Learning to live again.

As minutes, hours, days and months go by I feel my pain has yet to subside. I know I’ve smiled and laughed since Tyler left this world. However, the overall joy behind it all hasn’t felt genuine. This weekend we’ve kept busy, we’ve gathered with friends, saw a movie, had a nice dinner together and tried to just enjoy life again. I must admit – when I’m with my husband, is when I feel my safest. He’s there when I need him, he doesn’t judge me when the tears begin to fall and he is the only other person in this world that has the title of Tyler’s parent. Our grief process may be drastically different but we somehow always know exactly how to comfort the other in our dark moments.

I’ve recently stumbled onto a group of bereaved mothers as well. Their stories and optimism through such troubling times gives me hope for our future. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting women from all over the world who are going through the same things that we are, at this very moment. I get to see their beautiful angels and share pictures of my own. I am a firm believer in the fact that no one truly knows how deep this pain is unless they themselves have faced it. I know its inevitable that throughout this journey Billy and I both will likely lose friends, as well as make some new ones. It’s sad that when such a tragedy occurs others don’t know how to deal with the situation so they instead ignore it. I am however grateful for the wonderful women that have reached out to me and shared their stories. I’ve made what I feel will be life-long connections with some and just simply enjoyed talking to others. Their courage, ability and will to push on astound me daily.

We’ve made the plunge and decided to follow through with genetic testing in case we are ever ready to try and make baby T a big brother. The thought scares me beyond belief. I feel as though by taking that step I’m somehow trying to replace my precious boy. I also fear that if we were to ever have another child, I wouldn’t be able to love them in the same way that I love sweet Tyler. I know that only time will tell, but I do ask that you keep us in your prayers.

It’s been 108 days since we were able to hold our son. Each day that number will grow from now until our time here is done. My heart never stops longing for him and I know, never will. I pray that with one day at a time and one foot in front of the other, I can spread Tyler’s legacy all over this world and keep his memory alive. After all, each new life, no matter how brief, forever changes the world.

Thoughts.

As our move approaches later this year I think about the fact that baby Tyler’s room will have to come down. Im in no way ready for this. Although he didn’t spend hardly any time in his own little space, it’s still his, and it’s still so special to sit around all of his things. Used or not. It reminds me of the love he had from family and friends. I knew that eventually this was something that would have to be done, I’m just not sure I’ll be ready when the time comes and were forced to do it without question.

Last week my step father was taken into the ICU for chest pains and high blood pressure. He’s now facing a quadruple heart bypass later this week. I wish so badly I could wrap my arms around my family and rid everyone of all their pain. I feel like we’ve gone through enough suffering in the past year to last us a lifetime. I know he is frightened as well as the rest of us for his safety.

After hearing his diagnosis and treatment plan, I crumbled. Is this really happening again? Why does everyone around us seem to be having heart troubles? An even bigger question was, why if they have high hopes of correcting his problems could they not correct Tyler’s? My very raw and unhealed wound was ripped right back open for all the world to see. I dont understand why Tyler wasn’t given his 2nd chance as many other children, men and women have.

All I know at this point is that I have to continue to try and have faith. Christianity is a very blind faith and if I follow the path of Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior I must come to accept that I’ll never have answers to some of my infinite questions. For those I feel can be answered, I will search. I do not plan to turn a blind eye to what’s happened to us. I want to fight for my sons life, even if it means now, after he’s gone. I want to fight for children in the same shoes that our precious boy was in, and try to help save a life that doesn’t have to leave this world just yet. I want to fight for so many things in this world with God by my side helping me along the way. Showing me when to stand up and when to back down.

We live in a very broken world filled with hate and crime. I choose not to succumb to this evil. I want to love those who may not even like me, I want to give when I can and expect nothing in return. I want to live a life so pure so that when its my time to go, I can be proud of all I’ve done, my son can be proud of my accomplishments and God can smile as I enter into his kingdom of heaven.

Mothers Day.

Yesterday should have been a time for hugs, smiles, picked wild flowers, hand-made cards, maybe even a nice home-cooked family dinner. Unfortunately for me, none of the above seemed to fit into my life’s predestined plan. My Mother’s Day was spent weeping over the absence of the one person who gave me the right to celebrate such an occasion, my son. I never imagined the intensity of the hurt that would consume me on such a day. I was reminded of all that I’ve lost. My sweet sons smile, his overall spirit and those beautiful blue eyes that could melt your heart. I was reminded that even though I’m still a mother, I’m stuck here without my child. I sat here with tear filled eyes and empty aching arms, watching other mothers celebrate a day that I thought would be always be a cause for celebration; while I silently broke inside.

