Sunday, July 4, 2010


It's funny how a sound can bring memories crashing back to you. The sound of fireworks whistling through the air tonight spun me around, leaving me sad and confused.

Fireworks on the Fourth of July.

In 2007, I watched them from Tommy's hospital room after he had his BT Shunt revision, thankful he was alive because his Glenn could not be done. My tiny little son, not even a year old had just had his second open heart surgery. The fireworks made me feel like we were celebrating our own little independence by making it through surgery even though a week before we were told there was nothing that could be done.

After his shunt revision, we made sure we celebrated everything. Every holiday was marked with fanfare. His birthday was celebrated by so many people near and far. Halloween we dressed him up in a costume too. Christmas was beyond any blessing we could have ever asked for (and still shines in my heart as the most loving thing the world has ever done for us.) He sat on Santa's lap for the first and only time.  Easter, he tasted a chocolate bunny for the first time. He hated it, but I couldn't help but laugh at his expressions of distaste.

And that brings us to the Fourth of July, 2008. I could not wait for the sun to go down that day. When it did and I heard the first whistles of the fireworks, I put Tommy and his gear in his stroller and we went walking with Brandon in search of sparkles in the sky. As Brandon and I oohed and ahhed over the fireworks, I realized Tommy wasn't really that impressed. But then I took a look at us.

We were sitting on top of a hill, outside, together. My baby, in a stroller, outside watching fireworks with the family like any other kid. NOT in the hospital like the year before when we thought he would die. Maybe I just realized he wasn't impressed with the fireworks because there was so much to see in the big world of outside. That was one of the best days of my life. The sound of the fireworks whistling and popping made me feel so strong, so hopeful. My son had made it!!

And then, last year. I stepped outside the store to watch the fireworks and as I looked up to watch the shimmers fall to the earth and heard the snaps and whistles, it hit me like a ton of bricks that the year before my life had been so wonderful. I had everything I could have ever wanted. Husband, beautiful kids, a home, income and my very sick son was alive and thriving.

The fireworks turned into a sad reminder of what used to be. I'll never forget sitting on that hill with Brandon and Tommy that night, watching the beauty in the sky and marveling at how far we had come in the year before. From cheating death to celebrating life to feeling empty and mourning my beautiful son.

When you watch the fireworks Sunday night, I hope you remember Tommy and all that he was able to overcome. For just a little while in his life, Freedom did ring.

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Diagram of Tommy's Heart Defects

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