Saturday, November 29, 2008

If I Must

Okay, I gave in and finished decorating the Christmas tree today. I put one ornament on the tree last night and just gave up. But the first ornament on our Christmas tree this year was this:

I let the tree sit overnight with just that ornament on it, and then I finally found the desire and energy to finish trimming the tree today. But Dylan's little face sits right in the middle of all of it. And it's the first ornament my eye goes to now, everytime I look at the tree.

*** UPDATE ***

I was bound and determined to have an angel as a tree-topper this year. We've had a rinky-dink star at the top of our tree for the past couple of years. I thought it was time we graduated to an actual angel. We laid down some moolah on this beauty:

She's now a good 20% of our tree, but I love her nonetheless!

And then, we stumbled upon this and just HAD to buy it (of course):

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I'm Thankful For

The following is a short list of "Dylan-isms" that we're thankful for:

1. 6 days of life

2. getting to hold him

3. getting to bathe him

4. he was not a fussy baby

5. getting lost in his beautiful eyes

6. having his entire hand grip tightly around our fingers

7. he was in the care of some of the best medical professionals

8. having tons of pictures of our time with him, that we can cherish forever

9. he was the cutest thing we've ever laid our eyes on (yes, we're partial)

10. the unconditional and irreplaceable love that he brought to our lives

That's just the 10 that I could think of on the spot. I'm sure there's about a million more. I hope everyone's Thanksgiving Day was an enjoyable start to a wonderful holiday season.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Things That Get Me By

Kindness of Strangers

The apathetic void that I'm feeling at work by those closest to me is actually being filled by people I barely know or don't know at all. Last night, for example, I was shopping for a new dress. I wasn't even set on buying anything, but because these women were so nice and accomodating, I almost felt obligated. They weren't doing it for commission or to get anything else out of it, they were just doing it because they enjoyed their jobs (which many people, including myself, don't have right now).

So my frustration was building in the dressing room, as I was trying on dress after dress that just didn't look as flattering on me as they did on the size 0 mannequins. The lady could probably sense my frustration, so I explained to her that I'd just had a baby a few months ago and I'm not back to my old figure. Well, I finally found a beautiful dress, and after I was done checking out, the lady asked how old my baby was. I said, "Well, I had a son in June, but unfortunately he passed away." The cashier who checked me out almost started crying and she said with much empathy, "I was pregnant 6 times and only have 3 kids." They both said they would pray for me, and I left the store with such a feeling of satisfaction. Sometimes, I just need people to acknowledge my reality, whether or not they understand what I'm going through.

Epiphanies and Enlightenment

I don't discuss much about religion or God on this blog. I'm not a preacher, so I won't preach. I've always believed that people have every right to put their faith where they feel necessary, and I'm not going to be that person that imposes my beliefs on others. Anyway, this next little anecdote is part of my faith journey that I actually wanted to share. I asked Justin if he was angry at God for what happened to Dylan, and he answered quickly and steadfastly, "No". Of course I wanted him to elaborate. After all, he's a father who'd just lost his son, he had every right to be angry and bitter. He said, "God doesn't interfere. He knew exactly what was going to happen, but He doesn't interfere." I was completely taken off gaurd, but in the best way possible. It's like my vision of God was shifted, shaken to the core, but it made perfect sense.

In order for people to believe in Free Will (which I do), you almost have to accept this version (I'm not sure if that's the right word) of God. In order for me to stop being angry at God and shaking my fists in the air (because I don't want to be angry at God), I had to believe that God doesn't desire to punish people. He doesn't will for bad things to happen to anyone. The reality of life is that bad things do happen, and God is simply there for us to pick up the pieces in the aftermath. It absolutely harkens back to the Footprints in the Sand poem. We experience times of trial and suffering, God doesn't stop or prevent that. But that is when God is carrying us. And then Justin showed me this poem:

And God said "no"
-Author Unknown

I asked God to take away my grief,
And God said no-
It is not for me to take away,
But for you to work through.

I asked God to make my broken heart whole,
And God said no-
Your spirit is whole.
Your pain is only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience,
And God said no-
Patience is a by-product of tribulation.
It isn't granted, it's earned.

I asked God to give me happiness,
And God said no-
I give you blessings.
Happiness is up to you.

I asked God to spare me pain,
And God said no-
suffering draws you apart from worldly cares,
And brings you closer to Me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow,
and God said no-
Grow on your own.
I do the pruning that makes you fruitful.

I asked God if He loved me,
And God said yes-
I gave my only son to die for you.

I asked God to help me love others,
As much as He loves me.
God said, "Ah, finally you have the idea."

