Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Twenty Nine

I'm a day late with this, but here it is.

For me the 29th is always harder than the 16th. The 16th at least represents some sort of finality, an unmistakable conclusion. It is an end point. The 29th is full of possibilities, unanswered questions that tug at edges my composure. The improvements are noticeable but incremental. October 29th was more unbearable than November 29th. Even the monthly counting itself represents a fascination that should have been ebbing. James would have been 13 months old, over a year and rapidly heading away from the period in which age is measured in months. I don't tell people I'm 335 months old for instance, and I suspect neither to do you. At first we measure in days, then weeks, then months and before you surrender to years entirely you're in elementary school, lording your five "and a half" over classmates. James will never make that progression, and so just as he's frozen in time so are the units in which I keep calculating his age. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. Five 29s gone. Almost half a year. I'm sure one day it'll stop, but I wonder when.

Each time,it seems something else strikes me in exactly the wrong way. Today for some reason is was the background picture on my phone. It's of James and Kara, posing before his last photo shoot with photolanthropy. We coaxed a smile from him and he's bouncing on Kara's hip. We don't know what's coming and we're happy. It was one of our last good days, before salt, swelling and the tumor caught up to us. His pictures are everywhere of course, but today each time I turned to my phone the dateline under the time of "Tuesday, November 29th" grabbed me. When will I change the background? There will be no new pictures. What would I have changed it to? James walking, talking, chasing the dogs? Rhetorical questions, all. It's always something.

For me, the best response is usually to do something. What isn't necessarily as important as the act itself. Work, find a new book, watch a movie, work out, it doesn't really matter. The important thing is to have something to do in order to prevent the rhetorical questions from devolving into a rhetorical narrative. I'm not suggesting reflection isn't important, it is, but for me at least it's important that it be at least purposeful. Four hours in bed focused on loss rarely helps me. There's a place for it, but I try to leaven my reflections with the good things when I can. James made me smile much more than anything else. When I can remember the good things as they were, not in the light of what isn't, I feel better. I still mark the time, but I can remember the 8 29s we had to celebrate and cherish them accordingly. This is sometimes easier in theory than practice.

So today it was the phone. We'll see what December brings. I've attached a photo of the last of James' weekly pictures. This is from his second full day in the hospital. He'd had surgery and been under general anesthesia multiple times within 48 hours of this picture, but the boy just can't stop smiling.

Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Here is a picture of James from last Thanksgiving. He was thankful for his Daddy. I think Kara dressed him in that because she knew if it said Daddy I'd be more inclined to allow my son to wear a shirt prominently featuring a Turkey. She was right, though if push came to shove I think we both knew he'd be wearing whatever she put on him, no matter how bedazzled. He was very cute, though I'm sure he had no idea what all the fuss was about.

I am thankful for the eight months and seventeen days I got to spend with him. I am thankful for his hair, his smile, and his laughter. I am thankful for the way he used to tug at the buttons of my shirt, perplexed that they were too flat to my chest to pop into his mouth. I am thankful for the soft way his chin rested on my shoulder during naps, and the rhythmic feel of his chest rising and falling with each breath against mine.

I am thankful for all of those small things, snatched from time, preserved for eternity. James and I reading from my Kindle together at two weeks old. He wouldn't stop crying no matter how much I walked him, rocked him, or cuddled him. I tried reading to him from one of his books- he had a library- but I needed one hand to hold him and couldn't quite master the art of holding both the book and James in a way that allowed me to turn the pages. So I picked up my Kindle and read Michael Lewis' "The Big Short" with him, as I only need one hand to turn the pages of the Kindle. He fell asleep during a discussion of bond tranches. If only I'd known finance was the answer to begin with. A little over six months old at the Arboretum. Kara was sick so we took a Daddy and James solo trip. We laid out on a blanket together. I attempted to take pictures but failed, James looking on in bemusement as if to remind me I should know better than to try a photoshoot on my own. We moved on to food. James wasn't interested in his food, but he liked the taste of the lemonade I bought out of the vending machine, which I know perfectly well I shouldn't have let him try. I was never a great disciplinarian. If I had it to do over again I'd have bought every drink there and let him have a sip.

