Sunday, August 7, 2011

Missing James



So I know it's been a long time since I have posted anything. For some reason, it just doesn't feel right to spill all my feelings out for everyone to read. Part of it is because at any given moment, I could have polar opposite feelings. Hopefully that is normal- but I guess there is nothing "normal" about burying your 8 month old son.

We spent alot of time at Baylor talking about strengths. My sophomore year, Baylor started using Strengthsquest to assess and develop students' strengths. Marcus Buckingham, who is a former researcher at Gallup, and currently is probably the most well-known strengths-based leadership consultant for companies, organizations and education. He has written several books about strengths which I would highly encourage you to read if you get a chance. Strengths-based leadership is a passion of mine, and I absolutely love utilizing strengths to assist students in defining their calling and ensuring success. Ok long explanation for what I am about to say. My strengths, according to Strengthsquest, are Positivity, Empathy, WOO (winning others over), Belief and Maximizer.

Positivity has always been my number one strength. No matter what kind of personality test I take, positivity, or something similarly related, always ends up on top. So for me, having a negative response to this situation is strange. Most of the time I take the positive route- James is with Jesus. Which he is. I have absolutely no doubt about that. But there are times that I am overwhelmed by the thoughts that I am left alone without him.

I read the headline of an article the other day- "Motherhood is a calling". I didn't read the actual article. I just couldn't go there. Because what do you do when you have felt your whole life that Motherhood is your calling, and then your baby is gone? Alot of days I feel like this. If you ask anyone who knows me- even has met me once or twice- they will probably tell you that I was meant to be a Mommy.

When I was about 3, I was watching Dumbo. I remember sitting in front of the TV just bawling. It was the scene where Dumbo's mother is locked behind the bars of her cage, and Dumbo desperately wants his Mommy. She gently pulls her trunk through the bars, scoops him up, and rocks him to the song "Baby Mine". (Allison Krauss has a really beautiful version also if you want to listen!). I remember thinking that when I had a baby, I wouldn't be able to bear being away from him (or her).

And so now, over 3 weeks later, I still can't bear being away from him. I don't know how to do it. I feel like I don't even know how my life if supposed to work. How can my life possibly make sense without him in it?

Sometimes I am just desperate for someone to ask me about him. I was at Target today, and I was just hoping that my usual check out lady was there. Then maybe she would ask about him. And maybe I could talk to her about my sweet baby. I love it when people tell me about him. Whether it be stories that they have about him, or maybe they saw something when I wasn't looking. Or other times it's the little things that remind them of him now. Because for me, I just don't want him to be forgotten. I don't want people to pretend he didn't exist.

Just because that's what I want right now, doesn't mean that everyone who has lost a child wants this. I can't pretend to know what other people know. And I know there is no "one-size fits all" grief. But I am so grateful for every sign that someone is thinking of my baby boy. Because I think about him every second, every minute, every hour of every day.

My brother and I took a little trip to San Diego this week. Which, by the way, if you have never been is absolutely beautiful. I was feeling down one afternoon. We had just checked in to our hotel in La Jolla, and my brother suggested that we take a walk to the beach. We turned out of the hotel, and directly in our path was the St. James Episcopal Church. In the window were several giraffes. What are the odds?! Giraffes in the window of a church called St. James. I had to laugh and was thankful for God's many blessings in my life. Some of them large signs, like this one, and other small ones that don't go unnoticed.

I'm going to try to start writing again- hopefully my writings won't disappoint!

40 comments:

  1. Sweet Kara, I think about you often and will keep praying for you. You are so right that grief is different for everyone. Just because your time with James was cut short doesn't mean that you aren't a fabulous Mom ... because you are!

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  2. Kara,I know I have said this to you before but I am always reminded of you and James. For some reason I never really noticed giraffes before I read your blog and now I see them everywhere. And every time I do I imagine James' beautiful smile and wonderful hair and then I smile. As Angela said you are a fabulous mom and I hope you NEVER question that for a second.

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  3. I too, see giraffes everywhere now, and I tell Kelly often that I feel like I know you. Just know that you are still in my thoughts and prayers, and Baby James has not been forgotten! (Today I even picked up a giraffe toilet brush at HEB and showed it to my boyfriend - too funny! We see giraffe things EVERYWHERE now!)

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  4. Kara, I want you to know that I think of James EVERY SINGLE DAY! I will never forget your precious boy! He is on my mind all the time. I will always remember the changes James made in me as a person and as a mother. I read a book that I would urge you to read when your emotions aren't quite so raw. It is called Heaven is For Real. I am praying for you faithfully!

