Sunday, August 30, 2009

"When I Needed An Angel"

This was sent to me today and I had to share! I have included the song and the lyrics as well.

Dear Donate Life Community,

We are delighted to announce that All-4-One, the Grammy Award-winning R&B/pop group renowned for their 1994 classic “I Swear,” has released a new song inspired by organ donors and transplant recipients, “When I Needed An Angel.” The song, from their forthcoming album No Regrets, is now available on iTunes, as you will read in the attached press release.

The group wrote “When I Needed An Angel” after being touched by inspirational stories of people affected by organ and tissue donation. We are truly honored to have made this connection and are certain that once you hear the song it will touch your heart and you will realize that All-4-One has truly delivered an angel to the Donate Life mission!

The members of All-4-One – Jamie, Delious, Tony and Alfred – are proud to support the Donate Life community. “It means the world to us to be able to contribute something outside of our constant prayers to help people receive an extension of life. Every download of ‘When I Needed An Angel’ will inspire someone to become a donor and help the more than 103,000 people now waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.”

All-4-One will generously contribute $.40 cents of each download from iTunes to support our collaborative efforts to inspire the nation to donate life! We encourage all of you to inform your community of this opportunity to support our life-saving mission!

To download the song, go to iTunes and enter “When I Needed An Angel” in the search field. To listen to the song in its entirety:

what can i say,
when i can’t find the words to possibly explain
what i’m feeling inside
i tried to believe,
my whole kept faith everyday that passed me by
and then you came in my life
and now i am living proof
of what the gift of pure love can do
when i needed an angel
here was you who made the sacrifice
just in the nick of time
when i needed an angel
i didn’t have to look to the sky
cos you made me realize
that you were right here all the time
(right here all the time)
right here all the time
sometimes i cry
when i think about everything you’ve done for me
and i still can’t believe
that i can live my life
every breath i take i take for you and me
that’s a promise i’ll keep
and each night i think of you
and how your gift of love pulled me through
when i needed an angel
here was you who made the sacrifice
just in the nick of time
when i needed an angel
i didn’t have to look to the sky
cos you made me realize
you were right here all the time
(right here all the time)
right here all the time
baby one day everyone will say
that i wanna be somebody’s angel
and i will tell the world (tell the world)
about this miracle
every moment i’m awake
i’ll give the love you gave
ohhh angel..
when i needed an angel
here was you who made the sacrifice
just in the nick of time
when i needed an angel
i didn’t have to look to the sky
cos you made me realize
that you were right here all the time
you were right here all the time

Friday, August 21, 2009

Day One...again

What a year. What a difference. Yesterday started very early for me. I stayed up all night long while a close family friend was in labor. She is in New Jersey, her mother is in South Carolina, and her aunt and grandmother are here in KY with me. Between email, texts and instant messages, we kept each other up to date on her status. It did not escape us that the baby was born one year to the day of Tommy's passing. Tommy must have had some last minute instructions for little Sarie!

After she was finally born at 3:59 am and I had gotten a picture and the word that all was well, I decided to take a short nap before getting the kids up for school. Guess who didn't wake up? It worked out okay because we had planned to pick them up early anyway because of doctor's appointments. Gosh, it all sounds so normal doesn't it?

The appointments were actually for Brandon mostly. I took him to his NP for prescriptions for his behavioral issues. We had done an EKG on him in June and she told me that there was a blip on the EKG so she wanted it repeated before prescribing a stimulant. With the family history of heart defects, it really isn't a good idea for Brandon to be on medication without knowing the state of his heart. We got orders and went to the hospital for another EKG.

We had the technician send preliminaries back to the NP. If all was well, then Brandon would get a prescription for a stimulant. Back to the NP's office to wait. A few minutes later, her nurse was handing me the prescription. Yay! I took it to Walmart to have it filled, but since we are transitioning from one type of insurance to another and are not covered at this time (even though the new insurance said it is processing and will backdate for 3 months) I was told I would need to pay out of pocket for the prescription. $128.00! Called the NP back and was told they would write a prescription for short term Ritalin which was on the $4 dollar plan at Walmart just so he could start on something. We were getting short on time by then, so I opted to wait until Friday to pick up the new prescription.

