Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Melody of Grief

The Melody of Grief

There once was a song within me, a beautiful, beautiful song.  A song that I couldn't wait to hear.

Feeling quite like an accomplished composer, the day arrived for me to birth this beautiful song that I had been nurturing for nine months.  I was full of anticipation to hear the melody that I had only dreamed of.

But something went terribly wrong.

The song was over before it even had a chance to play or be heard by anyone…

The song was over.

The melody of that first cry, the one I had longed to hear, had been replaced with terrorizing screams and moans from those around me.

The melody of my voice admiring how beautiful he was had been replaced with my blood curling screams “why isn't he crying?” 

The melody of “oohs and ahhs” had been replaced with “Oh My God!” and “Lord help us!”

The melody was not beautiful it was tragic!

The song was not supposed to be over!

The melody of the firsts had been replaced with the lasts.

The melody was harsh.

The melody was so unexpected.

The melody of life had been replaced with death.

The melody brought silent lullabies and a tiny cross that would stand firm in the ground to represent that the song was over.

The melody changed me.

The melody is never silenced even when the world is screaming around.  The melody plays on…

The melody grabs my soul from the very threads holding my heart together when the weakest of cries are heard from a small one nearby and it catapults me to places I don’t want to be.

The melody does not come with a fast forward button but generously offers the rewind button all too often along with the pause button, so unkind for it also offers the “what ifs” and “if only's.”

The melody of grief and the rhythm it carries are brutally exhausting.

The echo relentless.

The song may be over but the melody will last forever…

The melody of grief.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

12 Day (Back to School) Bucket List

The countdown is here, 13 days left until the boys go back to school..(big sigh!)

I am really going to miss making jelly sandwiches!  Really!!!  I have become a professional ninja-like jelly sandwich maker!  Mad skills Mama!  ;)

Earlier today, I was in the pool with the boys and we were talking about getting ready to go back to school. I am not ready for them to go back!  Summer is too short!

Wanting to pack as many memories in with the time we have left, I decided to ask them if they wanted to make a 12 day bucket list to do before school starts!  They were all over it!

I ran into the house to get a pen and paper and ran back out to the pool to hear my boys so excited over making this list.  (big mama grin)

I wanted to share this idea with you in case you are also wanting to pack in some last minute memories of the 2013 Summer!  

I had them brainstorm all of their ideas and I wrote each one down.  This evening when their daddy gets home from work, we will go through them and make the 12 Day (Back to School) Bucket List together.

After narrowing down the top 12, we will add lagniappe!  But the top 12 must  be done and must be done as a family!  And at least one must be done per day!  

I am including the wonderful things we have to choose from, straight from the boys!  

I must say that I am excited that we decided to do this and I know that we will make some really great memories that will add to our collection!

(I am betting that if you know my boys, you know just which one picked what!)  ;)

The list is in no particular order, just written randomly as it was said.
Here we go:

family flag football or baseball game
laser tag (we have 4 laser guns and it is so fun to play at home, highly recommend!)
family 4 wheeler ride through trail (this would include me...oy vey!)
go to the creek
play Apples to Apples
make root beer floats
stay up all night 
family fishing day
scavenger hunt
camping (Nate said in tents, Will said in Pop's RV!)
family barbecue
batting practice
shoot fireworks
spend time at Pop and Nanas
spend time at Maw Maw and Paw Paws
have late night ice cream snacks
jump into fresh water puddles after the rain
family fitness day
family shopping day (ah, be still my heart, Will is just like his mama!)
squirrel or rabbit hunting
Barq's Root Beer in the bottle with peanuts in it (that's a southern thing!) 
fried chicken on a Friday night (oh here's the story that goes along with that one)- Nate says "Mom, since tomorrow is Friday, we should have fried chicken." Before I could respond, Will shouts "oh oh, and a pair of jeans that fit just right!" Thank you Zac Brown...thank you!)

As you can see, we are going to have some fun, huh?  :)  I love that they love to spend time together and that they love and value family time!  That is so important to us!  

I am not sure which ones will make the top 12, but I am looking forward to finding out!

