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.