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  5. Kelly Ive never met you before either but wanted to write and tell you that I see giraffes EVERYWHERE now as well. In the clothes section, in home decor, everywhere.

    James was really ahead of the trendy curve. :)

    I lost my son at a little over 3 months 12 years ago on June 16th. Right around the time that I found your blog. Please know that everything you are feeling is normal!! In fact, normal isn't really a word anymore. I'm not sure what the new word is but normal isn't it.

    Know that whenever I see a Giraffe I think of your sweet baby James and you and your husband.

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  6. I think about you and james everyday. We still pray for your family every night. And kade has a musical giraffe that we now call Jamesie. He will never be forgotten. Never. He has touched so many lives, and we can never forget him. Love you sweet girl.

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  7. Your strength amazes me. May you continue to live life seeing the positives. I wish I could be more like you. And your little boy is thought of every day by complete strangers who only know him thru pictures and your words. I know this because I am one of them.

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  8. Like so many other people, now, I see giraffes everywhere too, and I ALWAYS think of little James. I've never met you, or him, or your husband but how you are doing is on my mind regularly. Two weeks ago, I read a book called "Heaven is For Real" about a 4-year old boy's experience in heaven. I sobbed as I read where he talked about "sitting in Jesus' lap," because I could imagine Jesus holding your precious baby James. It gave me such comfort to read that. Maybe someday you could read it, if you haven't already. I know it will probably be hard to get through at some points, but I finished reading it, feeling so much more comforted for your precious boy. You and your family continue to be in my prayers.

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  9. It was so good to see another post from you, Kara. You both write so well! Though we've never met, I feel this connection. I guess because both of our sons had AT/RT and shared so many of the same doctors. My heart just breaks for you all. I pray that God continues to shower you with signs from above that James is alive and well - forever healed. And I pray that God holds you all tightly as you walk along this dimly lit path of grief.

    Much love,
    Stacie Smith

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  10. Kara, I've never met you or James but I think about your family often. Every time I see a giraffe, I think about James in heaven. I'm pretty sure I'll always associate giraffes with James! You and your family continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

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  11. James will not be forgotten. I walked into my great-nephew’s bedroom last weekend and there was the big giraffe, just like James’s. In fact, I didn’t think of it as Charlie’s giraffe, but as James’s. I told my sister all about James at that point. You are constantly lifted in prayer.

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  12. You have been on my heart a lot lately and I have been praying for you. I took my 1.5 year old son to the zoo for the first time a couple weeks ago and we took a picture in front of the giraffes just for James. You will always be James' Mommy and I'm grateful to hear your Mommy voice. If you get a chance and want to send me your address I made something for you. You can e-mail me at poorarerich@yahoo.com

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  13. Both my kids have lovies that are giraffes. The lovies are a constant reminder of your sweet James. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with you and your family. Keep writing - your words are an encouragement. James remains a blessing to all of us - even strangers like me! Praying for you....

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  14. I am so glad to see that you are continuing to write, for like you, writing for me is so healing. I cannot say that I have been where you are, but can tell you that all of the feelings you are having are completely normal. Another thing that I can say for certain is that you have been so very blessed with the ability to write! It seems to be so valuable for you and you are touching the lives of so many through your words! James will never be forgotten by anyone who has ready your words. He lives on through you, your words, and by every giraffe that I see in the coming days. He was the angel in our midst. You are still James's mommy and will always be so. I continue to pray for a sense of peace for you daily. Blessings to you, my friend!

    Pam Terry

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  15. Hi Kara,

    My name is Mindi and I was directed to your blog to pray for sweet James. I prayed so hard and I am so very sorry our prayers were answered so differently than we all hoped they would. I am also a pediatric oncology nurse (24yrs). In would love for you to tell me about your James.

    I would never assume to know how you must feel. Although my position as a nurse for children with cancer and their families puts me in a unique position to empathize. And I do. I hurt for you. One thing I do know is that one of the hardest thing for parents is the fear that their child will be forgotten. That could never happen. But as the world moves on it surely feels like people have forgotten. So tell me about James. Write it all down here in this sacred place that is just for him. Tell us - friends, family and strangers alike - tell us about your beautiful boy, with your stunning blue eyes and wild hair. With a smile that would melt snow and such a beautiful happy face. Tell us about James. We really want to know.

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  16. Oh my goodness did I have a typo...i meant his stunning blue eyes and wild hair. Oh boy!