More importantly, I am looking forward to making the most out of the next two weeks and this is going to be a great way to do that!

A special thank you to my boys for making this amazing list for us to do!  

And a big heart full of gratitude that we have the opportunity to make memories with them like this!  I know what a GIFT that is!!!

Summer won't last but these memories sure will!!!

Signing off,
Grateful Mama

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Worst Day of My Life

Have you ever noticed the men standing around the cemetery near the work van with a glass of iced tea and a shovel?  That is one memory I have when we pulled away from the cemetery after we left Matthew there. They were standing beneath a shade tree waiting for us to pull away so they could cover my sweet son's body with dirt.  Ugh.  I still see it today.  I still see those men, waiting.  I knew what they were there to do, I knew what those shovels were going to be used for and to this day become sick at my stomach when I think about it.

So here we are, July 23, 2013 and that image is still here.  Just as though it happened yesterday.

July 23, 2005, eight years ago today, we buried our son.

It was the first day I saw my son, held my son, and the last day I saw my son, held my son.

Doesn't seem right, does it?

Some would think that July 2, 2005, the day Matthew was born into this great big world and the day he left this great big world would have been the worst day of my life...

Sometimes I think it should have been too.

But, it wasn't.

July 23, 2005, was the WORST DAY OF MY LIFE.

Somehow on the worst day of my life, this was one of the greatest moments of my life.

When Matthew passed away, I was in and out of consciousness and on life support for the following four days, in the hospital for two weeks and completely unaware of the reality of what had happened to me or to my baby boy.

Three weeks to the very day he was born, I saw that reality in that little "white bed" surrounded by baby blue flowers and peace plants.

This was real.  He was gone.

This was the worst day of my life.

I shudder to think about this day because of the sorrow that this day fills  me with.  But I also love to remember this day because this is the only day I held my little boy in my arms, the little boy I carried for nine months inside of me, this was the day.  There is a beautiful agony in the midst of it all. I cannot forget that.

This was the day I survived without ever knowing I could or would.

This day, the worst day of my life, I survived.

I often think of life after losing Matthew and the hard, really difficult days, the ones that make you want to quit breathing, those days, and I think about July 23, 2005, the WORST DAY OF MY LIFE, and I think if I survived that, I can survive ANYTHING.

And I have survived an awful lot.

I found the following definition of survive and I though I would share it with you today:


1. To remain alive or in existence.
2. To carry on despite hardships or trauma; persevere
3. To remain functional or usable:

Surviving isn't a life achievement for me, at least it won't be until I have left this earth for I will be on this road of survival until my very last breath.  Survival is a choice I have to make every day of my life and will have to continue to make every day of my life.  It is a continual process, one that I will grow old learning to do and one I will remain humble to not  knowing how to do it all just right.  Sometimes it is an epic failure. Sometimes a huge success.  Both are okay.  Learning process, continual, like I said.

I survive with my faith, with my family, friends and the wonderful support system that God has given to me and the hope that I have in my heart knowing I will be in heaven one day with Matthew!  

With that, I am blessed.  Richly blessed.

I am heartbroken, yes I am, for no mother should know what it feels like to touch the top of a little "white bed" adorned with flowers...no mother. No mother should see shovels like I did.  No mother.

But it happens, it happened to me, and I know it has happened to many of you.

Today, I find great strength in being able to stand (or scream, or cry, or fall or whisper) and say I survived the WORST DAY OF MY LIFE!

Did you?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Uterine Rupture~ did you know it could happen to you?

Uterine rupture stinks no matter how it happens.

It is terrible.

It is tragic.

It is life changing.

For me, it caused the death of my son and permanent injuries that would last my entire life time.

It was terrible.

It was tragic.

It was life changing.

I think that many expecting mothers that have not had a previous c-section with another child are unaware of the potential that this could happen to them, even with an unscarred uterus.

It happened to me.

I wasn't trying a VBAC, I delivered our first son vaginally.  And I delivered Matthew vaginally as well.

Unfortunately my rupture was not caught in time to prevent Matthew's death or permanent injuries for me, but the awareness of uterine rupture and my story has the potential to save another baby's life and prevent mothers from suffering as I do with the loss of a child and with physical damages to their body.