I am thankful for all of these things and more. We've received a lot of support since James got sick. I've been overwhelmed at the generosity and kindness of strangers, from the giraffe contest to the notes that continue to trickle in months later. I went to the Starbucks on Northwest Highway a few weeks ago. Kara and I went through the drive thru the day after James died. In the cheerful way of baristas everywhere, the clerk asked us how we were. I think I stuttered to "not great" while desperately waiting for her to hand us the cup. She cheerfully asked why and I told her our son just died. I still remember how shocked she looked, and the awkward precision with which she rushed our cups out afterwards. When I went this time, a different barista took my order, but as I went to grab the cups, there she was, rushing up behind the barista actually handling my order. She said she'd been thinking my wife and I, and she hoped we were doing better. There've been a lot of things like that I'm grateful for, people have no cause to know us or think of us who have gone out of their way to help.

I wish I could say all of that made today easy. It did not. The holidays remain difficult, littered as they are with opportunities for you to imagine what should have been, no matter what is. I miss him everyday, some days more than most. Still, I'm more thankful than not. I was blessed to be James' father. I couldn't ask for anything more.

Thank all of you for all of your support this year. Your prayers, your thoughts, and your words. Enjoy the holiday and your families, and thank you for thinking of ours.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The sun is starting to peek out

So this week has been relatively better.  It's the first week that I haven't just felt numb most of the time- which is good!

My emotions still go all over the place.  But I would say that this week the lows aren't as low.  I didn't go to the cemetery on the 16th.  I really don't know what to do out there.  And I don't like that the 16th of every month reminds me of James' death.  Just like on Saturdays I can remember that he died on a Saturday.  I'm trying to reframe those days so they aren't so debilitating, if that makes sense at all.

The past few weeks I have been trying to figure out what the future looks like.  For a while, I honestly wasn't sure that I cared.  Every moment of joy that I had over the last several months made me feel immediately guilty.  Because I shouldn't be feeling any happiness- my baby died.  So why should I laugh? 

I'm starting not to feel as guilty about things like that.  I still do from time to time, but the time in between is getting longer and longer.  Which I think is a good thing.  I don't feel like my sadness is all-encompassing as much.  I mean, it's still there, definitely, but it's not as debilitating.  I know I keep using that word, but that's what it felt like for a while- debilitating, disabling.  Almost like I needed a handicap sticker placed on my entire body.  Or a sign that says, "Tread carefully.  Extreme emotions ever present."

I know that there are bound to be days where it feels worse.  But I'm starting to recognize that there are days that feel better too.  And both of those are ok. I don't want the 16th of every month to be a reminder of what I lost.  Because I had 8 other 16ths with James that full of the most special times.  Or maybe not special, they may have just been  typical days, but now those average days I cherish. 

I, of course, still miss my Jamesie.  There isn't an hour that passes that I don't think of him.  And sometimes there are 60 minutes in that hour that I am only thinking of him.  This week I ate lunch at Panera.  And remembered that last time I went to Panera with James, my mom was in town.  I happened to order the chicken noodle soup (It has the least amount of calories and I was trying to be healthy.  I really wanted the baked potato soup!).  The last time we were there, my mom had ordered the chicken noodle soup and James ended eating all of the carrots and noodles from her soup. 

It made me sad at first, but then I remembered the look on his face as he just went after those carrots and noodles.  He had always hated the mashed carrots in the baby food jar, but he decided he liked these.  He really did not like mashed up food in general.  Once he realized that he could pick up food, like bananas and avocados, he enjoyed eating much better. 

Thank you for being so supportive and listening to my ramblings.  I feel like I always write when I am sad, and tonight I'm not completely depressing!  These pictures are from right before Thanksgiving last year at the Arboretum.  James was 3 weeks old.  He wasn't as in to the pumpkins....but he was only 3 weeks old!

Monday, November 14, 2011


I'm loading all of the pictures onto google. Trying to inoculate them and keep them safe permanently from the forces of the world. Broken hard drives, lost phones, and power surges. All of these are too fraught with danger for pictures of my James. Completely unable to protect my son in the flesh, I will immortalize him digitally. I will create a permanent record of these memories that cancer and nothing else can touch.