Justin's been carrying this on a folded-up piece of paper in his Bible, ever since he "accidentally" stumbled upon it one day at work.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Down Memory Lane

Or street, whatever the case may be. I had to go to an office building off Clifton Road for work today. I will never forget Clifton Road. It's the street where Egleston Hospital (where Dylan spent his final days) is located. I'm familiar enough with the area to drive the route without needing directions. As I navigated the back roads leading up to Clifton, I found myself turning back to the morning of Saturday, June 14, 2008. After I got released from Northside, Justin and I sat in the car and cried the entire the way to Egleston. We exchanged few words.

Today, as I took the same route, I felt myself flashing back to that ride. It hit me like a ton of bricks, really. I didn't expect it. The tears started flowing down my face, and I looked in my rearview mirror and saw the guy in the car behind me singing to himself and was instantly back in real-time. I wasn't headed to the hospital. I wasn't headed to see Dylan.

And you know, in a sense, it's a relief. I can't imagine what it would be like if Dylan were still in the hospital. As much as I want my son here with me (more than anything in the world), I'm relieved. Just like in the first few minutes after he died, there's that sense of relief that he's no longer pained, no longer suffering, and he's healed and whole in heaven.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Words of Wisdom

The following is just a list of quotes I've compiled over that last few months that struck me enough to write them down. I don't have sources or authors for any of them, they're merely a compilation of things I heard in passing or read somewhere:

"God's grace is working through you."

"This too shall pass."

"He who does not weep, does not seek."

"The hardest part of saying goodbye is having to do it again every, single day."

"You will soar on wings of eagles. You will run on legs that never get weary."

"Courage is grace under pressure."

"Don't be too scared to live your dreams."

"What you accomplish is never as important as what you had to overcome to accomplish it!"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Dylan would’ve been 5 months today. Looking back on the highs and lows of the last 5 months, I realize how much we’ve overcome. Dylan was a fighter because he took after Justin and I and our fighting spirits. I made the comment to Justin today that we may not have as much money as our friends, but we’re the richest people I know.

I still cry occasionally, but it becomes less and less frequent. I think of Dylan everyday, but rather than hold on to the pain, I celebrate his life. I sit and stare at our many pictures of him with fondness, remembering our handsome son. How cute his feet were. How soft his spiky hair was. How tight his grip was. How amazing it was to stare into his beautiful eyes.

I realize how much this experience has shaped me. I realize the kind of strength it takes. I realize the kind of man I’m privileged to be married to. I realize the burden that we’ve been blessed (yes, blessed) with.

I always tell Justin that this happened to us for a reason. God knew we could handle this, that not every parent can, and that we would come out of this better people than we went into it. The things Dylan has taught us have been priceless. Faith, Strength, Hope. Everything that I am now, I owe to my son.

Closing Thoughts of the Day

“A wife who loses a husband is called a widow.
A husband who loses a wife is called a widower.
A child who loses his parents is called an orphan.

But . . . there is no word for a parent who loses a child,
that's how awful the loss is!”
--J. Neugeborren

“Can you please,
remind me how you feel?
This emptiness is real,
I can't bear the thought of it.
And please, remind me how to smile,
I lost track after awhile.
Is happiness so hard to get?”
--Butch Walker (song lyrics)

Friday, November 7, 2008


This'll just be a "quickie" post. Anyway, while perusing blog sites the other day, I stumbled across, where they memorialize angelbabies by writing their name in sand. I didn't send in for one of my own, but I did search the site for one (and found two). I thought they were pretty cool:

And then I was inspired to write:

I Wrote Your Name
By Katrina
In Memory of Dylan Gabriel

I wrote your name in the sand,
but the waves washed it away.

I wrote your name in the clouds,
but the wind blew it away.

I wrote your name on the sidewalk,
but the rain drizzled it away.

I wrote your name on a cake,
but the dog ate it away.

I wrote your name on paper,
but it somehow got thrown away.

You wrote your name on our hearts,
where it will never go away.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Just Random Things

I'm Restless

I'm at work, and I know I don't want to be here right now. I'd rather be at home taking care of Dylan. There are random times in my day-to-day life when I stop because I get the overwhelming feeling that I should be doing something, and then I realize exactly what it is. I should be taking care of Dylan. I haven't personally felt the "heavy arms" phenomenon, but maybe this is what it feels like to have a heavy heart.

My Husband's Profound

I know that what Justin and I share is a deep and passionate and profound love. It's what I've always wanted in my life. Justin completes me; we complete each other. The sheer and utter strength of our relationship having survived what we have this year will only continue to grow.