We stopped to buy bubbles. LOTS of bubbles. Then we stopped to have a late lunch. I didn't have time to sit and mope. After lunch, we took our bubbles to the cemetery and blew bubbles for Tommy. We scheduled a time to blow bubbles at 7pm with everyone across the country in remembrance of Tommy, but we all wanted to visit his grave, and it didn't seem right not to blow a few bubbles there, so we did.

We then got on the road to head to Louisville to meet Rob's family. His grandmother is in a physical rehab facility recovering from heart surgery. Most of Rob's family was going to meet us there to blow bubbles. We were on our way when I got a frantic phone call from the NP's office. Her nurse told me NOT to have the prescription filled because when they got the official report on Brandon's EKG, the blip was still there! They aren't cardiologists so they can't tell me exactly what is going on, but the notes written by the doctor that read the EKG say it is a "borderline EKG with sinus arrhythmia". Not a clue what that means for Brandon. Could be just typical for him, could be something we need to watch. At any rate, I'm calling the doctor's office this morning for an appointment.

We made it to Louisville and had a nice visit with everyone. We went down to the courtyard to blow bubbles. It was amazing seeing them fill the air. I took lots of pictures. I think final count was 90! My mother in law found some sort of bubbles that didn't pop. An hour later, the bubbles were still clinging to the shrubs, the sidewalk and the wall! It was amazing!

After bubbles, Rob, the boys and I made our way to McDonald's for ice cream, then home. Once the boys were in bed, I had time to read all of the beautiful messages left for us online. So many people blew bubbles for Tommy! Rob and I decided to watch a show on Netflix.

I had my first and only surreal moment of the day.

Last year, after we came home to SC after the funeral without the boys, my marriage fell to pieces. Rob moved out after we got home. I was truly completely alone. I washed a lot of laundry and watched a lot of tv at night. One of the things I started watching was a new series on SciFi called "Sanctuary". I always thought Rob would like it, but I could barely get him to talk to me, much less snuggle up and watch a good tv show with me. Guess what series we are now watching on Netflix. Together. "Sanctuary". Only this time around, we're snuggled together on the couch after a day of celebrating our beautiful son together.

In the past year, we have gone from losing the most precious thing in our lives, losing our home, our income, our children and our marriage to having a safe, stable home, a new job, happy kids and a marriage that is blessed and strong. Life is so different! I would love to say "my life is so much better than last year", and it is, but it feels like I'd be betraying Tommy's memory. I'd give up my last breath to be able to hold him again.

This time, a year ago, my world was falling apart. My arms hurt from not holding Tommy. My eyes were sore from crying and my heart was broken. I woke up empty and alone. This morning, I woke up in my husband's loving arms and got up and put my kids on the school bus. They giggled and waved as they went out the door, telling me to have a good day. I think I will.

It has taken me a year, but I have come to learn that Tommy never left me. His body was weak and died, but Tommy has been here all along. I still cry. I've finally come to the acceptance stage of my grief. That's the clinical terminology. I will never "accept" that my son died. I will acknowledge it and admit it, but it will NEVER be okay. My son is an angel because he was born too soon with birth defects his doctors could not fix. There's no cure for heart defects. Heart surgery is a band aid. We need more.

For Tommy and Seamus and Gracie and Hope and Annabelle, all the other angels that have lost their fights.

For all the heart kids too numerous to name here.