You can see him getting sicker in the pictures. There's an odd chronology. He's smiling, and then slowly becoming more distressed. He comes up in the hospital pictures at first miserable, but we're documenting it because it's a milestone- Baby's First Time in the Hospital- not because he had cancer. I still remember checking in at B6, toys in hand, joking that we were in for a long night and wondering if we should take bets on when the doctors would show up. I sometimes have a real problem taking things seriously. I never imagined we'd make our way to the PICU in less than five hours.

The pictures create an odd sort of timeline, one evolving into hell. A picture of his insurance card I sent to Kara to take him to the doctor with. A picture of him in the Medical City emergency room lying on Kara's chest, back when we were trying to take care of dehydration that was never the problem, and the least of the symptoms. In his Moses basket before we went, perhaps the day before, crying because his head was splitting apart and no one knew. I feel so guilty I did nothing to help him, that I didn't know what he was trying to tell me. In a Mavericks shirt Kara bought him from a street corner, his one and only championship. He's sick but still trying to laugh. The tumor never managed to rob him of his joy. Now the picture show that he's in the hospital, now we know. He's playing despite the drain sipping fluid off his brain- we're struggling to keep his hands clear of the wires, which he naturally found fascinating. A giraffe in hand a bright smile- never mind the the wires, the drain, or any of it. James didn't have time to worry. He loved to play, He loved everything.

Now he's had his surgery. Poor baby, but he's still so happy. He was never the same after. He never managed to get completely well from the surgery, but the tumor did. He never had the time, he wanted to, he always did. He fought so hard. I am proud of him. Prouder than I've ever been of anyone of anything. Now the port's in him and we're spiraling into the last few weeks. Days are precious but we don't know it, we're ignorant to the future. We still have hope. We still had James. Now it's too late- he's at home and in his moses basket again, but now he can't cry anymore. All he can do is rest, and wait. Now we're just clinging to hours, desperately trying to freeze time. When I think about it now I feel guilty for sleeping. I only had so many hours and I wasted at least a few sleeping, when he was still alive and breathing. He woke up the morning he died having trouble breathing, I wonder, if I had stayed up that night, would I have noticed when it started? Could I have done something? I should have known better, done things differently. I feel guilt because it's better than loss, it's easier to blame yourself than to acknowledge there's no one to blame.

So I'm memorializing all of it, every picture on my phone, in my possession, or anywhere. I will test and break gmail's limit, and after that I'll find somewhere with enough space to store it all. Physical storage, like the flesh, is too weak to be trusted. Of course the internet itself is just as impermanent, only as reliable as your connection and your power supply. There's no safe place but my mind really, but we may as well double up on them.

A few weeks ago I lost my phone. I subsequently recovered it, but while it was lost I kept worrying about it. I had everything backed up, but I kept worrying I must have missed something. What, I didn't know, but that didn't stop me. It also made me worry about the reliability of purely physical back up. What if something happened to my phone and my computer? In response I've begun digitizing.

When your child dies, you become all too aware of the value of the pictures you do have. The timeline is frozen, and your experiences are ended. Therefore each picture, and you know exactly how many there are, becomes precious, a treasure. There will be no more, and you know that each and every one is precious. Each pose, each smile, every second of video. You once took the minutes casually, watching him and not recording. Now it is all essential, it is all unique. The fear is forgetting. Preservation becomes a goal in and of itself.

On one level this is all pointless. My son is not, and was not, the sum of his pictures. Each and every day of his life he was more- a gift from God uniquely blessed. Each of those days was a gift. We were blessed to have him. We were honored to know him. Still, a certain paranoia infuses everything, a need for preservation. It's more for us of course. James has no need of it. It's just something to do. Something to remember. As with so many things these days, I'm finding that the goal isn't necessarily what you want, but what makes you feel a little better. It's not about huge victories, but small ones scattered throughout the day. There's no epiphany, just an assortment of moments that move you forward.

Thank all of you for your continued thoughts and prayers. Today marks 4 months from the day we lost James. In a few articles I've read, they've suggested 4 months is a magic number, the number of months by which it starts to make sense. I don't know about that. But I do know that we've been blessed with a lot of support, and I thank you for that.


