Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Little Perspective

First, there’s the perspective a grieving parent has from losing a child. I’ve learned to take my worries and my stresses in life with a grain of salt. Kind of like the mentality, “Hey, I’ve survived losing my son, there’s not much else in the world that I can’t survive.”

Then, there’s the perspective that you get in understanding where someone on the other side of the fence is coming from. A couple months ago, I wrote about a co-worker who struggled with saying the word “memorial” to me. I didn’t understand it, and it definitely caught me off guard. Just last week, this very co-worker comes into my office and begins to give me [sort of] an unsolicited explanation. She told me how, as a mother herself, she couldn’t even fathom what I’d been through and that there were no words. None of the “Hallmark” responses felt appropriate. It was just easier for her to not talk about it than to say something wildly inappropriate.

I guess, in a way, I could totally see where she was coming from. I mean, as grieving parents, it’s easy to get upset if someone says the wrong thing to you and it’s just as easy to get upset if someone says nothing to you. For “outsiders”, it’s a tough balance to maintain. And even beyond that, each grieving parent experiences so differently that what works for me might not work for another set of parents or another grieving mother. The thoughts and statements and gestures that have helped me along the way may be offensive or received differently by someone else.

Even as someone who’s been through this tragedy, I may possess a certain level of empathy but I still wouldn’t know the perfect thing to say every single time, in every single situation. And perhaps there just isn’t a perfect thing to say, perhaps there are not a definitive set of guidelines that work across the board. It’s a fine line we walk everyday, just as I’m sure it’s a fine line for non-grievers to walk alongside us.

I just want to thank those of you who’ve continued to walk with us regardless. Whether you’ve said the wrong thing(s), the “perfect” thing(s), or have said nothing at all, I’m still blessed that you’re in my life and that you have let Dylan be a part of yours.

CHD Awareness

For those of you who don't know Dylan's story from the beginning, he was diagnosed with a Congenital Heart Defect at 20 weeks gestation. That was the first indication that we had a very special little boy in our lives. And Dylan's CHD was rare, called Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome. We did alot of research, and read up on all the information that we could muster up online. We had a great pediatric cardiologist already lined up, were going in for constant echocardiograms, met with a top-of-the-line cardiothoracic surgeon at the children's hospital, etc. We went through all the motions necessary for CHD babies (as much of the prep as we could do before birth anyway). So I feel a certain closeness to babies living with a CHD, simply because that's what we were preparing for with Dylan. The surgeries, the medicine, the "he'll never play football". Now while our story didn't quite go as we'd hoped or planned, the extraordinary part is that, in the end, Dylan's heart (defect and all) wasn't what failed his body.

I know that Dylan would've been a special CHD baby himself, and we never stopped having hope that his heart would get the fixin' it needed, function, and thrive. So when I read about other CHD babies, I have the same hope for them. Like Bentley, an adorable 7-month-old who was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot at just 2 days old. She will need surgery in less than 2 months.

Prayers for Bentley

(Click on the picture above to read more about Bentley. Bentley's mommy is doing a giveaway on her blog to spread the word on CHD awareness, so head on over there.)

Monday, April 6, 2009

I Dedicate My First Award to Mike

Kreativ Blogger Award

The Domestic Goddess herself has tagged me with my very first award ever (THANK YOU)! So now I'm supposed to name 7 Things I Love. But since I always have such a difficult time trying to come up with 7 random things or even 7 expected/typical things, I am going to combine this post with another one that I've been planning to write. (And please forgive me in advance for not tagging 7 others, like I'm supposed to . . . I didn't want to deviate too far from my message).

Today, a dear friend of ours is leaving on a jet plane. He has taken a job in California, on the complete opposite coast from us. It feels like the end of an era, and yet we know that we'll see him again and keep in touch often. Anyway, rather than write about any 7 Things We Love, this post will be 7 Things We Love About Mike (it should go without saying that there are more than 7 things we love about this person, but here's what's coming to mind at the moment):

1. The Reader. This is a title that we bestowed on Mike ever since our wedding. He was the lone reader at our wedding and was kind and strong enough to step up to the plate and read at Dylan's memorial as well. He is so well-spoken that we couldn't think of a better person for this job.

2. Peace and Blessings. As much as Mike is an amazing reader, he also writes in a way that is both eloquent and distinct. He always closes every letter that he's ever written to us with Peace and Blessings, and as corny as it may sound, he means it every single time.

3. Dependability. No matter what's going on, Mike is the kind of guy you can call on to be there . . . even if it's 8:30 in the morning on a Saturday, and he's got a 30+ minute drive . . . :) (Thank you for being the only friend present at our convalidation, it meant so much to us).

4. Loyalty. (And we don't mean only when it's convenient for him. ;)

5. Honesty. No matter how awkward it may be, Mike always manages to tell us the truth, whether we want to hear it or not.

6. Generosity. Mike is always giving so much more than what's expected, and in many cases, so much more than some deserve. There is no way we could ever pay Mike back for all that he's given us, so hopefully in the meantime, our friendship will suffice.

7. Karaoke. Mike introduced us and all of our friends to Korean Karaoke bars. So much fun! The rooms are private, and we only need to act a fool in front of people we already know, so it always takes the edge off. Plus, we can always count on Mike to sing the sappy ballads, like "Wherever You Will Go" by The Calling. How very fitting right now:

So lately, been wonderin
Who will be there to take my place
When I'm gone, you'll need love
To light the shadows on your face

If a great wave should fall
It would fall upon us all
And between the sand and stone
Could you make it on your own

If I could, then I would
I'll go wherever you will go
Way up high or down low
I'll go wherever you will go

And maybe, I'll find out
The way to make it back someday
To watch you, to guide you
Through the darkest of your days

If a great wave should fall
It would fall upon us all
Well I hope there's someone out there
Who can bring me back to you

Runaway with my heart
Runaway with my hope
Runaway with my love

I know now, just quite how
My life and love might still go on
In your heart and your mind
I'll stay with you for all of time

If I could turn back time
I'll go wherever you will go
If I could make you mine
I'll go wherever you will go