Grief is like riding a nasty wave. One minute you’re up and feeling good with the wind against your face, and the next you’re drowning and don’t know how to make your way back to the surface. I strive for those good days, I like to think when I can feel the warmth of the sun against my skin that Tyler is wrapping his arms around me from heaven; letting me know its ok to feel, to smile and to live another day. When the bad days come it’s all I can do to remind myself that he no longer hurts, he’ll never see, feel or experience the cruelty of this world. It takes every ounce of my being to pull myself together and get out of bed. Losing a child is not something I believe you ever get over, or move on from. It’s something you learn to live with. You will never not feel the pain, you just learn to tuck it away into a safe place that others can’t touch.

I’m honestly afraid to continue on without my Tyler. I feel like my entire world has been ripped from my fingertips. I think about a time when I can see him again and spend all of eternity holding his little hand. Some days I find myself wishing he could tell me what its like in heaven and reassure me that he’s not afraid or scared, that he has no pain and that he’s watching over us all in the presence of those who have gone before us. I think about him talking with his great-grandparents, watching and learning from his cousins Wendy and Tyler who also left us too early in life, and waiting patiently beside them all for the rest of us to catch up. Of course, I love to imagine him playing with all of the other angel babies who left their parents down here feeling the exact same way I am. The parents who are walking among us, and living daily with the deepest pain a human being will ever know.

So, here I sit. Typing out my thoughts and feelings, wondering how to even begin to heal from this life altering loss. Wanting so badly to be a beacon of hope to others, but honestly having no idea how to deal with my own grief. Falling apart on days like today, which would have been Tyler’s 4 month “birthday” and yesterday, Mother’s Day. Always wondering what could have been … what SHOULD have been, but forever remaining grateful for the three beautiful weeks I had with my little man. As much hurt and anguish as his death has brought me and my husband, our families and our friends, I would do this all over again if it meant just one more minute with him. I pray that Tyler leads me back to where I belong and shows me the path I should walk to honor his life and our Lord. I pray that my anger and emptiness begin to slowly dissipate and I can once again pray, and know that God hears the wants and needs of my heart. I want nothing more than to carry Tyler’s name all over this world, in my heart and through my faith, to help myself and others – as we stumble blindly down this path God has led us on.

Happy 4 months, Bubba. Your mommy and daddy are always loving you.

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10 tiny fingers & 10 tiny toes.

Three months.

Three months. It’s been three months since I’ve smelled you, seen you or held you in my arms. Three months since I’ve felt the rise and fall against my chest with each breath you took. For three gut wrenching months, I’ve lived without you.

I don’t know how I manage to crawl out of bed most mornings. My nights and days feel so incredibly empty without you here next to me. As Mother’s Day slowly creeps up, I’m brutally reminded of all the loss we have suffered as a family this year. Today, May 4th marks three months since Tyler left us, Sunday, May 8th will be my first Mother’s Day and yet I’m unable to mother my child. Followed by May 9th, the day Tyler should have turned 4 months old. I know his loss will remain a life long struggle, but this first year is filled with so many milestones that we as a family are unable to celebrate. It’s a constant reminder of what we’ve lost.

I have good days and I have bad days, like any normal person. I also have horrendous days. Days where I look at a photo of my angel baby and I feel completely abandoned; by my faith, by medical care and the world in general. I have so many questions that have been left unanswered. Why, Tyler? Why our family? He was so wanted, and so loved from the moment we knew of his existance.

I’ve read every self help book out there to try and wrap my mind around what’s happened to us. What am I supposed to learn from all of this pain? What is my purpose in life? Why did God believe I was strong enough to handle so much heartache? All questions that again, I’ll likely never have answers to. Living with such a blind faith is one of the most troubling things to face when these questions arise.

One thing I do know is that my life is forever changed. I had the honor to love my little boy, fiercely and endlessly for 27 glorious days. I will always love him. Near or far, he will always be my baby. Tyler Matthew will remain in my heart until my dying day, and I pray that with my last breath, I rejoice in the anticipation of seeing him again. I will then set aside all of these questions, I will have overcome my anger with God and I will have lived the life that Tyler would have wanted me to.

So, when that moment comes I have no doubt that I’ll be surrounded by the endless love of our Father, whom I have so much frustration towards in this moment; but am again shown the greatest blessing he will ever bestow upon my life, my angel, Tyler.

CHD walk.

Well world, we did it! We completed the 5k heart walk to support CHD in Los Angeles this Sunday in our little mans honor. It was rewarding and difficult all wrapped into one. My heart continues to break in Tyler’s absence but is overflowing with the love and endless support that our family and friends have shown towards us!