I am going to be speaking out about uterine rupture more for I feel there is a need to educate expecting mothers on the unexpected, the unexpected that I know about, the unexpected that happened to me.

The warnings are usually implied on a scarred uterus and people then debate VBAC or not...there was never anything for me to debate.

Uterine rupture stinks no matter how it happens.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Car seat-check, Smiles- check, Man staring- check, check, check!

The day we went to pick Will up was a day we WILL  NEVER, EVER FORGET!!!

We cried, we laughed, we cried, we laughed...and then some!

It was a day we didn't know if we were bringing a baby home or not- it was a day we were fully relying on God's will in our lives!

I am going to share with you just a few of the funny things that happened that day as I said I would in my last post, you can catch up here-  If you haven't read it, you won't understand the BMW...so go back and read it before you go on!  

Because bringing a baby home was a SURPRISE to our parents, (if we brought him home), we had to fake needing to go "somewhere" so my  mom would watch Nathan and so she wouldn't question why we weren't at lunch at her house with all my siblings...after all, it was Grandparent's Day~  And a Sunday~  so normally, it would have been church and then to both sets of grandparents house!  BUT...not this day!

When we left Nathan at my parent's house, we were so nervous!

It was lightly raining when we headed toward the destination of our baby, maybe.

We had each other and a BMW convertible. 

What else did we need, right?


We didn't have anything for a baby anymore, other than Matthew's special things I kept, but everything else, crib, high chair, bouncy seat, and ALL the rest of the stuff, we had donated to charity and we were empty handed!

We didn't even realize it until we were headed to our destination, so we decided we better stop at Walmart!

Oh yep- because Walmart is where you go to get those things, right?

So, there we stood in the baby department, not knowing if we were bringing a baby home or not...we had a buggy and walked around like we were in the candy store but couldn't have any sugar!  Know what I mean?

We were scared to put anything into our empty basket!
We started...

And forever later, we were done.

We purchased a baby blanket, a pack of bottles, a pack of diapers, a pacifier, wipes, a car seat/ stroller combo and that is all.

We ran into RW's sister in the baby section and we had a nervous giggle!  She was buying something for our (maybe) baby.

When we checked out, we headed to that beautiful little car!  Our family sized Expedition, parked at home...(what were we thinking?)

Well, it was sprinkling rain, so RW popped that tiny little trunk of the car, guess what?  People with little bitty convertibles don't travel with a car seat/ stroller combo in the trunk!  Nope, wasn't going to happen!
RW tried, he pushed that box, and it wasn't happening.

So, he takes it OUT of the box and fits the oversize stroller into the trunk (barely) and sets the car seat in the back seat, then there we were, rain coming down heavier with a giant empty box!  Head hanging down, we left it in the empty buggy...we didn't have anywhere to put the box, we were getting soaking wet and I remember apologizing that we were "littering" in the parking lot! 

So, we left and the image of the empty box in the empty buggy was in my head.  BUT, it was a very special day, we were very short on time and what if someone needed that empty box, right?  ;)  Yes, someone needed an empty box!  (an empty wet box, right?)

Okay, so now what?

Well, we decided that since we had such a hard time fitting the stroller into the trunk, we should probably stop somewhere and hook that car seat up so we didn't look like amateurs when we were picking up our baby. (maybe)

Stopped, we did.

We pulled into a gas station that was covered, because it was raining now, raining.

There was a man to the right of us filling up his diesel truck and his boat carefully watching the two of us...

I bet he still remembers us.

Why?  Well, let me tell you why!

It had been six years since we had to place a baby in a car seat.  Six years, they change a lot.  And we had definitely never put a car seat in the back of a convertible.  

The challenge began.

RW tried for about five minutes to figure out how to strap the seat in with the top of the car on...then he had the brilliant idea to take the top off so he could maneuver it better and I was saying "let me just read the instructions on the tag..." He took the tag off and handed it to me, that didn't help.  {I am not a fan of instructions at all, that's the hairdresser in me, I guess...oh and BTW, if you think your hairdresser is reading instructions and measuring things, think again! ;) }

Back to the seat...

