Mommy O’ Mommy

I miss my Mommy. All the reasons that I have told myself this year to make her death easier are now steaming piles of cow pies. She is no longer in pain. After losing my son and grandson, I told myself that now she has her boys again! She is no longer grieving! Now she is up in heaven with my Granny, Grandpa and her three grandsons! And better yet, for once in my life, this is the natural order of existence. Burying your parent, not parent burying child.

Truth is, I need my Mom right now. I need to be able to talk to her. To tell her what is troubling me in my life. Tell me how to fix some problems I am having in my little family. To give me her unfiltered opinion on where some people can go and rot, then tell me that if I hate I am not getting into heaven. That was my Mom. She would rip someone into shreds if they hurt one of her girls feelings and tell us about the fire and brimstone of hell if we did the same. I need my Mommy to tell me that someone I am so worried about is going to be fine. I need her to tell me that people can change their ways. I need her to tell me she is proud of me for taking a new path for myself. I need her to tell me that I am spoiling my kids. I need her to tell me that Harper is the most beautiful blue eyed little girl! I need her to tell me Maggie is not a child she is a horse dog. I need her to tell me to slow down when I drive. I need her to ask me if I am hungry. I need her to tell me what Victor is doing now on Y & R. I just really need my mom to pick up the phone and tell me she loves me.

I thought I could be the big girl she raised me to be but I am not. I am a mess. I have things I want to talk only to her about and she is not here. My best friend is watching her Mom slip to the other side. I want to be able to tell her all the things people told me to make me feel better. But they are words and they don’t help. It is horrible.

One day, out of the blue when you think your day is going to be okay, a thought will brush lightly across your soul and you will crumble. Mine was when cleaning out the greenhouse. When I got I my greenhouse I planted so many herbs! Not one came up. Not one single sprout. Mom told me I didn’t hold my tongue right. A few days before I was crying on the way home from work and told her just send me one sign, any little thing that she was watching over me and my brood. While cleaning out the greenhouse, after being planted 8 months before, there I find 2 pots full of cilantro! I thought “Oh she is watching me!” I brought them into the house to repot and put in the windowsill. Then I picked up the phone to call and tell her. I broke. She is gone. I can’t call her.

I just need my precious, beautiful, funny and amazing Mommy. For just one more day. One more day!

Remembering GB8

Friday the 5th, I had the honor of attending a balloon release in memory of yet another child called home to soon. I reached out to his mother when I heard of his passing and we have leaned on each other since. Young Garrett’s birthday is today and I thought I would share in his family and friend’s words just how special he is.

When I pulled up to Sherry’s house the yard was already full of teenagers. I walked into the house to find Sherry and there was a good bit of family and friends all gathered around hustling to make this day perfect. I was glad to see that Sherry was surrounded by people of all ages that wanted to support her. After a long hug with Sherry and a few tears, we started the party!

Everyone gathered in the front yard in a circle. Holding balloons of every color. There were jokes and laughter,. Tears were starting to form. Sherry spoke to the circle of love and then we all released balloons. It was quite a sight. Everyone kept looking up even though the sun was blinding. The balloons seemed to stay in sight longer than usual. It almost seemed as if they were reaching for a plane that was flying over. Quite a sight.

I began going around talking to people and asking them to share with me a story of Garrett. Or something about him. I had never met him and wanted to know who he was. What he was like. The stories and memories were plentiful. One thing that was always said was he loved to make you laugh. Here are some of the memories shared with me:

Kaitlin and Kylie- “We would spend weekends over and have bon fires. He was always doing something dumb to make us laugh. Garrett always made us watch the stupidest movies! And he loved to jump from the tree platform to the trampoline.”

His Granny- “He would come in my room and just jump up with no hands. He would move around like a fish until he got up there. He was just a joy. Kind hearted and always caring about others.”

His PawPaw- “He knew he could always come to me if he was worried about anything and he always did. His driveway is long and we let him drive the old 79 Chevy truck to the end of the driveway in the morning to get on the bus. When he got off the bus he drove it back up the drive. After a huge rain he it stuck and we had to go pull him out. I just miss my buddy.”

Jaron- “Garrett was always calling before I ever got up in the mornings wanting to do something. He would call until I finally got up. We are all bigger boys and when he would leave we would find these his tiny underwear. He was always leaving it at our house.”

Aunt Angie- “He was the most kind hearted boy. There are so many memories that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I especially will miss watching him unwrap Christmas gifts from me.”

Zach- “He was like a brother. Never a dull moment when he was around and always laughter. He always brought people up. He was a person I leaned on.”