I was a bridesmaid this weekend in my friend Amanda's wedding.  She looked so beautiful, and the wedding was her perfect fairy tale.  I was so happy for Amanda and Evan, but I had so many conflicting emotions going into the weekend.

When Amanda asked me to be a bridesmaid, my life was so completely different.  It's almost like my life has three stages now- before James, with James, after James.  I made the hotel reservation the week that James was throwing up.  When I pulled up the hotel confirmation this week, I realized that I had made the reservation with a requested crib.  Because even though James had been throwing up that week, I truly thought that it was a bug.  I would have never guessed that he wouldn't have been there. 

I thought I would put some Jamesie and Mommy pictures up.  These are from Easter Sunday. 
And so the reservation sort of sent me into a downward spiral.  Last Friday, I finally tried on my bridesmaid dress.  I had picked it up a week or two after James died and it had been sitting in my closet ever since.  I keep thinking about the day I ordered it.  James and I had driven out to Firewheel in Mesquire (for those of you Dallas people).  It was the closest Alfred Angelo store.  I assumed that the store opened at 10 and didn't check the times.  It opened at 11.  We got there about 10:30 and had time to kill.  We went to the Starbucks next door where the barista guy smiled and made James laugh.  

We then decided to go hang out in the backseat of the car because James was hungry.  So I fed him in the backseat (which I swear the whole world has seen my boobs at this point).  I accidentally left my coffee cup on top of the car, and so everyone that walked by noticed first the coffee cup, and then James and I in the backseat waiting.  The store opened, and I grabbed a few dresses to try on.  James ended up playing on the floor of the fitting room, but was over it pretty quickly.  I chose the first dress I tried on, paid, and headed out into a pretty large storm.  I remember calling my mom and asking her to look at the weather to make sure that I should really start to head home.  Precious cargo in the backseat.  James slept the whole way home and we made it safely home. 

For some reason I remember every single detail about that morning.  I remember what he was wearing.  A blue Polo romper onesie.  I had meant to put on shoes, but they didn't quite make it on that morning.  And it was warm, so no big deal.  Hair partially sticking up, like always.  Gummy smile. 

Little moments like that, forever ingrained in my mind.  The simplest of tasks, yet those are the moments that summed up our days.  I like remembering him this way as opposed to sick in a hospital bed.

At the reception, a woman (I think she could have been the grandmother) headed out to the dance floor with a baby boy about how old James should be.  And then I lost it.  I hadn't cried all weekend, and then I just lost it.  I spent a considerable amount of time in the bathroom crying.  I just really thought that he was going to be there.  I still can't believe that he wasn't.  He should have been.

I posted on facebook about that last part.  I know alot of people try to say the right thing, and I understand that.  I know that so many people want me to have another baby immediately, and that they think that encouraging me in that direction is the right thing to say.

But- and I mean this in the nicest way possible- I am absolutely, unequivocally not having another baby in the near future.  There are so many reasons why.  I'm hesitant to list even one of them, because someone will have a rebuttal for that particular reason, and then it will just go on and on.  I really wasn't going to even say anything about it, because it really isn't anyone's business, but there have been so many comments lately about it that I feel like I need to say that. 

I know that many people won't understand that, and that's ok.  But my hope is that you all won't place judgment and know that this isn't a spur of the moment decision.  Bringing a child into the world isn't something that should be decided on a whim.  It's a lifelong commitment, for however long that life lasts. 

So I think I need to revise my list about things not to say to people grieving the loss of a child.  I think number one on mine right now is "You can have another baby" or anything along those lines.  Or anything that has to do with bringing or doing things with another child.  Because I don't want to do those things with any other child.  And to imply that it would be the same to do those things with another child is saying that James wasn't unique for who he was.  I don't want to dance at a wedding with another child.  I want to dance with James.  I want to see the expression on his face as I dip him to the ground.  Or as we shimmy and shake.  Or how his eyes follow the lights across the ballroom.  Or maybe how he might have been walking now and see him walk across as people danced.  I don't know what he would have done. 