The man still staring at us...

Picture it- a 200 plus lb man climbing over and in the back of a little car with the top off, it was like watching an episode of the Jolly Green Giant playing with a Matchbox car!  It was so funny!  

After about ten, maybe fifteen minutes, RW FINALLY got the seat in!  YAY!

I climbed in the front seat shutting my door giving that man a smile, like, uh huh, that's right, we nailed this!  Now, we just need a baby!

RW excitedly put the top back on the car and climbed into the driver's seat.

WOAH, his knees were at his chin!  

To get the car seat in, he had to move his seat all the way up, well that was fine until he had to fit his legs into the car.

The man still staring at us...

RW gets out of the car, taking the top off, again...

The man shook his head at this time with a grin.

Oy vey!  I am thinking he was like Oh somebody please tell me they are not going to pick up a baby!  

RW gets the car seat out and I get out because we needed to put it behind my seat.  So everybody out of the car again, top off again...car seat moved to the other side!

The man still staring...
(I would have been staring too!  It was a good show!)

We got that settled, then I climbed back into the passenger's seat as RW lowered the top back on the car and then he got in and it WORKED!  

The man still staring...

RW cranked the car, I looked in the back seat and it was a success!  

I looked at the man, now filling his boat and smiled...I kind of wanted to tell him it was okay, we had done this before...you know, to reassure him!

But then, again, maybe it was best if he thought we were complete amateurs!
The man smiled and laughed a little as I smiled at him!  He shook his head and we laughed as we drove off...
That day...that shopping trip, that car seat, that BMW, that friends are things I am glad we have in our memory box!

Every single time we pass that gas station, we smile!

Every single time!

The day didn't end with maybe, but it ended with our baby!  In that car, in that car seat!  

PS-  When we walked outside to leave with Will, we were SO glad we had that "challenge" of the car seat in privacy (well, except for Mr. Man that got a good laugh!)

If he had only known about our lives, about this car and about the other challenges we had gone through to get here, I bet he would have really appreciated this sight even more!

Grateful to God that my birthday gift (my BMW, Baby Matthew Weatherly) from RW was able to carry our gift from God to our home!

We started this day relying on God's will for our lives...and ended this day with "GOD'S WILL" in our arms and lives forever!
(That's how he got his name!  We kept praying if this is God's will, then it will happen!  God's Will became OUR Will!)

For more on our beautiful adoption story, read here.

Hoping you will smile today and not be afraid to fill your empty basket up!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

"I want a baby or a BMW"

July 2, 2006, Matthew's 1st birthday in heaven and July 3, 2006, my 1st birthday without my son were difficult days to navigate for my husband.  He was desperate to help me or simply make me smile and he wanted to do everything and anything to try and do that.

He has always taken great pleasure in giving me gifts, especially on my birthday.  That first year in 2006, he didn't know what to do when I told him not to buy me any gifts.

That firm statement was followed by these firm words, "I want a baby or a BMW."  

YEP, I said that, exactly like that.

I am sure that made his gasp, just a tad!

We had just started the adoption process and I wanted a baby desperately.

Or a BMW.  (not so desperately)

That was it.

No pressure, right?

Not too long after those words rolled out of my mouth, I walked outside of my front door to see a shiny silver convertible BMW pulling in our driveway.

A gift from my husband

I got a BMW...

Two months later, I got a baby!

A gift from God

There's way more to this story, but I just wanted to let you know that the other day when I said "Money cannot buy happiness..." in my birthday thank you post, I really meant it!

The BMW didn't satisfy what was I was longing for in my heart...it didn't fill that void, just like all the other "stuff" I purchased didn't fill that void...

But that sweet baby that was placed into my arms two months later...that did!

Things are things...JUST things.

Although my car, my BMW, (To me, the initials stood for Baby Matthew Weatherly) was beautiful and special to me, it was a very temporary fix for empty arms and a heart that was searching for anything that would temporarily help me make it through another moment, another day...

If you have read my book, you will  now that shopping became my "fixer" during these times and that I would anticipate getting something and then be let down because it didn't "work."  Nothing-NO THING- "fixed" me.

