's comforting to know that you are at a great big party in Heaven. I hope that doing the things you loved to do will bring me joy. I love you so much, Noah. I'm really thankful that you are my son and that you are perfect in Heaven. I'm thankful that you are being taken care of by God. I really miss you. See you later alligator. 

Love you to the moon and back, 
Mom

Monday, March 11, 2013

Dear God,

I'm still here. Still aching, longing, sad, bitter, angry, lonely. I'm lonely because Noah was a big part of my world and I feel lost without him. I miss his smile, his stories, his questions, his hugs. I feel like nothing will ever be the same God. I don't understand. I do understand that your ways are higher than mine. I just want things to be different. I want life to be the way it was before Noah died. Life can't be, though. So, please God, I need your help. Hear my prayer. Give me joy. Joy that only you can give. Even though I feel all of these stupid unfair feelings of bitterness and sadness, I'm still thankful for your LOVE. I'm thankful for the JOY that comes from Theo. He makes me laugh. I'm thankful for my husband who loves me and our little family. I'm thankful for a few friends who are always there to listen to me talk about Noah and who aren't afraid to talk to me. I'm thankful for a family that supports us. I'm thankful that you have Noah and that he is safe. Please tell him that I love him. Please use his life to bring glory to You. In Jesus' name, Amen.
My sweet boy. I love you. See you later alligator. 

This is from last Easter. I like how Noah is holding his brother's hand. It won't be the same this year without him.

I'm glad that I took this picture. His name in his own writing.














Monday, March 4, 2013

What If?

Sometimes I get a sudden feeling that he's just going to come back. I see a picture of him and I feel like he's just in the next room. Then I come back to reality and remember that he is not coming back. Next comes "what if?" What if God could have saved Noah? I know He has the power. What if I would have had some supernatural motherly instinct that he was going to die? What if the symptoms that he had (if any) would have made him more sick so that we would have taken him to the hospital? What if, what if, what if?!

What if Noah's life had a purpose? Since he was born my brother has told me that he knew God had great plans for Noah. Some people might say that those plans are gone because he's gone at only 5 and a half years old.  Noah brought joy to our family. He changed us forever.  Let me tell you what Noah did for me. I became a Christian in 1998. Since then, there have been two roads I have walked; one following God's direction and the other not so much. Before Noah I was on the wrong road A LOT. I didn't know how to listen to Him. When I went in to labor with Noah at 24 weeks, I prayed and prayed, and prayed some more. I learned what it meant to pray without ceasing. I've prayed for him continuously. Through that prayer I became closer to God. I also learned how to love a person more than myself. Noah gave me joy. He will always be in my heart and on my mind. I will always cherish the joy he gives me. I thank the Lord for his gift to me. 

I have been asking God for an image of Noah in Heaven. I didn't want the image of him on the morning he passed away to be what I remember most. I wrote about this last week. A few days later I had a dream. I was looking through a window and I saw Noah. I was so excited. I waved at him. He winked at me. I remember his big brown eyes. Then I blew him a kiss. To my right I saw an animal. It was an alpaca. I have no idea why that's what I saw, but it's the truth. Haha. I pointed out the alpaca to him and then I saw him run over with a bunch of other kids. There were two boys with dark hair that stood out to me, not sure why. What if this dream was an answer to my prayer? What if that is what it's really like in Heaven? 

Noah is in a perfect place. He can't come back to me, but I will meet him there someday, when it's my time. My friend Melanie sent me this scripture: 

"He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ 23 But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me." 2 Samuel 12:22-23

King David is talking about his son. He said, "I will go to him." We will see Noah again, in Heaven. I was talking to Steven about Heaven the other day. He made a good point. If we didn't have to suffer in this world, and experience pain, we wouldn't understand just how great and perfect Heaven is. I can only imagine. 


Hi pal! I love you so much! Daddy and Theo love you so much, too. I saw you in a dream the other night. It was so nice to see your face again. I hope you are making lots of friends in Heaven. You are such a good friend.
(photo taken Nov. 11th, 2012)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Noah's Move to Heaven

I love this blog. It's my therapy. I can say anything about Noah and not worry about making anyone uncomfortable. If someone reads this, they're probably already prepared to read something that might be difficult to hear. I have to think about things that are difficult to think about. The day of Noah's death is one of them. Sometimes I'm just going about my day doing random things and it dawns on me that he's gone. My mind automatically goes back to that day and I relive it in my mind all over again. This is how I naturally and unwillingly bring myself back to reality. I don't want to be reminded of where Noah is by thinking about this. So, I'm hoping that writing it down will help me to heal. I probably won't read this again because it is very painful to write, but here goes.

