There’s nothing lucky about Seven.

Hi Diddy,

Today is the 2nd…which translates to one more month since I last kissed your sweet cheeks, and held your small hands in my own.

Margaret, our very underpaid therapist, continues to work with me on recognizing the fact that “…every day is really just another day”… “don’t allow the numbers, the observed holidays, the celebrations of those (still in your old world) make you believe that any particular day holds more or less meaning than the last – or the next. Margaret has not lost a child. She mostly certainly did not lose her only, beloved, perfect, miracle son. Moreover, she did not lose you. Yet she is one of the most brilliant, insightful, grounded, saucy women I have ever met. So I nod, as I sort of, semi-try to let her words past my mind and into my heart. To date, I remain unsuccessful. The truth is, there are days that are worse than others. Today is one of those days.

This morning, per my usual routine, I forced myself out of bed, walked directly into your room, and laid my grief-stricken forehead on your changing table. I guess this is my new-wave form of prayer. After wiping the left-over tear streaks from my face, I decided it was my motherly duty to try to create a little ‘happy’ in your room – – just in case you’d be able to stop home today. I tied your curtains back, and pulled your blinds half way up. It was particularly sunny and bright outside. The gentle snow falling from the sky made the view outside your window almost surreal. Without any forethought, I began to gather your most special stuffed animals, your cow mirror, and your different-color balls rattle. I methodically arranged them in your changing table. I put Giraffe (not Giraffey – Giraffe) at the helm – where he belongs. And, Sophie was safely placed in the middle, because she is the smallest, and the only girl. I put Owl, from Daddy, at the top – to keep a watchful eye out for any perpetrators. The rest of your guys were put in all the right positions as well. I had a system; it was just right. Diddy, if there is any credence behind the anthropomorphic nature of stuffed animals, as depicted in Toy Story, I am confident your “besties” were relieved to spend today together. I have just decided I will let them have a sleep-over too. I will cover them in your snuggly blanket from Nana. It will be the perfect ending to their not-so-happy day. (And, given the psychological damage my psychosis is bound to be afflicting on them – I’ll take them with us to Margaret next week. Ok? They’ll be fine.)

On an authentically happy note, I got my ring yesterday. Daddy began designing it for me in September. His intent was to have it done by my birthday. But, true to form, Momma completely changed her mind on the design mid-stream of the original project. Your understanding and patient Daddy did not mind (he’s used to Momma); our jeweler, Chris, probably wanted to choke me. I could not be swayed by his inconvenience; it needed to be perfect in every way. Needless to say, the long wait, the countless trips to Racine, the myriad of email exchanges, the uncomfortable requests for Chris to ‘change this’ & ‘refine that’ were all very well worth it. Hands down…Momma’s ring is the most beautiful, special, timeless piece of art I will ever own. Given it is a creative arrangement of your monogrammed initials – I am not surprised. I will not remove it for as long as I live.

Paxton, I would give anything in the whole world to gently kiss you on your warm little head tonight. I would give even more to trade places with you. You should be here today…you should be here tomorrow…you should be happy, healthy, and safe – in your crib – with all of your favorite stuffed animals, having a sleepover.

Like any mother whose child has been murdered, I do not believe my soul can or will rest until justice is served. I need to find a way to get the right people to listen. I need to find a way to get the right people to think differently. I need to find a way to get the right people to unite – and then refuse to be told “no”. Childhood cancer can no longer be allowed to slip past the radar of the ‘eye for an eye’ mentality. Fuck you, Childhood cancer. You have taken one too many shots, you little bitch. You have crossed the path of the wrong Momma. I am coming for you; and I gots a hell of a gold ring to pound right into your ugly, smug face.

I love you, my Peaceful Warrior. You, and you alone, are enough. You will always be enough. You will always be my baby. I will always be your Momma. Thank you, infinitely, for being my son.

seven

Stay with me, sweet boy.

xoox,

Momma

Hail. Hell. And a good-night song.