I have learned so many lessons...at my own expense!  (pun intended!)

"I want a baby or a BMW," desperate words from me.  I often say I will never underestimate the desperation in a grieving mother because I am one and I understand what great lengths we may go to and what great lengths our spouse will travel too as well, anything, to help the pain, even if just for one temporary moment.

As I understand the desperation in that statement, I can also smile when reflecting upon it now...I can smile  because of the many memories we have on the very day we picked up Will in that BMW!  

I am going to be sharing that day in a blog post coming up!  It is so funny!  And sweet and a wonderful memory that we have.  Stay tuned!

For now I sign off with simple words if you are searching for something to fill your heart, it cannot be purchased...anywhere!

It cannot be bought!  But it can be given to you from above!

Love to all!


Friday, July 5, 2013

Memories of the past few days and a special thank you!

A special thank you to all of you who made my birthday wish come true for me and for Matthew!

It meant so very much to know that people were being loved and encouraged during this time!  It did my heart so good!  

There is so much truth in money cannot buy happiness!  There is not one single gift that has ever been able to buy me happiness on my birthday and on Matthew's birthday, but this year...this year, there was happiness and great joy in my heart and money didn't buy it!  Your love, encouragement and support of my birthday wish did~  Thank you!!!

Today I am going to photo bomb the blog and give you a glimpse at our days as we celebrated Matthew's life, my birthday and the 4th of July.  You were all such a big part in making these days so special and responsible for so many smiles!  

I started the morning of Matthew's birthday with posting my birthday wish and then turning off all notifications on my phone.  I knew I wanted the next couple of days to be family, family and more family.  If I had a big "Gone Fishin'" sign to post, that is what I would have posted!  I didn't want to miss a thing with my boys.  I wanted to take Matthew's birthday and make memories.  So that is exactly what we did.  Below are a few pics from his special day.  

July 2, 2013 ~  Matthew's 8th Birthday 

Will was holding the balloon so tight, except for one...

We quickly released the rest so they could all go together

this conversation between me and Nathan was pretty special...I am glad RW got this pic
Visiting the cemetery is always so bittersweet, especially on Matthew's birthday...but I will say that the conversations we have are amazing out there.  It has become a space that knows no barriers with what we talk about.  And the boys will say what their heart is feeling and that is so important to us.  We talk very openly in our home as well, but when we are out there, it is real and raw, unplugged and uncensored. These moments are necessary...

We had a sweet time at the cemetery together.  Bittersweet, but sweet.

Gone Fishin'...

We got Dixie after Matthew passed away for Nathan, she turned 8  June 23rd.  She is our special pup for  sure!

Atta' boy!  
Large mouth?  

Will doing his catchin' some fish dance!

Buddy and Dixie sniffing for snakes keeping our boys safe
Will decided to squirt whip cream on his bait just to see if the fish would  like it!  ;)

The latest addition to our family, Buddy~  

country boy 
My favorite kind of four-wheeling...SAFE!  That's what I 'm talking about!  
breaking the pool rules...only one on  the slide at a time!  

Baking brownies wearing goggles...that's how Will rolls!  

Are you smiling yet?
How adorbs is he?

We made many memories on Matthew's birthday this year...smiled a lot and felt blessed with every single moment we were able to spend together!  Very blessed!

July 3, 2013 ~ My 39th Birthday

My birthday is usually quite unbearable for me, but this year it was different!  The minute I put my birthday wish on the blog, I knew it was going to be different!  There was a great peace in my heart that I haven't had in a long time associated with my birthday.   My heart found a way to help others through the days that hurt my heart so very much!  There is great healing in helping others and this was giving me joy...great joy!

My day started with some big hugs from my boys and RW!  Good stuff!  Then off to lunch with some family at Newk's.  

Lunch with family at Newk's

My Mama~  

Movie time with my sistas and RW 

RW went to the movies with us girls...we left Mom behind though because we were going to see "The Heat" and she would have been washing all of our mouths out with soap!  The movie made us laugh so hard!  Laughing was good! Really good!  