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  17. I have this blog as a page on my iPhone that I keep up. I swipe over to it at least 2 times a day. I've missed reading your blog. I miss James! Even though I don't know him, I miss him and believe me, your blogging will not go unnoticed.

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  18. I hope you do keep writing! I think of you and James often, even though I've never met you. You've really touched my life, and I treasure my own children more because of you sharing your feelings. I was just asking my husband for a charm necklace for my birthday, and I'll put a charm of each of my children's names on it. And I plan to get on of the giraffe charms that you posted about earlier, to remind me of how precious all children are.

    I think your little boy is absolutely darling. I just love his hair, his smile, his eyes, everything about him! You were blessed to have him, even if it was for such a short time, and he was SO blessed to have you as his mommy. I'm sure our Father in Heaven sent him to you for a reason for you both. I believe James' spirit needed a body, and He new you would be able to not only survive such a tragedy, but use your positiveness and writing ability to bless the world from it. Again, thank you for sharing your feelings, thoughts, and your precious memories of your baby boy.

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  19. I am praying for you every single day and so are hundreds of other people. Please know that James will NEVER be forgotten. Even those of us who never had the chance to meet him are touched by his life and not one single day will pass without someone thinking of him and the joy he brought to this earth.

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  20. I think of James every single day and every night I pray for James and I pray for your family. You will always be a wonderful mom and so many of us I'm sure think about you all. I too see giraffes all the time and I love it. Yesterday I let some balloons go up in the air for sweet James. I'm glad you'll be posting more now. You're such a strong person, thank you for letting us be a part of your lives.

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  21. Please keep writing...It makes my heart full when I hear you talk about your sweet baby boy. You are still in my prayers several times a day. I too see giraffes everywhere now and think of James. My children's bathroom is decorated in animals and their toothbrush holder is a giraffe! That is so awesome about the church's name and the giraffes. That just had to bring the biggest smile to your face :) James WILL NOT be forgotten. How could he with all that brown hair and big blue eyes!! God Bless You!

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  22. I am so happy and thankful that you posted a blog entry. Although we don't know each other, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers many times throughout each day. You are a very gifted writer and I look forward to what you have to say. Hugs & prayers to you and your family.

    Susan in West Virginia

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  23. praying for you sweet kara! your strength gives me strength. know that god is surounding you with love and prayers. i hope you continue to write and share with us. you are truly a remarkable person and i know god has big plans for you. thinkng of you everyday!

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  24. i continue to think about your family and your baby boy. i'm so so sorry that you have joined the group of bereaved parents. i can tell you at almost 10 months out from losing my baby boy Julius, i still feel the same way. desperate to be near him, desperate to talk about him with others and share his light, desperate to know people are still thinking about him. i don't think that desire ever goes away, and i'm sure that we wouldn't want it to either. sending you my love...

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  25. Your sweet boy will not be forgotten. I have never met you and probably never will. I live in Mississippi. However, I have checked your blog daily to see if you have updated. Praying for you! I would love to hear more stories about James. And by the way, I love his hair--the greatest ever!

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  26. Your sweet son will never be forgotten... Giraffes are a constant reminder of the brief but dramatic and special impact he made on all of our lives. Your blog has also provided inspiration for so many of us. Your strengths-quest results may have been positivity, but I see an amazing God-given strength in you. Your experience as a new mom facing such an incredible challenge, yet so freely shared with others who needed to see your ability to rely on God, was a testament of that strength. I know you will have more tough days ahead, but please know you are thought of and prayed for across the world. Keep writing and sharing. It's a wonderful expression of God's love in you!!

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  27. Thank you for sharing despite your pain and grief. Like everyone else, I think of James often and especially when I see giraffes (which really are suddenly everywhere). James made such an impact in his short lifetime and continues to affect the lives of a lot of people. Many people will think of him in years to come because you shared him through this blog.

    James was as blessed to have you for a mother as much as you were to have him for a son. He will always be your son and you will always be his mother. I am close to someone whose son also died in infancy over 30 years ago and everyone who knows her always refers to her son by name and includes him when talking about the number of kids she has. That he has become an angel makes him no less your son.

    You need never worry that James will be forgotten. People who have never met him think of your beautiful son every day.

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  28. thank you for continuing to write and pouring out your heart. it touches my life in a way i could never have imagined, even though we are complete strangers. your sweet jamesie is a beautiful boy, and i know he will never be forgotten. praying for you and your family.