Paxton,

Momma is so very tired. I haven’t been sleeping well again…for many reasons. One of which being that I long to be near you so badly that the pain in my bones and the ache in my soul keep me awake. In one million years, it could never rival the pain you endured, little warrior; but it hurts all the same.

The weather has also been obstructing me from sleep. Sunday night we had a hail storm. (Are you processing this, Paxton? A HAIL storm, in Wisconsin, at the tail end of January. I rest my case. The world is a hot ass mess.) The hail came down, so heavy and so fast, that I was sure the west side of our house was going to give way to the beating and collapse. Daddy & Lucas had relocated to the other bedroom earlier in the night, so it was just Giraffey, me, and the hail. As if on cue, my tears began to pour down too; not because I was scared the house would collapse – in that moment, I would have welcomed it. My reaction was most certainly primal in nature. I was crying because I wanted to be stirred awake by the hail…but, remained in the ‘mom-stealing-sleep’ state of awake, as I waited for your cry. I wanted to have to will myself, against exhaustion, out of bed. I wanted to amble down to your room – without even needing to fully open my eyes. I wanted to reach into your crib, wrap you into my arms, and hold you until your sobs subsided. I wanted to comfort you from the storm. I wanted to tell you it was going to be okay, and know for sure, that it was true. Times like these are when the silence of your absence is most deafening. I will never quite be able to explain the sheer torture which accompanies being your Momma from so far away. To make matters worse the chap your ass cold, which has followed the hail storm, hasn’t aided in the sleep department either. Cold has a way of heightening my (chronic) fear that you are not warm enough. I realize this fear is somewhat (heavily) rooted in my own issues with never being quite warm enough. Regardless – I worry you, too, are cold.

As the days draw closer to your birthday, I am drawn closer to Hell. The memories of last year at this time have been flooding my consciousness. I have been recounting snap-shots of the final weeks of my pregnancy with vivid precision, which has been bittersweet. On one hand, I have caught myself smiling – yes, smiling. I have smiled on the outside (like using my facial muscles and all), as moments come back into my mind. On the other hand, I feel like the walls are getting a little bit closer, and the air a little bit heavier with each passing day. The bottom line, I am so completely dreading February 12th, that when I forget to concentrate, I almost throw up. In fact, I had a very close call in Follo’s office today. I didn’t even realize it happened until the look on his face registered in my very, slow processing brain. When he asked ‘what the hell was wrong with me’ – I couldn’t come up with a lie quickly enough. So, without really intending to, I flatly admitted, “I almost puked. I’m sorry. Don’t worry, I’m okay now.” He sat frazzled for a few counts, before suggesting I go get some pretzels. So I did. (Poor guy. I am sure by now he has asked for a stipend to deal with me on a day to day basis.)

Last year at this time, I was almost 38 weeks pregnant. During the final two weeks, one of the things you and I spent a lot of time doing was picking out the songs for Baby’s Birthday Playlist. It was the compilation of songs we played at the hospital while you and I were in labor. I spent hours and hours searching the internet, iTunes, Daddy’s iPod. You spent hours and hours giving me thumbs up or thumbs down on each song….via kicks and jabs – serious ones – not ‘flutter’ ones. In the end, our hard work payed off. We came up with the most perfect list.

Speaking of music, and of you, here is your lullaby for tonight. It is by One EskimO. As you know, they are the group who sings “Amazing”, which was the song playing when you arrived, and were placed safely in my arms. That being said, I am hopeful you will like this song too. The animation is so stinking adorable. But, listen to the words, sweet boy; they do a beautiful job conveying all I am feeling tonight.

You’re in every little thing I touch.

I miss you more…today…than ever before. And, I love you even more than I miss you.

Stay with me, sweet boy.

xoox

Momma

“Together we can be Superheroes”.