And when I have no words (which is rare), he always has the perfect ones. Yesterday, he cc'd me on an e-mail he wrote to his aunt. His words were so touching and eloquent: "Its become very easy and even refreshing to talk about Dylan, and always wonderful to look at pictures of him. We've got them up all over and can't help but smile every time we see our little angel. We know that he's with God in Heaven and nothing ill can come to him now. We take comfort in knowing that HE's the lucky one, and WE're the ones that have to work through this rough world. We just have to remember that our hearts may be broken with him gone, but our spirits are whole with Christ."

Justin is so inspiring. After everything went down with Dylan, there was one constant that I could find peace in: "I know one thing's for sure. Justin is a wonderful father," I would tell people. Most people don't get a chance to "test-drive" their parenting skills (pardon the analogy). But I had the utmost pleasure to watch Justin in action. I can stand firm in knowing that there isn't a prouder or better or more loving father out there.

Closing Borrowed Writing

A Different Child
by Pandora MacMillian

People notice
There's a special glow around you.

You grow
Surrounded by love,
Never doubting you are wanted;
Only look at the pride and joy
In your mother and father's eyes.

And if sometimes
Between the smiles
There's a trace of tears,
One day
You'll understand.

You'll understand
There was once another child
A different child
Who was in their hopes and dreams.

That child will never outgrow the baby clothes
That child will never keep them up at night
In fact, that child will never be any trouble at all.

Except sometimes, in a silent moment,
When mother and father miss so much
That different child.

May hope and love wrap you warmly
And may you learn the lesson forever
How infinitely precious
How infinitely fragile
Is this life on earth.

One day, as a young man or woman
You may see another mother's tears
Another father's silent grief
Then you, and you alone
Will understand
And offer the greatest comfort.

When all hope seems lost,
You will tell them
With great compassion,
"I know how you feel.
I'm only here
Because my mother tried again."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

First November Post

I'm a Voter

I won't go into a political rant or discuss the candidates. Rather than tell you who I voted for, I will share why I voted. The whole time I waited in line, I thought about Dylan and how I would've been shaping his future. I thought about the environment and education. I thought about the health industry. As Justin and I continue to move on without Dylan here, we must keep faith that more children are in our future and that our votes today will make a difference in their lives also.

Halloween Aftermath

So yesterday, when my co-workers asked how my Halloween went, my constant answer was "mellow". And it was pretty chill, but what I really wanted to say was, "Well, I wish Dylan was there."

Our Dog's Intuition

I always wonder if dogs are inherently intuitive. When we look at our dog Inu, sometimes we say, "I wonder what he's thinking". I asked Justin the other day if Inu knew what happened to us in June, if he understood what was happening the whole time I was pregnant. I read a few books that said dogs can "smell" it. But could he comprehend the fact that we left for the hospital and came back days and days later empty-handed? Could he understand what happened?

Being the lucky recipient of all the extra love and attention we came home with, he probably had some idea. He probably realizes that the door to Dylan's nursery always stays closed. And he's always there to wipe (or lick) the tears off my face if I've been crying. Yeah, he knows.

Closing Borrowed Writing

Thoughts on Becoming a Mother
-Author Unknown

There are women that become mothers without effort, without thought, without patience or loss and though they are good mothers and love their children, I know that I will be better.

I will be better not because of genetics, or money or that I have read more books but because I have struggled and toiled for this child. I have longed and waited. I have cried and prayed. I have endured and planned over and over again.

Like most things in life, the people who truly have appreciation are those who have struggled to attain their dreams. I will notice everything about my child. I will take time to watch my child sleep, explore and discover. I will marvel at this miracle every day for the rest of my life.

I will be happy when I wake in the middle of the night to the sound of my child, knowing that I can comfort, hold and feed him and that I am not waking to take another temperature, pop another pill, take another shot or cry tears of a broken dream. My dream will be crying for me.

I count myself lucky in this sense; that God has given me this insight, this special vision with which I will look upon my child that my friends will not see.

Whether I parent a child I actually give birth to or a child that God leads me to, I will not be careless with my love.

I will be a better mother for all that I have endured. I am a better wife, a better aunt, a better daughter, neighbor, friend and sister because I have known pain.

I know disillusionment as I have been betrayed by my own body. I have been tried by fire and hell many never face, yet given time, I stood tall.

I have prevailed.

I have succeeded.

I have won.

So now, when others hurt around me, I do not run from their pain in order to save myself discomfort. I see it, mourn it, and join them in theirs.

I listen.

And even though I cannot make it better, I can make it less lonely. I have learned the immense power of another hand holding tight to mine, of other eyes that moisten as they learn to accept the harsh truth and when life is beyond hard. I have learned a compassion that only comes with walking in those shoes.

I have learned to appreciate life.

Yes I will be a wonderful mother.