Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Valentine's Day

In the past, Rob was never the type to make a big deal out of girly holidays. You know, birthdays, Mother's Day, and the big one...Valentine's Day. I tried to be the strong silent type and suck it up. Usually I cried myself to sleep after he fell asleep so he wouldn't know how disappointed I was. I tried hints, I flat out told him what I wanted, it was just that it wasn't important to him, and as the years went by for us, we grew further and further apart until our own personal wants were being fulfilled before we were considering each other.

Then Tommy died. Even though we have other children, and they are important to us, Tommy consumed us. He was our world and everything in our lives revolved around his beaming presence. Life with Tommy was chaos. Everything we did had to fit with his needs. Whether it was going to the store to buy groceries or just taking a nap. Everything had to be coordinated and supervised. Forget holidays. We were lucky to remember our names after a hard day with Tommy. The first half of the year was hard enough by itself. Surgery and bronchs for his esophagus to try to correct his swallow. Illness that landed him in the ICU. More surgery, this time on his trachea to open his airway. More bronchs. Tommy was hospitalized for something once a month.

Then came the second half of the year and we were slammed with Rob losing his job and the death of our beloved Tommy. Our marriage suffered. We stopped living as husband and wife just to deal with Tommy's needs. I had not slept in our bed for over a year because I had to sleep next to Tommy in case he stopped breathing or needed suctioning at night. His room was too far from ours, so I slept on the couch outside his door. When he died, our marriage had nothing left to hold it together. I truly felt I lost Tommy and my husband on the same day. Rob was suffering as much as I was, but he could not turn to me in his grief. So we both grieved alone. It was the most heart wrenching time I have ever been through in my life.

We did briefly separate. We even looked into a divorce, but in the end, we found our way back to each other. We started grieving and healing together. We put the broken pieces back together. Life became different for us. So very different. Life didn't feel like it was hopeless anymore. We had lost everything and yet, we found each other again. We shared the heart walk together last week. We hold hands every day now. We've decided that life is too fragile and precious. We don't take anything for granted anymore. Every second of our lives together and with our boys is a gift. Rob has asked me to be his wife again. We never officially separated or signed any papers, but his asking was an affirmation that we still want to spend the rest of our lives together. I said yes.

Two days ago, we got into an argument. I had been looking for a small touch lamp for our bedroom for weeks and could not find one that I liked. I finally spotted it at a flea market and was prepared to buy it. As we walked around the building, I asked him to stop and look at something with me and he told me no, he didn't feel like it. For whatever reason, I got my feelings hurt and told him to forget the lamp and that I was going to wait outside. I started feeling that maybe it was too good to be true, that our marriage was in trouble again. I was scared and angry. We had a flat on the way home and working to get that fixed added to my already stressed out mood.

The ice storms had knocked out power here for 10 days and we had been on our way home for the first time since. We stopped at his grandparent's house to pick up our things. Rob went ahead to our house to turn on our main breakers so our heat would come on. We went out to get something to eat with his mom, and then we were headed home. By then, I felt better, but still had that lingering doubt about his love for me. Until I walked into our bedroom. It only took 11 years, but I finally got a Valentine! Yep. He's a keeper.


Anonymous said...

It's such a shame you have to complain over not getting gifts. I would assume having a roof over your head and food to eat after the year you have been through would be enough. The money you are getting is for your food and to pay your bills not for luxury items. Maybe this sort of spending was what got you into trouble in the first place after you lost your son's income when he died.

I don't see why you are bragging about things recently. You are still exactly where you were before his death. Living in a trailer, depending on other people to help support you, and getting a small check for unemployment instead of your son's disablities. You and your husband say you can't find jobs, yet he had one and left it because he "missed your family" well he needs to man up and do his part. And if you were any kind of mother you would get out and work at McDonald's if you had to, if it meant feeding your kids and getting off food stamps.

I am sorry for your loss and sorry your husband is not well, but I think people are getting tired of you complaining about unimportant things like gifts. I think you need to grow up and realize that you are your husband are responsible for yourselves and your children. No one else is, not your family or the tax payers .I know I am not the only one who thinks you are lazy and just want to "get by" in life. Grow up, get a life and be a woman, take care of your family instead of sitting around and bitching.

I know that you won't post this on your site, because you are too afraid for people to know the truth about you, and that is fine I just really wanted you to know what people think of you. These are not just my words. MANY people have expressed their thoughts and concerns about you to me.

Anonymous said...

I too agree with the above comment. Pull your big panties up and be an adult. I am sorry for the loss of your child but make a home for your other children, they deserve it.

Wendy (heart mom to Christopher) said...

Normally I don't comment much. I'm a heart mom too and I stumbled upon your blog about sweet Tommy one day. I don't know who the anonymous posters are, but clearly they have no clue what life is like when you have a child with CHD and other complications. They have no idea the stress it causes on relationships and the costs incurred for hospital stays and the separation. They've also never lost a child and have no respect for the personal and deep grief you are feeling.
I just wanted you to know that there are those of us out there who know what CHD is like and, even though we don't walk in your shoes, we do walk our own path and appreciate the challenges and how it turns your life upside down.
It sounds to me that things are turning around for you guys, despite many many challenges. You're together again with your boys and you're figuring out how to move forward without Tommy.
You're a strong person, please don't let these anonymous posters get you down.

Anonymous said...

Come on people, give Renee a chance. She is trying here! I can't imagine going through what she has gone through for the past few years. It takes amazing strength. You can tell from her blogging that she loves her family and cares deeply about what her future will be. Food stamps ARE FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED THEM. She probably won't need them in a few years or maybe a few months, BUT THEY ARE MADE FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED A LITTLE EXTRA HELP. Also, I don't remember her saying she was on them, but if she is good for her for taking advantage of a program that was meant to help those in need.

Dottie said...

that is great!!!! I have done that a few times, wanted something and was told no to find out I got it for a present. I'm glad you got your lap and his little heart valetines where cute to boot! I wouldnt give much thought to the anonymous posters. they are just that anonymous!

Wendi Hundley said...

It is unfortunate that the anonymous people who posted here feel are so bitter and upset. Reading the anonymous posts brought tears to my eyes. Those comments were not constructive... they were cruel and aimed to hurt. I think your family has had enough hurt for a lifetime. I'm proud of you for how you responded. Keep your chin up and keep doing the best you can. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.

Andrea said...

Rene, I just saw this site, and I love it and you guys. However, I have to say to Anonymous and Anonymous' only friend below him/he, why don't YOU grow up and stop griping and complaining. You say be a woman and do this and that. Well, why don't YOU be an adult and stop hiding behind an Anonymous name and stop your whining because you don't like what someone says. You're being ignorant and childish coming on here acting like an arse. If you're so much better than everyone else, why hide?

Rene and her family is by far one of the most incredible examples of love, strength, faith and hope. I love you guys!


Diagram of Tommy's Heart Defects

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