We walked among some true warriors this weekend. Children that have gone through more in their short lives than most of us will ever face in our own, adults who overcame this awful disease and are now flourishing! Even adults and children who are living lives with more scheduled surgeries in their near and/or distant future. Of course, the hardest to stomach were the families like ours. The ones who have lost their loved ones to this God awful birth defect. All walks of life surrounded us as we trekked Griffith Park for 3.1 miles. You could literally FEEL the love around you among all of those who attended.

Tyler’s Warriors came in as one of the events top teams! Woo-Hoo! We raised over $1,400 and had 12 walkers there beside us to make a total of a 14 man team. I know for a fact that Tyler watched in awe as we all smiled and shared his memories. We set out to make him proud and raise awareness, and that’s just what we did! Our sweet son was taken all too soon and I vow to do anything in my power to spread his name and love all over this broken world. His smile left you feeling complete and I know that I’ll forever cherish the weeks we had with him.

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I have always held strong to my faith but lately I’ve felt a strong disconnect from the Lord. I have so many questions and I know majority of them I’ll never have answers too; at least not in this life. If you’re reading this, and are a believer in Christ, I ask that you say a prayer for us tonight. Not just for me or my husband, but for our angel – and the rest of our family and friends (possibly even yourself) who have been deprived of the chance to know Tyler. Not only as an infant but, a toddler, a pre-teen, an adolescent and a man. I am often reminded of how much we’ve now lost out on. Seeing his face on the back of our t-shirts made me smile with joy that he’s still here, in some way, shape, or form. However, it broke me to know that his photos and our memories are all that we have left to hold onto.  He was so pure and sweet that I often find myself thankful he didn’t know heartbreak, or pain, outside of the hospital pins and pricks.

The anger that has built up inside me is frightening. I would give the world to have saved my little boy. I know now that my purpose in this life is to help save others. Tyler will never come back to us, and I know that but I pray that we will eventually go to him. I do intend to have him live on through Billy and myself. Wether that be by fundraising, raising awareness for CHD, sharing his smile with all of those around us or simply walking a 5k… we WILL help. We WILL spread Tyler’s name to the world. I won’t let my little man down, not now, not ever.

Sun Light.

Yesterday was one for the books. A tidal wave of grief, guilt and sadness washed over me as soon as the morning light came through my window. A year ago today Tyler had begun his journey into this world. Such a tiny little miracle that would forever change the way we look at this life.

I’ve recently learned that hiding myself away and cramming my emotions in, is probably about the worst way to honor my fallen child. I’m slowly learning to pick myself up and push forward with grace. I cannot fathom a life so miserable that I’m unable to enjoy it for him. My heart truly does ache with each breath I take from Tyler’s absence. However, I pray that one day God gives me the strength  to shout his name to world and not fear the tears that fall afterwards. I know that in time tears of happiness will come, and I’ll welcome them with open arms.

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I’m taking a big step and seeking help from a counselor tomorrow. I’m in hopes that using my writing as an outlet as well as talking to another individual face to face will aid in the healing process. I find myself searching for the light of the day now or a simple  smile from a stranger as they pass by me – the little things. This world can be so cruel and unforgiving, but if we look deep enough there’s always something worth smiling for, no matter how much pain we’re currently facing. A new season of life begins after such a loss, one that feels impossible. Have faith – you can do it, I can do it, WE can do it!

It takes a strong person to find hope when life seems so dark, but you were chosen to face this struggle for a reason. God gave you a gift, a gift so precious that only the few of us that have experienced it can know its real reward. We as grief parents know what true love and deep loss feel like all bundled into one.

Mommy is always missing you, Tyler Matthew. You entered into this world a little fighter and blessed us with a lifetime of memories during your short time here. Now its our turn to fight for you, my little love. Rest easy knowing mommy and daddy are spreading your legacy all over this world and will hold you again one day in the not so distant future.

 

Angels.

As I roll out of bed this morning, my heart aches for the little boy I’ve lost. I think about how I will never again hold him in this life, see his smile or feel him breathing against my chest. My little angel is just that – an angel. A child of God and living in a world of pure bliss with our Lord and Savior.

Knowing and believing he’s in a much better place should put my heart and mind at ease but I still find myself in an immense amount of pain. I can’t quiet the constant screams or seem to accept that my son will never have to suffer the cruelty of this world. I only focus on the fact that he’s not where I feel he should be, with me.