Dearest Diddy,

Today is your super, best, cousin-friend’s fourth birthday. I am sure this is old news to you…given, I have a feeling you spend a good amount of time watching over Finny.  Do you know that every time I think of Finn, every time I am in his presence, every time I wrap him in my arms and kiss his sweet little cheeks – I swear my heart inadvertently stops beating?  My heart is already broken into a million pieces making it somewhat of a delicate engine, but that is not the cause.  There is something about Finn that gives me the feeling that I am as close to you as I can possibly get.  It is not because he is the youngest child in our family’s brood, who happens to be a boy. It is not because there is something magical about Finn.  It is not because he, like you, has “been here before”. All those things are, in fact, true.  However, it is not what makes me feel almost as if you are near.  Rather it is the kindred spirit which was quite clearly shared between you and Finn.  The connection between you boys never went unnoted by any one lucky enough to watch you two interact.

Finn, by nature, doesn’t always show his soft side. He most definitely has one; he just keeps it on reserve for special times – and special people. Yet, when in your presence, Foo instantaneously transformed into the most gentle, caring, protective version of himself. Outfitted with a perma-grin, and an adult hand containing his innate, and uncontrollable desire to be exactly-on-top-of-you, Finn was in his happiest place when you were near. Make no mistake, Paxton, Finn Avery was your biggest fan. (Not counting Momma.)  The adoration was mutual. He got a smile, accompanied by unbroken eye contact – and even a giggle out of you on many occasions. I am certain, as you got a little older, the two of you would have been named President & CEO of each other’s Fan Club.

I am not oblivious to the fact that the dynamic duo of “Diddy & Foo” would not have always been been a love song and a puppy dog. Momma is no fool. (And either is Lala.)  Each of your personalities are too colorful, your spirits too unique, your wits far, far too quick to have ever been left unsupervised for long.  Oh, the trouble which would have found you boys would have given our family material to share (and strategize over) for many years.  Although I may not have been able to let you know as much – I would have loved every.single.minute. One of my theories about little boys: the spicier – the better.

There is another reason my heart stops beating when it come to matters of Finn. It is because I am unable to deny the fact that I am looking into the eyes of another little boy who was cheated by asshole cancer.  I fear he will live his life with an unshakeable sense that something, someone is missing. I worry that he will feel a phantom ache as he reaches for your absent hand.  I agonize that his wit will dampen as the questions compile – and the answers remain obsolete.

I apologize if sharing my fears about your four year old, best friend ever, is making you feel badly, as that is most certainly not my intent sweet boy. I guess once you are an adult, you can’t help but to worry and fret…even if it is over things you ‘can’t control’.  You especially worry and fret after everything that used to seem completely irrational – like your perfect, beautiful, miracle child being diagnosed with cancer at the age of 12 weeks and 3 days – becomes your unescapable reality.  I think being an adult automatically puts us at a disadvantage in seeing the beauty and hope that surrounds us.  Either way, I am merely venting.  I know you wish you didn’t get cancer. I know you wish you were here to share more time with us.  It all makes me so sick.

Momma is probably over-thinking things. Sleep deprivation, grief, and the inability to track down cancer and rip its mother fucking throat out will do that to the best of us.  Maybe I should focus on the magic in Finn seeing the things he sees, and the “imaginary” people and events which he insists are around him. Maybe, I should focus on the joy which surrounds my beloved nephew as he walks in the wonder of Childhood while it lasts.

Perhaps, however, I should simply accept the fact that Finn is…just special.  And that alone should allow me to “believe” a little again. Perhaps, I should trust that he will be able to navigate the rest of his long, healthy, & happy life with a perma-grin because you remain in his heart.  Perhaps, I should take solace in the fact that he will not need to search for you because he will have your hand in his pocket, and your wit in his shoes.  Perhaps, I should piece two broken pieces of my heart back together because he will not be plaqued by questions  – which have no answers – for you will whisper in his ear all he ever needs to know.  Perhaps, I should take a lesson from a child today, and believe your confidant when he proclaims, “…together, you and he, can be Superheroes”.

May you both live happily ever after.

Foo & Diddy

Foo & Diddy

Stay with me, sweet boy.

xoox,

Momma

Holding Me Down

Sweetest Diddy,

Tonight, I cannot bear my pain. Tonight, I want to give up.