And I know that no one means those comments to be hurtful.  It's just that I find now it's better when I sort of let people know when comments bother me. 

Did anyone make a wish at 11.11.11 at 11:11?  I'm still waiting to see if mine comes true....

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Below is something I wrote the Day after James' funeral. I still keep a journal, and this is what I wrote that day. I was looking over it tonight and one line struck me. Back then, almost four months ago, I wrote that I didn't have a time table. When I read that tonight I started to wonder if that was changing, if in the intervening months I'd decided that there was a time I was going to allot to this, the same way I might schedule a meeting or plan a budget to buy a new car. I've always found a certain degree of comfort in schedules. I like to know when and where I can expect to deal with something and prepare myself accordingly. When I read this tonight it struck me that I still, after all this time, have no timetable. I can't even schedule when or how I think of James, whether it's smiling when I stumble upon a giraffe walking stick we got from the zoo, or freezing when I open my trunk and see the base of his car seat still there. For some reason I was fine taking it out of the backseat but couldn't bear to take it out of the trunk. So now I just don't use the trunk. I don't even have a timetable for when I'm taking that out, let alone when I'm going to deal with everything else.

What I am beginning to realize is that perhaps this never ends. Perhaps I'm not going to "get over it." Perhaps I'll just live with it and manage it. I don't necessarily mean that in the sense that I will lead the rest of my life morbidly depressed, but in that James and his loss are never going to fit into a neat, compartmentalized box in my life. There is never going to be a file I can index and store for this, it's always going to be there, the good and the bad. I've come to believe this isn't necessarily a bad thing. James was an amazing gift, and it was the highest privilege I have ever known to be his father. I don't want a timetable for getting past that.

The picture is a James "self-portrait" I handed him my phone with the camera on and let him play with it. He took a few select shots of himself on accident and this was one of them- he's trying to put the phone as close as he can get it so that he can get at the baby in the picture. I loved watching him do that, and I like to remember things like that, the way he played, his objectives. I don't want to forget those things.

Thank all of you for your continued support and prayers. It's been very comforting over the last few months to hear from all of you.

Day Twenty Nine

Today marks either the first day of the rest of my life or the last day of the best part of my life. I suppose it's a question of perspective. After James' service yesterday, family has slowly migrated home, back to their jobs and their lives. Friends have faded, though still supportive, the sense of urgency fades. James is buried, commended to the earth and claimed in faith. All that remains from now on is what we do with ourselves. We are left to grieve, to mourn, and to recover as best we can.

I wish I could say that I spent the first day of this new period well, meditating on James life or reflecting positively in some way. God knows I would have liked to. Instead, I did virtually nothing all day. I woke. I dressed. I showered. Each act took too long, a little more time than you might expect. Forty minutes to get out bed. 20 for the shower and getting dressed. Pauses were long, and frankly I completely lost track of time on several occasions. Focus comes irregularly, and all too often sharp on the wrong images. The background picture on my phone. The cluster of toys on the hearth, still unmoved. We haven't gone through anything yet.

I went to dinner with a friend I'd scheduled yesterday. Thai food, drunken noodles with a touch of spice but nothing overwhelming. If I hadn't scheduled the dinner yesterday I seriously doubt I would've done anything at all today. And maybe that's ok. Maybe there is no time table for what I'm doing here, maybe there's no way this ought to look. Kara and I both love schedules, exact timetables we can rely on and trust completely. I am obscenely punctual. But we can't schedule this. And so I lose days in the cemetery, days I never even knew were there. It's humbling, and incredibly enlightening at the same time.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Holiday Ornaments for a Cause!

The sweet people at Personalizedfree.com contacted me because they have been reading about James and praying for us for several months.  They wanted to be able to help donate to James's fund, and came up with a great way to do that!

 Personalizedfree.com is a small, family-owned and operated business that sells the most adorable Christmas ornaments. 

And they have offered to donate 10% from every sale to James' fund with the code "JAMES" entered at checkout!

I love this pregnant momma ornament!  Wouldn't that be such a cute way to tell family that you are expecting?  

Or to give your parents and in-laws this ornament about their new status?!