Steven, Noah, Theo and I traveled to Oklahoma to visit family and friends on Monday, November 26th. We flew over night so we arrived there Tuesday afternoon. We had flown to Dallas and then drove the rest of the way to Tulsa. I remember Noah saying how happy he was about getting to Grandma and Grandpa's house. I will never forget the look of excitement on his face. We spent the evening at my parents' house. My aunt Ellen and aunt Cindy(who came from Minnesota), came over for dinner. Beans, cornbread, and fried taters. Noah just loved being around his family. He talked to everyone.

The next day (Wednesday) my mom, aunt Cindy, and I spent most of the day shopping at the mall. Noah and Theo spent the day at home with their grandpa and daddy. Steven said Noah would not leave his grandpa alone all day. He just kept talking to him and climbing on him. Grandpa even tried to doze off a few times, to no avail. Once we got home, we went to dinner at Cracker Barrel with Mom and Dad. Noah got pancakes, his favorite. I remember being so tired and grumpy during that dinner, a big regret of mine. After dinner, Steven and I left the boys at Mom and Dad's to go shopping at Wal-Mart. We had a big Christmas party planned the next day at Aunt Ellen's house. While we were gone, Noah and Theo made some Christmas ornaments with Grandma. Those ornaments will be cherished forever. When we got back, Noah was there to greet me at the door with is usual "Mommy!" followed by a hug. Noah helped my mom and I make some chocolate treats for the next day's party. He was just acting a little confused, but totally normal. It just seemed like he was tired. Before bed, his grandma read him a book, Goofy's Big Race. Noah was good at memorizing books, so he read most of the story to her. I gave him a hug good night and tucked him in to bed. He was sleeping in the dining room/formal living room. I told him that I loved him and blew him a kiss. He said, "love you too Mommy, good night." I went back in to the den, which was the next room over, to finish wrapping Christmas gifts. Noah got up one time to go to the bathroom, just a few minutes after he went to bed. This was pretty normal for him. He didn't go to sleep for a while because he was playing shadow puppets with the flashlight Grandma gave him in case he needed to get up in the middle of the night. I had peaked in on him while he was doing this and told him to go to sleep. Those were my last words to him while he was alive. A couple of hours later I needed to get more wrapping paper out of a closet where he was sleeping. I snuck in there to get it and heard him stir because of the noise I made. Mom and Dad had gone to bed earlier. After a finished wrapping gifts, Steven and I went to bed.

The next words I heard where from my mom, "Jenny, I need your help, I can't get Noah to wake up." I immediately jumped out of bed and ran to where he was. "Noah...Noah...Noah?" were my words when I found him. He was laying the way he always did when he slept. Laying on his tummy, face to left, hands tucked under his chest. I rolled him over, his body was stiff, lips were blue, eyes were closed. My son had died in his sleep. I got up to get Steven and almost ran in to him as he was running in to the room. The next thing I did was let out a scream. It just came out without even thinking about it. The only other time I screamed like that was when I thought I was going to lose him when I was pregnant with him. I grabbed the phone to call 911. I was shaking beyond control and had to tell the dispatcher that my son was not breathing and hadn't been for a while. He was telling me to turn him on his back and tilt his head back. Steven was holding him at that point so I told him to do that. I remember Steven saying, "he's gone, he's been gone for a while." After hanging up with the phone I sat next to Noah and just kept saying, "my son, my son." I remember my mom crying and saying, "God, why?" The paramedics came. A short older man walked in first and I could see the sadness on his face as he let out an "oh no." There was another lady there and I asked her if they could tell me what happened. No. The investigators came and asked us questions. The chaplin talked to us. Steven's mentor and the pastor who performed his service came. My aunts came. The police had to go find my dad, he was going to meet someone. Uncle Marvin and aunt Mickey came. They live an hour and a half a way but it seemed like they were there in a matter of seconds. It was all a blur. We had all moved in to the other room while the police and everyone else were doing whatever they were doing. I had to make a phone call to one friend in Oregon to ask my church to pray. When it came time for them to take his body away, Steven wanted to see him, but by law they could not let him. Later the sergeant who had to tell him no sent an apology through Dan, the pastor. I asked my aunt Ellen if we could all go to her house so as soon as the police left, we all went there. Both of our brothers and their wives came over. I think my friends Melissa and Stephenie came that day, or the next. I don't remember exactly what happened the rest of the day. I know I cried and felt like my world had stopped.

"Don't be afraid for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand." Isaiah 41:10

Steven and Theo were riding in the car the other day and the song "Glory to God Forever" by Steve Fee came on the radio. The chorus is:


Glory to God
Glory to God
Glory to God forever

Theo started singing along, but instead of singing the right words, he made up his own. "Where Noah go, where Noah go, where Noah go." He meant, that's where Noah is. With God. My hope, prayer, dream, need is to think of Noah in the presence of God first thing when the time comes to think of him gone. I don't want to have to keep the imagine of him lying in his bed without life, or in a casket. Noah's earthly body is buried, but my Noah, his soul and who he is, is in Heaven. I just wish God could give me a glimpse of him there so I can picture that instead.