Nights like tonight, I find myself playing, this song over and over again. It rocks me to my very core. The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that Gabriel Kelley was a bereaved mother in his past life. (There is no other explanation for him taking the words out of my mouth and creating one of the most beautiful songs ever written.) Despite the darkness expressed within the lyrics, the song itself brings Momma a sense of peace. As it plays, I don’t even have to close my eyes to envision you tucked in my arms on that warm, afternoon in late June. It was one of the most painstaking, yet endearing, days we endured together. I am not brave enough to recount the extent of your discomfort ; nor is it necessary. Alas, after 24 – 36 grueling hours of unrelenting agony, you and I found temporary refuge in your bedroom. I am not sure why, and fear you may have simply grown weary from sobbing and/or from the unwavering aches and pains, but you found comfort enough to let your cries temporarily subside. So there we stayed, rocking as one, for five beautiful, unabridged, unforgettable hours.

We covered a lot of topics that day. We shared secrets, dreams, fears and wishes. We listened to music on my iPhone, and sang other songs I made up on the cuff. I vividly recall the view outside your bedroom window of the summer sun disappearing behind the horizon. I remember pleading with the sun, through tear-filled eyes, to find a cure for you before coming back in morning. As the bittersweet afternoon morphed into evening, I mindlessly scrolled through my phone, while simultaneously rocking you. I came across a link your Uncle Stephen posted on his Facebook page. Accompanying the link, a brief statement explaining that while at Gabriel Kelley’s live show, (the song) “…brought me to my knees”. Your uncle is one of the most brilliant, introspective, kind, and gentle souls I know. When he speaks, there is bound to be meaning in his message.

This incidence afforded no exception. Without uttering a single word, Uncle Stephen (and Mr. Kelley’s genius talent), unknowingly relayed the most life-altering news. The anger, the fire, the smoke, the heartache – – the reason it was hard for me to breathe – – could no longer be denied.

I hope you remember that day with even the smallest bit of fondness. It would be selfish for me to ask for it back; as you were in far too much pain. Yet, I would give anything to hold you in my arms, feel your skin against mine, and listen to you breathe.

I wish you didn’t get sick. I don’t know why this all happened. I will never, ever forgive myself. I am sorry. I am sorry. I am so, so sorry.

I miss you. I love you. I hope you are warm enough.

Stay with me, sweet boy.

xoox

Momma

Sorrow: masqueraded with a smile.

Little Diddy,

Momma is bursting at the seams with pride, thus needing to talk far too fast for Daddy to keep up. So I need to bend your ear to tell you about all the wonderful things that have been happening. (If you are busy, just smile and nod while you pretend to listen. I understand.) The past few days I have received so many unexpected messages which have made me smile. Each one of them were about you. It takes a whole lot of super-packed power to make Momma smile…especially on the outside, these days. You have managed to do the trick, at least three times in three days.

On Monday Ms. Sara told me about an extremely kind donation, accompanied by an even more endearing message, Team Paxton received from a man named Nick. Nick has a heart of gold. Momma went to high school with him, but he graduated with Lala. (My guess is it won’t be long before you notice the trend in people reigning from Cudahy and this heart-of-gold quality…just saying.) To remind you, Nick sent a bucket of goodies to CHW in June when we were inpatient. I was stunned to learn he knew of your diagnosis, but more so that he took the time to find, purchase, and send a goodie bucket filled with nuks, squeaky duckies, and crochet hats all the way to Wisconsin just to let you know he was thinking of you. Over the weekend, Nick made a generous donation in honor of your upcoming 1st birthday. He has a beautiful daughters of his own, lives out of state, hasn’t seen me in 20 years, and never had the good fortune of meeting you. Yet, your indomitable spirit has impacted Nick in ways I am certain he could not even explain. When you have a chance, can you please watch over Nick’s beloved little girl and see to it that good things come her way?