My arms are empty again on day one of year two. Life goes on. Sadly, life goes on. A few weeks ago, I thought for sure that I would spend the day locked in my room under the covers bawling my eyes out. I surprised myself. Not to say tomorrow won't look like a good day to do so, but yesterday wasn't. I plan on keeping Tommy's memory alive and strong. He's always with me as I said before and the more I share him, the brighter that light inside of me that is him will shine. When you see me smiling, it isn't because I'm just happy. It's because a little boy gave me the HONOR of being his mommy for 22 months and 25 days.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Remembering Tommy~ Sept 25, 2006-Aug 20, 2008

The Heart

Tonight I received an email from my friend, Sierra. I've seen this before, but today, on the eve of the one year anniversary of Tommy's death (8/20), it hit me right in the gut. I bawled my eyes out. Thank you, Sierra for sending it to me. It was pain and comfort all at the same time.


"Tomorrow morning," the
surgeon began,
"I'll open up your

"You'll find Jesus there,"
the boy

the surgeon
looked up, annoyed "I'll
cut your heart
open," he continued,
to see how much damage
has been

"but when you
open up my heart, you'll
find Jesus in
there," said the boy.

The surgeon
looked to the parents, who
Sat quietly. "When
I see how much
damage has been done, I'll sew
heart and chest back up, and I'll
what to do next."

"But you'll
find Jesus in my heart. The
Bible says He
lives there. The
hymns all say He lives
there. You'll
find Him in my

The surgeon had had enough. "I'll
you what I'll find in your
I'll find damaged muscle, low
supply, and weakened vessels.
I'll find out if I can make you

"You'll find Jesus there too. He

The surgeon

The surgeon sat in his office,
recording his notes from the
"....damaged aorta, damaged pulmonary
vein, widespread muscle
hope for transplant, no hope for cure.
painkillers and bed rest.
here he paused, "death within one

He stopped the recorder, but
there was
more to be said. "Why?" he asked
"Why did You do this? You've
him here; You've put him in this pain;
and You've cursed him to an
early death.

The Lord answered and said, "The
my lamb, was not meant for your
for long, for he is a part of My
flock, and
will forever be.
Here, in My flock, he will
feel no pain, and will be comforted as
cannot imagine.

His parents will
one day join him here,
and they will know
peace, and
My flock will continue to

The surgeon's tears were hot, but
anger was hotter. "You created
boy, and You created that heart.
be dead in months. Why?"

Lord answered, "The boy, My lamb,
return to My flock, for He has
done his duty:
I did not put My lamb
with your flock to lose
him, but to retrieve another lost lamb."
surgeon wept...
surgeon sat
beside the boy's bed; the
parents sat across from him. The boy
awoke and whispered, "Did you cut

"Yes," said the surgeon.
did you find?" asked the boy.

"I found
Jesus there," said the


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

I dreaded my birthday for a whole year. Last year was so miserable that I never wanted another birthday again. But I am loved and many, many people wanted to see me have a happy birthday. Starting at midnight!

My first birthday wish came from my mother in law, who called me at midnight to sing me happy birthday. I had just finished working a 13 hour shift and Rob was driving us home. When I got home, I logged onto Facebook and found a few birthday messages. By the time my birthday was over, I would have about 45 messages! Wow!

My sister called me and sang me happy birthday as well as my mother in law (again) and her sister later that day. My mom is just as busy as I am, so she left my birthday card at work for me. I get a kick out of the fact the card is called "Ode to a Busy Person", LOL! I get my work ethic from her. She's the ultimate "do whatever it takes" mom!

Rob and I went out for lunch. We went to a local Mexican restaurant here in town and had lunch special fajitas! Yummy and low carb! I ended my day by working a short shift at work. I told Rob I wanted birthday cake, but he thought I was joking because I have been such a stickler on this diet about low carbs. I ended up getting cupcakes on the way home and made him sing me happy birthday while I ate them.

I have to say the best part of my birthday was hearing Rob tell me happy birthday and that he loved me. I've kept a lot of things private, but last year on my birthday I didn't hear either of those things from him. I am so thankful for the changes in my marriage. I could have went the whole day without another birthday wish after hearing one from him. It really did put me on cloud nine.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Grief..and Peace

I have been asked to attend a Women's Revival Saturday morning. The topic is dealing with losing your child and grief. The lady that invited me, Lisa, lost her children 4 years ago in a fire. Yet, she reaches out to me and tells me that what I have gone through is worse. Much worse. In our talks this past week, she has asked me to speak tomorrow as well. She thinks God will speak through me, hoping to help someone there that needs to be spoken to. I have agreed.