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  29. I love that God has been showing you so many giraffes! What a sweet reminder of His great love and care for you and precious Jamesie. I've never really noticed giraffes before, but now it seems they are everywhere! Know that each time I see one (which is often!), I say a prayer for you. Kara, you are an inspiration- I am so challenged by your perspective, your hope, and your love. PLEASE keep sharing your stories about James! For those of us who never had the privilege of meeting him, it is an honor to hear about such a special little boy. Love you, friend!

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  30. Oh, Jamesie, that HAIR! I'm sure many a bald baby the world over would be jealous of that awesome hair!

    Kara, thank you for sharing James with us. Praying for you and the Sikes family always.

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  31. i continue to pray for you all everyday! please keep an eye out for God's signs, when we least expect them they are there.

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  32. I think of James almost every day. He has me praying again. And that hair!! In my not so humble opinion, he had the most gorgeous, awesome hair of any baby ever. And that 1,000 watt smile! I still can hardly look at the pictures without tearing up, beautiful doesn't come anywhere close to sufficient a description of him.
    Whatever you write I love to read. It is genuine and it is true for you. Positive or negative they are your feelings and they aren't right or wrong.
    With a mommy as awesome as you, even with Jesus, I know James misses you too, but it will be only a blink of an eye to him before you're together again.

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  33. I was so happy to see an update on the blog! Thank you so much for continuing to write. As it has been expressed by so many, James will NEVER be forgotten. You have allowed tons of people, including strangers like me, to get to know James. Thank you so much for that. I LOVE hearing your stories about James, so please keep sharing! Like so many others have said, it seems as if giraffes are everywhere now! :) I think of James and you and Matthew every single time I see a giraffe. Your story has had such a profound impact on my life. I will always think of James and will always continue to pray for you and Matthew.

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  34. I just read your blog and you are in my thoughts and prayers along with James, who I know is with Jesus... I too lost a son and I feel your pain, faith and ups and downs... I want to hear all about James.. I know what you mean when you say you like people to ask about him so you can talk about him.. you never want to lose the memories and knowing he was here and he is yours.. you're very normal with you feelings.. I'm with you 100%

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  35. I'm so glad you are continuing to write! You are a great writer, Kara, and I love to read about James. What a fun little ball of energy he must have been! I can only imagine what Heaven is like with him up there, it must have gotten a little bit brighter on July 16. I'm a mom of 2 girls and every night, when I kiss my girls goodnight, I think of you and Matt and James. I can't pretend or assume to know how God will use this tragedy, but I do know that for me, and for so many others (judging from the comments on this blog), your story has been an inspiration and has made us all cherish each day with our loved ones as if it is our last. We don't know what each day holds, but we do know that we serve a living God who loves us more than we can even comprehend. It's hard for me to imagine how someone could love my kids more than I do, but I remind myself each day that God does, and that they are His gifts to me, and I think of James.

    For so many of us who didn't get to know James, we would love to hear more about him. He has touched this world in a very powerful way.

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  36. I am so thankful you are writing again. Though we have not met, I've missed your voice. I've missed your stories about sweet James.

    I can understand your fear that James will be forgotten. But please know, that's not possible. He's changed too many of our lives. I found your blog through a friend that you know from church. I've followed your story every day, often in tears. I have shared your story with many others. All of us are changed by James. I was in a dark place spiritually. It has been a couple years since I have been in active relationship with God (I lost a friend and have been confused and angry that God took her). I always believed in and trusted God, but He felt so far away. The first day I read about James (Day 21) I fell to my knees and prayed. True, honest, gut-wrenching prayer. And I have continued in that prayer ever since. And the most amazing thing has happened, I feel God's presence in my life again. I know the peace that comes with having Him by your side. Your sweet James gave me that. I am forever grateful. In many ways, I believe that your son saved me. I could never forget him. I promise. Please continue to write. We'll continue to read and be thankful to get to know James through your beautiful words.

    P.S. I sent in my "Jamie the Giraffe" form and have asked many others to do the same. No matter what the zoo decides to name her, that baby giraffe will always be Jamie to me. And I can't wait to take my daughter to meet her and share James's story of strength and faith.

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  37. Just want you to know that I think about your baby a lot.

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  38. Your most precious little James will NEVER be forgotten, something you will never have to question! I'm glad you've posted again and the zoo pictures are beautiful. I will try to post the form on facebook. "Jamie the Giraffe" sounds perfect!! God Bless You!

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  39. I want you to know your sweet little guy is the reason I go home every single night and squeeze my little one a little tighter. I think about James every day, he is alive in every wee one I see, he taught me how just precious every little baby truly is.

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