Yesterday I received an email from Lisa, the Patient Care Manager at CHW. She wrote to let me know that the hangers Team Paxton purchased for the floor have served as a tangible, and cherished, example of how ‘…little things make such a big difference’. She too is moved by the way in which your impact on this world continues to persist, despite your far too abbreviated time here with us. She and I have a plan in place to help purchase a (much needed, highly coveted) blanket warmer for the HOT unit floor. Do you remember how much you loved those warm, toasty blankies…especially after imaging, transfusions and surgeries? As you already know, there are no blanket warmers on the HOT unit. The warmers are only downstairs by the CT scans, ultrasounds, MRIs, and at the MACC Clinic. Momma always did her best to sweet talk the nurses into getting you one when proximity allowed. Or when Nurse Renee was on hand to hold you tight, and keep you safe, I would go on a commando mission and find a warmer unit (tucked in some secret cubby, in a dark hallway, behind a “Staff Only” door) and ‘borrow’ one for you. I didn’t mean to be defiant; I just needed things to happen faster when it came to making you comfortable. Nonetheless, once we were trapped on the HOT unit – no warm blankets were available. I know you agree – that was some serious bullshit.

Tonight may well be the most touching message I’ve received yet. It came from a complete stranger. She learned of you, your brave fight, and your beautiful soul through an interview Ms. Sara and Ms. Kate did on Morning Blend earlier this fall. Unable to shake the impact you made on through a t.v. screen, and a few still-shot pictures – which encapsulated your contagious smile – she contacted Team Paxton. She is a mother of a precious little girl, Clare, who was born on February 12th, 2012. Just like you should be, Clare is turning 1 next month. Her request: permission to ask the guests coming to Clare’s 1st birthday party to make a donation to Team Paxton, in honor of YOUR 1st birthday, in lieu of buying her daughter a gift. I cannot yet articulate the array of emotions this gesture bought to my soul. Among them – honor, endearment, jealously, sadness, joy, love, spite, curiosity, anger, resentment, happiness. For tonight, I will focus on the most positive of all – which only your life spark can continue to bring me – unexpected and uncanny pride…accompanied by a smile.

Sad Smile

I am so humbled and honored to be your Momma, Paxton Bowe Andrews. I do not suspect I will ever understand how I got to be lucky enough to have you as my son. I wish there were some way I could have protected you from cancer – not to mention all the inhumane, unacceptable, torturous procedures I allowed to happen to you in your brave fight. None of it is right. Not one single thing. Thank you for loving me despite all of my many flaws. I promise to love you until the end of time…and forever and ever after.

Thank you for making me smile, My-My. Though it is merely a temporary mask for my pain ~ it is still a smile. And it is for you.

I will look for you in my dreams.

Stay with me, sweet boy.

xoox

Momma

Burt’s Bees & “Little-tiny-bear” Kind of Day

Lil Diddy,

There’s one good thing about it being a weekend…besides not having to get up far too early for someone who falls asleep about 20 minutes before her alarm goes off. On weekends, I allow myself to use your Burt’s Bees Lotion on my chest (right over my heart). Having a scent of you with me all day, makes me feel a tiny bit closer to you. I would use it every day, except that Burt’s Bees made the only bad decision ever – and discontinued the particular lotion. Right after you were born, your genius Nana went gangbusters and bought every bottle she could find – on eBay – even though they were five times their original price. Today, however, is one of those days where I let myself bend the rule a little. I used your lotion on my entire body. I am extra sad today; therefore, I need extra more of you with me. I also stole Little-tiny-bear from your room and put him in my purse. Little-tiny-bear was a late comer to the scene. He arrived in mid-June, but you sure loved him. Not only is super soft and snuggly, he was just the right size for you to grab onto and hold in your hands. Little-tiny-bear stayed with you when I left your body at the hospital on July 2nd. He stayed tucked under your perfect, beautiful hands until Daddy and I picked you up from the funeral home…in a box. Little-tiny-bear was placed in the box right next to you, just as the funeral director promised.