My mom bought my brothers and me an ornament every year, depending on what we were "into" that year.  And then when I got married, she gave me all the ornaments so that my tree was decorated.  I know so many little boys that want to be firemen!

Or lawyers!  

And the realtor is just so cute. This would be a thoughtful gift if you bought a new house this year to send to your realtor!

I know my teacher friends would love this ornament.  And it beats the 15 coffee mugs they normally get at Christmas! (Not that coffee mugs are bad...I just always think teachers probably get a ton of them!)

The backhoe is my friend Jean E.'s son, Garrett's, favorite.  He LOVES backhoes.  He is so cute when he points them out.  

Personalizedfree.com really has an ornament for everyone!  The ornaments are all personalized by hand so everyone is unique. 

The details:
Enter the code "JAMES" at checkout
10% of every purchase will go to the James Camden Sikes fund

Saturday, November 5, 2011


I meant to post this last week. I did not. Here you go.

It wasn't supposed to be like this. There was supposed to be more. A party, a cake. One James attended not in his 37th week but his 52nd, full of life and vigor. He was supposed to smile, play, and even if he didn't know what was going on, know it was all about him. He never stirred during the party we did get to have for him, poor baby. I often wonder when the exact moment he slipped away from our being able to reach him, even though I know it happened slowly, with no anticipation. I believe he could hear us at the end I just wish he'd had a way to let us know. Pouring over my pictures of him I stumbled upon what I think is the last picture I have of him playing. He's munching on a mum mum bar, his favorite, back arched in that typical way of his, always striving to move more, do more, and see more. He died a week later.

I wonder what he would have looked like, if his hair would've gone blond or settled in the middle. If eyes would retain their vibrant blue or shift to another tone. If his fangs would've become crowded with more teeth around them. I have so many "what ifs" that I cannot begin to list them. Each moment represents an independent one, all dependent upon the same event. To use a legal term, they assume facts not in evidence. There is no evidence of my son now, only what I speculate might have been. It is a poor substitute, because James from the moment he was born was a terrific surprise to me. I was never sure exactly what fatherhood entailed and if I am honest it did not come to me immediately like motherhood did to Kara. It took time for the reality of it to sink in, for the love I felt for my son to translate into a fundamental change in who I was. Just as I was getting the hang of it, I stopped being a father. I don't know what to do with that. I sympathize when others talk about their babies but the experiences I can share run out before walking and talking.

Today brings everything to the surface. Thoughts that I might otherwise keep at bay with a few more hours at work or a book come rushing to the foreground, because I am not doing what I should be. Looking at the difference between last year and this year invites a comparison that cannot be avoided. At 10:20, James was born. We were in the ER and I was wearing scrubs (I still have them, I stole them as a memento from the hospital). Kara was getting her second hit of morphine and ascending to a higher plain, and the nurses dragged James over to weigh him. He was screaming, just like he should've been, a relief after all the trouble they had keeping his heart rate steady. All anyone could talk about was his hair, thick and matted onto his head. He looked just like Kara, her nose and cheeks. I wanted to hold him but they kept running tests, so I didn't get a chance for a few minutes, minutes I spent anxiously videotaping, sure we'd share it with our embarassed son twenty years later. He was perfect, just as he should have been.

This year, 10:20 was quiet. No screams, no babies, no anything. Just more stillness. You forget how loud babies are, as they have no sense of propriety. They are delightfully uninhibited and free as adults never are to scream, cry, and laugh, often all at once. James was just like that. In his absence, the silence is all the more obvious. Stunning, even.

So what did I do? We went to a DAYL event. I wanted to stay longer but I couldn't. It was sweet of them to honor James, and the event itself was a lot of fun. I encourage all of you with families to go to the zoo, it's a great place to take a family and there's a ton of things to do. Jamie is growing, though she has yet to master the art of eating grass- it's awkward enough that you understand why giraffes prefer leaves. I'm glad the DAYL is doing more family stuff, I think it's healthy and lets you get to know people in a different setting. I went to the cemetery, of course. Balloons fluttering in the wind wishing a happy first birthday to a patch of dirt now nearly completely covered in grass. Despite myself I worry between the tears what will happen when I'm not around to clean up the balloons after they deflate. I cannot tolerate the idea of his grave appearing uncared for. I care. It is peaceful as always, but the stillness serves again as a reminder of how loud it should be.