It’s completely unnatural for a parent to bury their child. It goes against the general order of things in every way. My life has been flipped upside down since losing Tyler. It’s only been two months – however it’s been the most excruciating two months I have ever faced. Just recently I had a day that didn’t seem quite as bad, I even smiled at the thought of him. I found myself full of emotions that didn’t seem to fit the situation. Instead of rejoicing in my love for him I began to feel guilty that I smiled at his photo, instead of crying over his loss.

This path of ‘grief’ seems to be a roller coaster. One minute you’re up and the next you’ve plunged 50 feet at a speed quicker than light. I keep hearing of other mothers and families now facing the same fate we have. My heart goes out to them all. I wish in some way I could touch their hearts, and my own in the process, and simply say “it’s going to be okay” – leaving them with a true understanding of the five simple words. Life doesn’t feel ok after you lose a child and normal will never be ‘normal’ again.  I just pray, I tell God when I’m angry with him and I hold out hope that tomorrow will be better than today. The death of a child is an uphill battle that no amount of physical training can prepare you for.

Reach out to those around you and ask for help when you need it. If you’re a grief parent there are people out there who will listen, despite their lack of understanding on the pain you’re experiencing. Let them help. Cry, scream, or simply sit in silence with their company. I promise it’ll be a relief to know that not only you, but your missing child are loved by many. I often think these people are also angels – angels sent to us to help us through the bad, who will remain with us and wait patiently for the good to come again.

Sadness.

“They say now you’re in a better place, and I would be too if I could see your face. You should be here.” – Cole Swindell

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Tyler Matthew

It’s amazing what a song can do to completely change your mood. Music is such a powerful tool. The lyrics above seem to speak to my soul.

These last two days have been excruciating. Not only was yesterday Tyler’s 3 month “birthday” but my heart has been so heavy with missing him. Friday morning I woke up and was paralyzed by the pain I felt after looking over at his picture. Such a gorgeous little man who was taken from the world all too soon. I keep reading stories about families that have experienced this same pain and seem to still find hope in the midst of such chaos. I wish so badly I could be that person. I have so many ideas about where I want my life to head right now, but it seems to have taken a wrong turn somewhere along the way.

I cry. A LOT. I know that’s okay, but I also want to be the mom who honors her child by living for him. How do I do that when I myself have forgotten how to live? There are no words to express the feeling you have when your world is taken from you. I was recently told that I should consider getting back into a routine. What I don’t think others realize is that THIS is my new routine, as sad as it may seem. I can’t take my life back to what it was before Tyler. Lets face it, life will forever be different. Filled with extreme emotional reactions to things that seem minuscule to outsiders looking in.

So, what do you do when you can’t breathe? When you don’t want to get out of bed and face the world? How about going back into a society that appears to have no clue there is a very important person missing from it? I wish so badly I had all the answers to these questions. For now its all I can do to put one foot in front of the other. I pray that soon my family finds some comfort. I know that one day I’ll be living for Tyler like I dream to, but for now I’m mourning him.

I have to remind myself that tomorrow is a new day, a day that I will hopefully be blessed enough to experience. So many people are left with regrets and I’m slowly coming around to the idea of ‘I don’t want to be that person’ – I CAN’T be that person. I need to be a beacon of hope for all of those that follow behind us in this gut wrenching journey. The world does not stop turning because we’re sad or we’re hurting. God does not leave us in our weakest moments, he carries us. I need to carry Tyler. Carry him in my heart and know that in reality, he never left me. His vessel did, his spirit did not. I aim to spread his love to everyone I meet and greet each day with a positive outlook.

 

About me.

I realize I most likely did this backwards. I told you about my son before I explained a little about myself. First of all, my son is number one, so in my book this story has been written perfectly – with him first.

I’m pretty new to the blog world, but hope that I can reach at least one person in need, if nothing else. Coping with the loss of a child is a delicate and painful experience. Depression can set in quickly or gradually over time; but one things for sure, it’s a slow killer. Often times parents of lost little ones find themselves facing their new world alone, even when they’re surrounded by people. Learning to live with our new reality after such a tragic loss is a maze of emotion that I’ve only scratched the surface of. My journey is beginning with you. If you’re the mother or father of a butterfly baby, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me; thus far I’ve found the most comfort when talking with someone who can relate to how I’m feeling.