I am still so mad at myself for leaving you at the hospital. I don’t remember leaving – I only remember I didn’t want to. I do remember making Daddy go back into the NICU room to get Giraffey and your potato blankie from Britta. I insisted he get your stuffed animal & a blankie – but, I didn’t insist he go back into the room and grab you. What kind of Momma thinks like that? I guess one who is having an out of body experience because her beloved son just died. But I still will not forgive myself for it. Another thing that tortures me about my behavior on July 2nd is that I didn’t bath your precious body – – one last time.  Even though your spirit had gone, your body was still there with me.  I should have bucked up, pulled myself together, and been a Momma. Instead, I asked your favorite girlfriend, Nurse Renee, if she could do one more favor for me and give you a bath. Of course she agreed. But, Nurse Renee is not your Momma. Nonetheless, she was the last one to give your body a bath. In turn, she put the last diaper, and the last outfit, on your precious body too. I am so sorry, sweet boy.

Daddy and I are going to run errands today. We are going to go in and out of the house, the car, and the stores without juggling 18 things that came along with transporting you with us. I hate the ease in which I can come and go from place to place. I long for the days when it was necessary to invoke super-Sheerah powers in order to remember, carry, and balance the bottles, diapers, blankets, bags, change of clothing, nuks, Giraffey, car seat…and my most precious cargo of all – you…everywhere I went.

I wonder what you would have done today to make me throw my head back, laugh out loud, and thank every angel in the world for sending you to me.

Thank you for being my baby. I love you. I miss you. I hope you are safe.

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Stay with me, sweet boy.
xoox,
Momma

It will take an eternity to break us

Diddy,

Ms. Whitney unexpectedly passed away the day before you were born. In a state of disbelief, our nation sought comfort through revisiting some memories of her glory years.  Whitney’s most infamous hits made a resurgence on the music scene.  It was a bittersweet experience.

That being said, it wasn’t really my fault that this song became one of “our” ballads.  Again, I apologize for streaming it through our iPad a little too often, and for singing it a little too loud.  It’s just that I was clinically delirious from falling head over heels in love with you…and, I just so happened to mean every single word.

Because it’s been far too long, and because I’m still head over heels in love with you, this is your song for tonight.

Stay with me, sweet boy.

xoox

Momma

 

Call my understudy – this role sucks.

Paxton,

I think today was the perfect day for me to have stayed in bed and boycotted my participation in the real world. I hated every second of today – starting with saying good bye to you while scanning your room and (yet again) being bombarded by my unbelievable reality …cruelly reinforced by the sight of your freshly-made crib, abandoned ‘size one’ diapers, and deprived, staged stuffed animals.

Because everything about today would only make me say swear words on top of swear words, I need to skip telling you about it. I made a promise to myself that I will keep my swearing to a minimum in each entry. At least, I promised myself I would try.

Over the weekend I solidified a starter-plan for your first birthday. I think it may have been harder than planning your memorial. Aunt Lala and “Magic Meg” did most of the planning for your memorial – i.e. “the most fucked up day that should never have had to happen”. I was in shock, merely watching myself in a (very bad) made for t.v. movie…as I blindly assumed a lead role, which I never tried out for, much less reviewed the script ahead of time. Thank goodness for Lala and the entourage of lovelies in her wake, for I know not how we’d have pulled one minute of that day together. At this point, the shock of your absence has worn off; but the reality of it is just not setting in. Regardless, I simply cannot NOT participate in planning my baby boy’s 1st birthday. Other than the day you were born, this is a day I have looked forward to for as long as I can remember. The “dysfunction” of planning a birthday for my only child, who was stolen from me (after being slowly tortured) by cancer…at the age of 20 weeks and 1 day…is not lost on me. I get it. It’s unnatural. It’s unbelievable. It’s unorthodox. It’s kind of like your 12 week old son being diagnosed with cancer. So, between you and me Paxton, I certainly hope people hold their judgements about my ‘psychological instabilities’ behind having a birthday gathering for my dead child for someone who gives a shit. I’m unwillingly trapped in a D-List version of my old life. If my behavior is so disconcerting that anyone feel it necessary to psychoanalyze my motives in group talk, or generate phone tree conversation to concoct the best way to approach me with their ‘loving concerns’…I urge them to take a less circuitous route – and call my agent. I cannot, will not, simply refuse to allow your birthday to come and go without proper recognition. You are my baby; you also happen to be my hero. Therefore, you deserve the very best. And, the very best you will get.