I am conflicted by Lisa telling me that what I have gone through is worse. Losing a child is losing a child. She says because Tommy was sick and we knew he would be born sick that essentially we grieved from the moment he was born. I guess she is right. I never looked at it that way before, but it makes sense. I grieved a healthy pregnancy that I did not have. I grieved not having my perfect, healthy child. I grieved unmet milestones and delays. I just never knew that was what I was feeling.

I am really looking forward to tomorrow. My sorrow is changing. It no longer holds me down and drags the tears out of me. My sorrow is beginning to turn into positive things. If talking about surviving Tommy's death helps ONE person tomorrow, then it will all have been worth the struggle.

I never thought I would see this day. The day God let my heart start to heal and allow me to say that I am at peace. I will never stop loving my little boy, but I've moved into a place where I can love him even more, if that were ever possible. Tommy has moved into a special place in my heart and is always near. He allows me to reach out to those hurting and share his love.

The sweet little boy who lived inside of my body and was given life by my life has done the same for me. His life has given me MY life. A new purpose, a hope, and reason to live again. His memory will help me reach out to those hurting and show them what love is. Tommy was perfect love. Tomorrow, I will use that love to let the Spirit guide my words. As long as he lives in my heart, Tommy lives on forever.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Random Thoughts

Coming into August, I was nervous I would be a wreck every single day, but strangely, life has been somewhat normal. My friend Sheila came down from Indiana for a couple of days and we went to visit Tommy's grave. I guess it is becoming more routine for us, because for once, I didn't cry and the boys laughed as they picked wildflowers to scatter on his grave. Sheila did cry, but it was reality for her. She'd never been.

What else has been going on with us? The boys started school on Tuesday and both of them are loving it.

Rob's grandmother had her heart repaired about 3 weeks ago and is finally well enough to come out of sedation. What a great blessing! It was very touch and go in the beginning.

I managed to sprain my left wrist at work on Tuesday night. Bummer. It really hurts, but I am keeping it wrapped and as long as I don't move it too much the wrong way, it's fine. It hurts a lot less today than it did yesterday, so I am hoping by the end of the weekend, all will be well.

Rob and I, along with some friends started the Atkins diet on Tuesday as well. After the first two days, Rob and I weren't so sure that a high fat diet was good for our hearts, so we have modified it to our needs. Lean meats most of the time and low carb veggies. No butter, salt, fat, mayo or grease. We do indulge in bacon occasionally, but other than that, everything has been lean. I've lost 5 pounds in 3 days. I know, it's all "water weight", but who cares...I've never lost 5 pound in 3 days on any other diet. My goal is to be somewhere in the 135 to 150 range. The scales this morning said 212. I have a long way to go! I am considered to be in a pre-diabetic state, so this has double the health benefits for me by cutting out the carbs. The best part of this diet is that working in a convenience store we have a plethora of pork rinds. LOVE them and they're zero carb. Any time I get the munchies, I grab a bag. Now to find out where we keep the zero carb chocolate chip cookies.

I have a few things coming up in the next two weeks. Matthew has shots next week, I have been invited to hear a speaker on losing a child, my birthday, and finally, the BIG day. The one where I plan to hide in my room and cry all day, but maybe I will surprise myself.

Tommy was joy. Instead of feeling sad and sorry for myself that day, I should make his memory a thing of joy. Yes, there will be tears, I can't stop the tears, but I CAN stop getting prepared to be sad. Tommy's life is worth celebrating every moment. Maybe this is acceptance. Maybe it's denial. Either way, it is not pain today. It might be tomorrow, but for now, I will take feeling good and feeling myself surrounded by Tommy's love.

Diagram of Tommy's Heart Defects

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