After the movie, RW went back to work and me and sistas went shopping for a bit and then of course we went to eat frozen yogurt!  We sat in the yogurt shop and did some catching up on sister stuff and then the rain began!  

It rained so hard on the way home  and just a few miles from the house, the sun started shining again.  I was so glad the rain stopped!  I had a big blonde dog at home I was going to have to bathe, again!  

When I got home, this was waiting on me and so was the big blonde muddy dog!  

beautiful flowers from some special people 
I walked in the front door and out the back door to see the beautiful sky as the sun peeked through the clouds.  
after the rain 

This was in the late evening on my birthday and I was smiling...it was a tired smile, but it was a smile!  
My Mom got me this for my birthday and the verse 1 Samuel 1:27-28 is on Matthew's tombstone, notice the date on this!  
 The message below the scripture is so beautiful too!

July 3rd message
 I am not sure where my mom found this but I am so glad she did!

RW and I were home alone since the boys were spending the night with their grandparents~ so we did what any responsible parents would do without their kids...

We said "gosh, it is QUIET!"  And laughed as we realized we could watch anything we wanted on TV and not have to settle any arguments or flip any coins!  And we ate irresponsibly and we stuck knives in our food containers when we finished our meal! 

8 years ago on my birthday I was on life support...this year on my birthday, I had a beautiful evening with my husband, we ate steak dinners in take-out containers at the kids table with the dogs eagerly awaiting any left overs! It was absolutely PERFECT!  

In honor of the movie we saw earlier today, "The Heat," this is how we finished dinner!  ;)

And this is how I finished dessert...every last bit of it!  

I just realized in typing this that I had frozen yogurt and 1/2 gallon of ice cream on the same day!  Owning it! I ate it all!  It was worth it!  

July 4, 2013

RW and I had the house to ourselves for the morning and early afternoon too~  can you say it was still QUIET?  We were laughing again because it was so quiet!  It was a good quiet for a little while, but we were both very beyond ready to go get our boys! 

While waiting to leave to go to RW's parents, I watched Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest on ESPN- can you say GROSS?  Omyword~ I was  holding my hands over my eyes peeking and screaming at the same time!  I couldn't bear to look at it but I couldn't change the channel!  I was listening to the count getting higher and higher and finally as they were counting down the last 10 seconds, I made a big mistake, I looked up!  Well, curiosity killed the cat, right?  I looked up just in time to see the last bit shoved in the winner's mouth and I ran to the bathroom as quick as I could and threw up...and threw up!  Oh Lord, it was bad!

RW was laughing at me, shaking his head because I didn't change the channel!  Never again will I watch that!  Nope, yuck!

Now I cannot quit thinking about that...ewe...there goes the rest of this blog post and so much for dinner tonight! ;)

The car ride was so quiet on the way to RW's parents house.  We weren't having to tell anyone in the backseat to quit touching the other person or to not say that or be nice to your brother or, well, you get the picture!

We talked to each other and listened to the radio and everything!  When we finally arrived at his parents house and saw little Will!  He ran toward the car with sweat dripping down his face and a big smile! 

With that we began an evening of more memories that included eating (of course), Frisbee golf (or whatever you call it), tank wars,  fireworks and more!

Will greeting us at his Nana and Pop's house as we were pulling in the driveway 

3 generations at the grill...professional taste testers too!  

My Family~ Matthew may not  be visible in the photo, but he is so present in all that  we do in our lives!  And that is a beautiful gift to us all!  

We made it through, smiling!

The perfect evening for fireworks!

And at last the evening was over, the rain pouring down, leftovers in the car, the boys buckled in and RW and I holding hands as we pulled out of the driveway and headed for home...

With the following words quickly out of our mouths "boys, don't touch each other, don't say that, be nice, it may be your water, but please give him a sip..." and well, you get the picture!

With that, we squeezed our hands tighter, smiled at each other and turned the radio up!

We made it...together, with the support, love and encouragement from our wonderful friends and family!  We made it!

I am sending lots of love from our family to yours today!

Thank you for making this so special for us, for remembering Matthew, Christopher and honoring my birthday wish!  What a beautiful blessing to my heart!

Thank you!