Daddy and I decided we would like to remember the happiest day of our life (the day you were born) by gathering all your special earth angels for an afternoon of quality fare, sweet melodies, fond memories, pure love…and, of course, some therapeutic libations too. As you watch us come together, I hope you will recognize we do so not because of any one of us has the strength, will, or desire to overcome the fact that you are gone. Rather, we come together – despite your absence – because we are collectively driven to remain united through the strength of your spirit, courageous of your soul, and purity of your love. Diddy, you alone have the ability inflict a change in this world. I have told you this before; yet, I realize that because I am your Momma, you assume I couldn’t possibly know what I am talking about. You just wait and see, little boy. Your birthday gathering will be beautiful – and powerful…much like you. Afterwards, when Momma proves, again, she knows ‘what’s what’, you and I will talk about other plans I have for that uncanny power of yours. Don’t worry baby, I will be with you every step of the way. You and I are in this ‘change the world’ thing together.

It is time for me to go up to bed. Daddy went up almost two hours ago now. I am beyond tired, yet dread ending the night – much for the same reasons I dread starting the day. I will walk in your room to kiss you good-night, touch your warm little head, pull the blanket you kicked off back up across your tummy, whisper in your ear how proud I am to be your Momma…and sneak as many kisses onto your cheek before (accidentally) stirring you awake (and getting in trouble with Daddy). Instead, I will be met by the familiar heavy silence and somber absence which greeted me this morning. Intellectually, I (almost always) know it’s coming. It takes my breath away nonetheless.

I miss you. I love you. I hope you are warm enough.

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Stay with me, sweet boy.

xoox

Momma

11 months…and my bad dreams are better than my brutal reality.

Paxton,

It’s hard to believe it was just eleven months ago today that you made my heart, my soul, my world whole. It’s all hard to believe.

I had a dream last night. It was a perfect reenactment of the day you were born.  I was in room #4, with Daddy, Lala, Nana, Grammie…and, even nurse Jenny. Except, this time, when you came out the doctors and nurses wrapped you up in those little, white, baby blankets and carried you away.  They didn’t let me hold you. They didn’t even let me see you.  I tried to get out of the hospital bed to run after you, tried to scream your name, scream for help. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t speak.  Suddenly, everyone else was gone too.  I could hear their voices; but I was alone.  Not surprisingly, the only person I wanted to find…needed to get to, was you.  In a panic, I couldn’t get myself unhooked from the hospital bed.  (I know those beds like the back of my hand. I spent so much time strapped into one when we were there together in late November, early December – hooked up to monitors, belts, and alarms. All eyes were on you, Paxton; everyone was watching and tracking you…no one more closely than me.)  The whole bad dream scene startled me awake. For a brief moment, I was actually relieved to realize it was a dream. The next moment, however, I realized you were still gone.  Hot tears began to stream down my cheeks. I wanted to run down to your room, just to be sure. But, the pain in my heart reassured me I wasn’t dreaming anymore.  Somehow, my real life is far more disturbing than my bad dreams now.  In attempts to anchor myself, I did the only thing that helps me survive those long, dark, frightening nights: I rolled over and held onto Daddy as tight as I could.  Sometimes, when I concentrate on his breathing, I am able to cry myself back to sleep.  Thankfully, last night was one of those times.

I spent most of the day trying to erase the dream from my head. I didn’t tell Daddy about it.  It’s obvious the dream is a parallel with how I amble through each day. Therefore, I didn’t find the need to psychoanalyze it.  You were here. You were real. You were mine. Without permission, right under my watch, cancer stole you out of my arms. I couldn’t run after you; I couldn’t scream for help; and, despite the army of love surrounding me, I am alone in this pain…which is holding me hostage. Most of all, I ache to be with you.