I am a 27 year old ‘army wife’ from Houston, Texas, a recent mother and an avid dog enthusiast that loves to travel and blare country music whenever possible. My life recently rounded a very dark corner after losing Tyler. I have always been the spunky, upbeat type, but lately I’ve run out of spark. I met my husband when I was 19. We definitely don’t have that “storybook romance” but we always seem to find our way back to one another after all of life’s hardships. He is my rock, my one and only, my always and forever. (Yeah, cheesy – but all so true!) I pray that if you’re struggling with the loss of a child, you are not suffering equally in your marriage or relationship. At the time of Tyler’s passing we were warned of the strain such a loss can put on a couple – boy was that right! My best advice to any grieving parent is to try to stay strong for one another. If you’re having a bad day, lean on your partner for support – when you see them begin to suffer, become their solid ground. I always try to think about what Tyler would want when small arguments arise and I begin to feel tension building between us. That tiny miracle you held in your arms was only possible because of the love you two once shared – try and get back there. Don’t lose yourselves in the midst of such tragedy.

Our story began in the small town of Lubbock, Texas where we lived for the first two years of our lives together. In 2011 my husband decided to join the U.S. Military as a 19K in the ARMY, and shortly there after we were off to South Korea. Although our time there was short, we experienced a lot and made some life long friendships that we’ll carry with us forever. Fast forward two years and we found ourselves at Fort Irwin, California, smack dab in the middle of death valley and quite literally in the middle of nowhere. It was here that we made the decision to begin trying for a family of our own. On Mothers Day 2015, I surprised my husband with a family photo shoot (can you imagine his excitement?). It was then that I told him the best news I’d ever received and the hardest secret I’d ever kept in my entire life – We’re Pregnant!!!

The next nine months went relatively smooth with a few bumps here and there. We felt our little man kick for the first time on August 30, 2015. I can still remember the excitement I felt in that moment. In October I was diagnosed with a slight placental tear and not even a month later, with gestational diabetes. Despite the set backs we were both still beside ourselves with the excitement of what was to come – Mister Tyler Matthew!

He has been and always will be, our greatest gift from God.

 

 

 

Grief.

Without it, they say there is no love lost. This emotion is one with great impact. Impact to change your outlook on life, on love, and on self value. Some of you reading this may know my story, others may not. I’ve had the greatest blessing anyone could ever wish for, one that many people spend their entire adult life praying for, a beautiful child. My very own baby boy, the tiniest of humans that would set us on a new journey and make our lives complete.

On January 8, 2016 at 3:23am, my water broke. I was 39 weeks and 2 days into my pregnancy. This little one was coming, ready or not! I remember sitting up in bed thinking about how my life was about to change, about the new adventures my husband, myself and our two dogs would soon embark on with this little miracle. It’s funny how something so natural can be so empowering! I was going to do this, I was going to bring Tyler Matthew Newton into this world!

Skip ahead two epidurals, birthing balls, nice strolls around the L&D unit, a countless supply of ice chips and 33 hours plus 15 minutes later, and he was finally here! This perfect little bundle of joy came out looking identical to his father, and we couldn’t be happier.

What they say is true, you don’t know what love at first sight is until you’ve held your baby for the first time. I never would have believed it until I experienced this for myself. This little boy was OURS. We made him. I felt like my purpose in life had just been fulfilled.

To our surprise not even 24 hours later, our perfect world would be shattered. Tyler was diagnosed with Congenital Heart Disease (CHD). So began the medical terms that no one understood, sleepless nights and countless tears. I had failed my baby. The one person who depends on me most in this world was born with a bad heart, and he was formed inside me. It was MY job to take care of myself and of him so that he would come out happy and healthy. The pain that came with this tragic news was crippling.

After weeks of agonizing doctor appointments (with all the wrong people) and watching our little man suffer through IV sticks and echocardiograms, the decision was finally made. The ARMY was sending us to Fort Hood, Texas where Tyler was to be seen on a regular basis by a pediatric cardiologist. Our private flight landed around 4:00pm on February 3rd and we were immediately taken to Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center. There we said our goodbyes to the “bald eagles” – our medevac crew. Who I must say, were some of the most amazing men we’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Their genuine concern for our son and love for helping others was truly inspirational.

We were cleared to take Tyler back to the Fisher house where we were staying until his appointment the next morning. We had no idea that this would be our last night with the most precious gift God ever gave us.

On February 4th at 3:44pm Tyler took his last breath. Our world came crashing down, everything we had known and believed in had seemed to fail us in that moment.

Grief. How do you handle this when the love you lost was the strongest love you had ever known? No amount of screaming, crying or sitting in shock over the loss we just experienced; helped the pain we felt. All we were left with was this grief. A mysterious word that everyone seemed to use but not actually know the meaning of. The truth of it is, grief isn’t something that I can describe that YOU or anyone else reading this entry can relate to, because it rears its ugly head differently for all of us.