Sunday, August 24, 2008


I wrote this piece this morning for a private message board I belong to. Reading over it again, it seemed so appropriate to share with everyone who loved Tommy so much. I hope in the next couple of weeks to be able to share his passing and our continuing journey as a heart family.


It's been such a short, short time, but I've felt Tommy's presence so much that I'm starting to let myself feel peace. There are still moments where it hits me like punch to the gut, but at least now I can talk without just melting into a puddle of incoherent words. Rob and I have spent all of our time together, trying to work through our grief. I'm sure tomorrow at the memorial and again next week at the funeral it will hit me all over again. I'm just taking every second at a time. I've let the boys know that they are allowed to feel any way they want to feel. Matthew is delighted about the memorial service, but he's going to skip the funeral. He wants to go to the family viewing, but the second the minister wants to talk, he said he will need to leave. Brandon spends half of the time blurting out "Tommy's Dead" and an hour later, pointing out a toy at McDonald's and saying that it is for Tommy. I asked him where he thought Tommy was, and he said "the hospital." I told him no, Tommy is in Heaven. I showed him a napkin and told him it was like Tommy's body. Then I showed him my hand. I told him my hand was the part that made us feel Tommy. The part that made him laugh and be happy and the part we love. I put the napkin on my hand and made a puppet, moving the napkin and explained the part inside Tommy made the outside move too. Then I explained that Tommy's body was sick and it was going to stay here and I took my hand away and fluttered it away towards the sky and told him the part that we love and feel went to Heaven. I told him he didn't need his body anymore and that we were going to put it in the ground, but he would always be able to feel Tommy inside. He could even talk to Tommy if he wanted to, and the special place in the ground would be a place we could go visit and remember.

For two days now, every time I looked up at the sky and thought about Tommy or whispered that I missed him, it poured down rain. I felt like the whole world was crying with me, and that Tommy was showing his love right back to me. Late last night, I shared it with Rob. In near shock, he told me the exact thing had happened to him as well. Tommy is everywhere. It doesn't hurt to go to his room anymore, although yesterday was a rough afternoon. The medical supply company came to pick up what belonged to them. Several things stayed. His feeding pump and IV pole that it was attached to (so the feeding bag could hang), his air compressor, his nebulizer and his suction machine. What we can't use for other purposes, we will be donating. I told Rob I didn't know what hurt more, what they took, or what they left behind because now I must find a place for them. We told the boys we would be donating his crib too because its practically brand new. Matthew begged me to keep all of Tommy's clothes and toys. An idea popped into my head right then. I am going to take all of his baby clothes and all of his small blankets and have them made into quilts. There should be enough material to make small ones for each of the boys and for Rob and me.

I'm also thinking about getting a tattoo. I've never, ever considered one until now. It would be small and discreet, but a permanent reminder of my baby boy. My sister is very much into tattooing, so I know where ever she takes me, I will be in good hands. I may change my mind later on, but it's something that keeps popping up in my head.

Last night was a turning point for me. I've been so overcome with grief that I can barely function. I will be so hungry and take one bite and lose my appetite or feel like it's stuck in my throat. Yesterday I ate half a hamburger for lunch and late last night I choked down one slice of pizza. Then Rob and I had a blow up and afterwards, stayed up until 4 in the morning talking and working it out. Right before we decided it was realllly late, I realized for the past hour, we had been laughing and I had not thought about Tommy. It scared me, made me sad and happy at the same time. I felt like I could FINALLY move on just a little. I still have silent tears slip by me.

I've always told myself and anyone that asked me how I ever did what I did for Tommy the same thing. "Whatever it takes". And right now, it takes me trying to be strong. To hold the rest of my family together. To find my comfort and peace as I get through each day. Whether it be by crying, writing, or screaming my head off. Every moment is different. I've played out his death in my head over and over. I've told the story many times. It's freeing. I am comforted knowing he died in a hospital room while I watched every possible thing being done for him. There are no questions or self doubt. If Tommy was meant to live, the doctors could have saved him.

But he wasn't mine. Tommy was an angel on Earth. Every breath he took and every beat of his heart was a miracle. He has taught me so much about how to endure when I don't think I can go on. Tommy always went on, no matter the struggles. It would be an insult to his memory for me to not do the same for him.


Nancy said...

Thank you for opening up and sharing what you are going through. My heart just aches for you and I wish I could be there to give you a huge hug.

Contact me anytime. I think it will be hard for you to STOP doing everything that you have done for Tommy all this time. Maybe we can chat during those times.


Emma R. said...

Thank you so much for sharing that with us. It was so very beautiful. I hope today goes smoothly and I will be thinking of you and your family.


Christy said...

We are all grieving with you Rene

Your family looks to you for strength and for support, but please let yourself cry and grieve with them too. ((HUGS))

Awesome Mom said...

My heart is aching for you too! I wish that I could give you a big hug right now.

Susie said...

Praying for continued peace, Rene. Hugs & prayers.

royster family said...

praying for your family in Alabama.

Nancy said...

Rene, I'm just checking in to see how you are doing. My thoughts and prayers are with you every day.


Miss Lucie said...

Please accept my deepest, heartfelt condolensces.
God put baby Tommy in your hands for he knew you were his angel here on earth. I've never known someone that looks at life ever so wonderful, like yourself. Please know that there's a spot up in Heaven, next to Tommy, for you.

Diagram of Tommy's Heart Defects

Diagram of Tommy's Heart Defects
Double Inlet Left Ventricle with Transpostion of the Great Arteries