I wish I could have seen your face, sweet boy.  I won’t stop looking.  I know you will come visit when you can.  And, I will be here. I will always, always be here.  Say the word, and I will come running. Not a dream, not 100 straps and alarms, not an army, not even asshole cancer will stop me this time.

I miss kissing you on the very inside of your neck.  I miss everything else too.

Stay with me, sweet boy.

xoox,

Momma

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Silence, Tears & Rainbows

Paxton,

Today has been a hard day. In fact, the past several days have been extra difficult. This seems to happen around and after the 2nd of every month. The time you were here went far, far too quickly. Now the days drag on so slowly…and are filled with so much down time. Daddy was at work all morning. As usual, Lucas was mad at me for being there instead of his beloved Daddy. The house was quiet. I don’t like when our house is quiet. It is eerie. It is scary. It is lonely. When it is too quiet, I find myself straining to hear your voice: coos, laughs, cries…anything. But, I don’t hear you; even when I hold my breath to be extra quiet. As I catch myself doing this, I remember, you are gone. That cruel reality check always makes me want to scream…break things…fall on the ground and thrash around. I have had to talk myself out of giving into those urges countless times. I fear that if you are watching me – which I so desperately hope you are – you would feel badly. I don’t fear, however, that you would think I was weak. I am weak. I am tired. I am sad. I am scared. All the time. Everyone continually tells me that I am “…doing so good“. First, I want to lean over and punch them as hard as I can. Obviously they don’t see my insides – my empty heart and my broken soul. They don’t drive in the car with me and see me cry every single time I am alone in it. I look in the rear view mirror 100 times a week – only to see your empty carseat base, fun mirror, and your blue & yellow riding hat from Grammie. Clearly they don’t see me and Daddy sit in silence, on opposite sides of the couch, every night, as we stare at the t.v., which is on, but not being watched. Neither one of us dare asking what the other is thinking…because the answer is obvious. And they certainly must not see me walk into your room each night before bed, first thing in the morning after willing myself out of bed – – or the countless times in between – – just to fall over your changing table and scream into your pillow. I haven’t yet gone into your room without crying. I miss you so much, little boy. But, despite the pain of your absence, I find comfort there. As I spend time in your room, I don’t have to close my eyes to picture you perfectly everywhere I look. I reach out for you, I hold your invisible fingers, and often sit in the glider to rock your ‘spirit body’. And, then I want to say, “By the way, you can’t do good.; you can do well. Fuckwad.” But, I do nothing – I say nothing, because as I said, I am too weak.

To drown out the silence, I started to overhaul the house. I didn’t stop for four hours straight. It was bittersweet; like everything we do or don’t do these days. It felt so good to purge, organize, de-clutter. We have so much useless stuff in this house. It is amazing how it all got here, or what I was thinking when I bought it in the first place. But, I was thinking the entire time, “I shouldn’t be able to do this. It’s a Saturday morning. I should be cleaning up Paxton’s highchair tray, and little plastic dishes, and teeny tiny spoons from a messy breakfast. I should be doing loads and loads of laundry chocked full of little boy clothes. I should be taking you to Nana’s, Lala’s, Grammie’s – – whoever was complaining the loudest that they wanted to spend time with you today. And, I should have plotted just the seamless timeline in which this would all coincide with your afternoon nap, so you’d be all ready for playtime with Daddy when he got home from work.

I found something in the attic that made my heart stop. I have spoken of it to several people, many times since you showed me the first of many double-rainbows this summer. I didn’t know, however, I still had it. In the dusty bin I almost didn’t open, there it was. I believe Lala or I got it from a pre-school teacher? Nonetheless, it was one of our favorite things when we were little. (Despite the fact that it androgynous in nature – a pin, a picture, a coaster – and that it’s worth less than five cents.)
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I brought it straight down to your room and put it on your dresser. I hope you like it, Little Diddy.

You are with me every second of every day. Not a moment goes by that you are not on my mind and in my heart. I will never stop loving you. I will always be your Momma: you will always be my baby. Did you see me today?

Stay with me, sweet boy.

xoox

Momma