Monday, February 13, 2012

Not a big fan of Valentine's day

When Luke was 3 weeks old, in the winter of 2003, he went in to respiratory failure from RSV on February 13.  He spent a week on the vent and gave us a really good scare.  That was when we thought that was going to be the most traumatic experince that we would have with him.  I had some post partum complications that day and spent Valentines Day in the ER with Keith going back and forth between Luke and I. The next year involved several bouts of pneumonia- one being in February, prior to his lobesctomy that spring. A few years later we were in the hospital again the month with the bleeding episodes. This was the month that we took him from the hospital without a diagnosis or any treatment options and started the process of reconciling that.  Skip ahead 2 years... Luke was again placed on the vent February 10th of last year during that third episode of massive bleeding. So sad that we might have been marking 9 years without Luke or a year after losing him. We are so thankful that we were given as long as we were with him, but pretty unimpressed with Valentine's day all the same.
We have had some wonderful things done for Luke recently that have really picked us up from a really bad stretch- many milestones that we have passed without Luke.  The Szempruch family from our church had a star named after Luke- which especially Samuel (who loves space) thought was really cool. We were so touched and honored to have Luke remembered that way.  Brooksschool elementary is going to have a scholarship named after Luke to be given to a senior that had attended Brooksschool. We will never get to send Luke to college, but it means so much to us to be able to keep Luke's memory alive in the kids that do get to go on.  We have been surrounded by such love and thoughtfulness and for that we are truly grateful. My sister in law, Elizabeth, worked very hard to compile a book full of memories, stories, and pictures of Luke.  It is breath taking and I think that I have read it a thousand times already.  Four of my dear friends from college came down this weekend and it was a wonderful distraction. Three of my sorority sisters came earlier this fall. Reconnecting with old friends has been wonderful for me in many ways- but having something to look forward to is a good way to distract myself. I had to change our status on our Children's Museum membership because I could not handle them asking if we had "all three kids with you today".  The kind lady a the info desk changed my card for me and was so kind and gentle about it. Her family had a recent loss and she understood how hard things like that are to do.  We got notification this week that a memorial contribution to Make A WIsh was donated from Luke's "friends at the Children's Museum".  We were so touched and amazed that they would do that in his memory. We spend a lot of time there together and have many wonderful memories. Such beauty and compassion continues to pour into such a big wound for us.
Keith and I realized that we have all had birthdays since Luke died. None of us are the same age that we were when we had him.  The year has changed. I would like to say that things are getting easier, but it is not. We will be marking 6 months on the 29th and I hope each day the weight of his loss will start to ease. I almost wish that I was angry or questioning of God about this. Then I could work through those feelings and make peace with them.  I just miss Luke. There is no healing or working through that emotion. It just is. I am thankful though for my Valentine, a husband that continues to walk this road with me- through the pot holes and all.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Pokagon State Park!

Today we spent a wonderful morning toboganing in Angola, Indiana at Pokagon State Park. My cousin Emily came home from Texas, Uncle David and Aunt Victoria hosted us all. Tyler and Elizabeth brought the kids and we just had a blast. We celebrated Gramma's 83rd birthday (coming up on 2/13), Elizabeth's (2/27), and Benjamin (2/9) with cake and ice cream. Colin and Benjamin (with Keith's help) have made an obstacle course outside. They have been cracking us up!  Family time is so healing for us right now- being around such love helps make our days more tolerable.
Mommy and Sarah Jane at Pokagon State Park

Sarah Jane in her cupcake hat- with a cherry on top!  She was too little to sled, but watched her brothers and cousins go down.
All five of us after sledding- missing Luke today- he would have LOVED the run!
Emily and the Girls

Mom and Lindsay took care of Sarah Jane while we went sledding.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Benjamin and Sarah

 Had an incident where I tried to upload picture from an SD card that was not in my camera... so... not able to put on our recent weeks. I will though share a bit about Benjamin- who we are so proud of. Benjamin has been the sweetest big brother! He is so loving towards her. He makes her laugh- belly laughs.  It makes me feel so good that he likes her so much. 
Her little outfit has a cupcake with a cherry on top.  It amazes me that cherries are so popular right now on girl clothes.  At Sarah's 20 week ultrasound, all five of us went.  When the technician announced that she was a girl, Luke said that "she is the cherry on top of our sundae of awesomness".  I am a total sucker for anything with a cherry on it.  I love that connection between the two of them. I was amazed the other day when I found an outfit that I had bought for Samuel (before he was born- we were surprised for the first two boys). I have had that outfit for 11 years. The beauty of it is that it is covered with cherries. A promise of something to come... We have so little that connect Luke and Sarah in this world and we cherish what we have.  I have one picture of all three boys and I when I was pregnant and I think that it is one of the only ones I have of all four children together. I have that picture framed in our room. Benjamin found it the other day and moved it into his room. I did a collage of pictures of Sarah and Luke that she has in her room, and I think that I will put one like that for each Benjamin and Samuel. Maybe I should do one for Keith also.  I have started doing a memory book with Benjamin. I have one for all four of us that we will eventually do.  Elizabeth (my sister in law) put together a book with pictures and stories that is simply amazing. I miss that little boy with every bit of my soul and  I cannot get enough of anything that even sniffs of him.
When I am able to download the pictures and feel like I can, I will share about last week- Luke's birthday, luau, our 5th month without him,and Great Wolf. Difficult week- very emotional, but precious.  The boys started counseling this week. It is group counseling with other children who have experienced a loss and adult facilitators that are trained to work with grieving children. They have a parent group that runs at the same time that I went to. The boys were very happy when I picked them up and Benjamin said that he talked. Keith and I have chosen not to ask them what they talked about, but were so pleased that he seemed to be comfortable being there. Samuel also was happy.  Samuel right now is cracking us up.  He is so funny. He is growing up.....