Some days are better than this. I can get busy enough on something or get enough work in front of me that I'm occupied enough that I can push it to the margins. Some days I remember more of the good things, and the rest seems less important. I can function, laugh, joke, and enjoy life. Today was not one of those days. I couldn't function, couldn't tell you what I worked on all day the day before on or even let you know what I planned for dinner. I think I tried to put on a good front. I have no idea if I was successful.

It's annoying because I don't want James' anniversaries to be marked by loss. I don't want to look at the 16th every month and do a mental calculation of how long it's been since he died. I don't want to take each 29th and do a mental calculation of how old he should be. I don't want to dwell on it. I want to think of as he was- the joyful little boy who lit up every time you walked in the room, and couldn't get enough being thrown in the air. I want to remember his little cackle when the dogs played in front of him, not the labored sounds he made as he struggled to breath near the end. I don't want that to be the most important thing about James, because there are so many more important things. His smile was worth all that alone. I don't always get what I want though. Sometimes I can't help myself, even though I want to. Sometimes I can't be more than mad. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe next year. But I'm not giving up on someday. James wouldn't.

Happy Birthday son. We miss you.

Thank all of you for your support this week, it meant a lot.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


This is the only picture I have of James from Halloween last year.  One of my many regrets is not dressing him up in a costume last year.   I know it's not really important, but I now I wish I had.

I didn't expect today to be so hard.  Really, I thought Saturday was going to be the worst day.  And today was just really bad, and maybe its because I didn't expect it.  I barely moved from the couch today.  The only times I got up were to let the dogs in and out.

I don't even know what I watched on tv, though I am sure it was on all day.  I really don't know what I did.  I know I kept getting on facebook and seeing the (what seems like) hundreds of adorable kids in their adorable costumes.  And with each lady bug or monkey I just sank lower and lower.  Sometimes I think I should just cancel my facebook completely!  I tend to compare myself to other people alot, and it really only makes me feel worse about myself sometimes.  Does that happen to anyone else?

One of my classes got canceled, and so I was home during the typical Trick or Treat time.  I was really planning on being gone so I didn't have to deal with it.  I hadn't bought any candy or decorated.  So I was the Grinch this year and sat on the couch, lights off, shades drawn, with no candy to give out. 

I think I should have known that I was upset about Halloween.  A few months ago, some people at church had asked me to help chair our Fall Festival.  I just couldn't.  I knew that it was the day after James's birthday, and I just couldn't bear to see all the kids in their costumes when I never had the chance to even bring James to the event.  And as it got closer, I couldn't even bear to hear about it.  And I know it's terrible, but I just can't deal with it.  I didn't even ask my friends what their children were dressing up as. 

Some days I just feel like I don't function at all.  Maybe if I had somewhere I had to be today it wouldn't have been a total loss, but the days I have no plans seem to be the worst.  Sometimes I can just sit and stare for hours and accomplish nothing.  Tomorrow I have several things I have to do, so hopefully I can make myself go do them. 

Tomorrow is All Saints Day.  I've never even thought about the day, other than in Spanish class in high school when we had "Dia de las Muertos" parties.  I read somewhere  that All Saints day is supposedly when some people believe that the space between Heaven and Earth is closer, and therefore more signs from loved ones are seen.  Well, I'll be honest, I would love a sign.  What I would really love is James to appear and tell me that he is ok- great even- and will just play with his angel baby friends until I get there.  Maybe he will. I have to hope that maybe I one day I will get a sign. 

Sometimes life is funny.  If you had told me 6 months ago that I would halfway believe that on November 1st the barrier between Heaven and Earth was thinner, I would have told you that it was all bull and you are crazy.  Now I think I just grasp at anything that could give me the chance to see James again. 

Like I said before, nothing in my life is black and white anymore.  It's all gray that might possibly make me slant towards the loony bin.  Even typing it, I'm thinking "Who the heck would believe that?!" 

So I hope everyone had a good time with their little ones today.  But tomorrow, on All Saints Day, would you mind saying a little prayer for my little one?