Tyler- “He was like the little brother I never had. We always hung out together. I miss the times we would go mud bogging and get the 4 wheelers stuck and have to jump off in the mud. He was always joking, making you laugh. I hope to see him again someday.”

Joy – “I only met him once to take the family pictures but he made an impression that would last forever. He just had this laugh.”

As you can see from the stories that were shared with me, he is truly missed. I regret never getting the chance to meet him. As his mother said at the beginning, “He should be here but I know he is riding in the clouds watching over us.” Happy Birthday Garrett!

Garrett

Garrett

Releasing the balloons to heaven

Releasing the balloons to heaven

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Sherry, her oldest son Austin, Garrett's pup and motorcycle

Sherry, her oldest son Austin, Garrett’s pup and motorcycle

Sherry having a  tender moments with Garrett's friends

Sherry having a tender moments with Garrett’s friends

Sherry and her oldest son Austin

Sherry and her oldest son Austin

All that gathered to remember Garrett

All that gathered to remember Garrett

Roadside Crosses

Today, Jeff, Will and myself went to the Farmer’s Market. On the way, there was a group of cars pulled over on the interstate taking pictures with a white wooden cross. It made me wonder about the story behind that cross. Since losing my son, I have become more aware of them than I was before. Each time I see one the questions run through my head. Is there a mother out there mourning like me? Was this a mother or father? Are there little children mourning for a parent? Was it a grandparent, aunt, uncle or friend? I know the person was loved because someone took the time out to place a cross. Then I wonder how painful that must have been. I can only imagine. I know how painful it is to put a new flag or wreath at the cemetery. But my child did not die there. To go back where your loved one died and put a cross just seems heart-wrenching.
I have a new friend in grief who lost a son to an auto accident. I told her that I pass that spot every single day and wanted to put a cross there. She said I could. I will proudly do it for her because I do not think there is anyway that I could do it if it was where my son left this world. I don’t think I could even go on that floor of the hospital again.
How many times do we pass these little crosses and not even think about it? OR at least not think about it until death comes close to us. Now I say a silent prayer for the family and quietly wonder about it’s honoree.
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A Service of Remembrance

Saturday, Jeff, Will and I went to the 2014 Service of Remembrance with LifeLink. This is a service where all the families of recent organ donors gather together to honor their loved ones. So very touching moving experience that I would like to share with you.

When I got the invitation weeks ago, I just kept turning it over and over in my hands. Once again, something else to remind me my son is not here anymore. I told Jeff and the kids about it and we quickly realized it was on the same day as our Deer Festival. Now here in our small town, the annual Deer Festival is the event of the year. This year was to be Savannah’s last year marching in the parade as a member of the Marching Hurricanes. Luke was going to be in the parade in a fire truck since he is a volunteer fireman. This now tore me in two pieces. Do I go to the parade or to the service? Either way, I was going to miss one. My daughter told us to go to the service. There would be plenty of family and friends at the parade for her and Luke but no one at the service for her brother if we didn’t go. So it was decided. Me, Jeff and Will (Richie’s best friend) would go.

Now to prepare for this day. we had to make sort of a “yearbook” page as I called it for the day if we wanted to. Of course I did. My son was not going to be left out! We had to include a picture and around 400 words, a piece about our son. Have you ever tried to fit 20 years of greatness in 400 words or less? Will came over a few days before the deadline and helped me with it. He put the picture on it and then told me to type it out. He left me alone at the desk and I wrote,”Richie was”. That is as far as I got. The word was stabbed me and I had a meltdown. Poor Will didn’t know what to do. Jeff couldn’t have walked in the door at a better time. Between the 3 of us, we got it done the best we could.

The Remembrance Book

The Remembrance Book

The page we made

The page we made

We also were told that we could bring something to put on the remembrance table for others to see. We decided to make a shadow box of pictures and things that represented him. It included our favorite pictures of him. The one where he chugged the orange soda. The one with his dog Sam. A graduation photo. a photo in his favorite shirt and of course one of his famous selfies! We out a Yu-Gi-Oh card, a pokemon figure, one of his guitar picks, a Legend of Zelda shield and of course his Ingles name tag. Once again, Jeff and Will amazed me and made an amazing tribute to Richie.

Our Shadow box of Richie

Our Shadow box of Richie

The day arrived and let me tell you, I thought there were bricks in my feet trying to move from the bed to the shower. We all got ready and not much was said. Believe it or not, we actually were ready an hour before we needed to be. We left, stopped for lunch, stocked up on tissues and then headed to Atlanta.

We walk in the Carter Center Chapel and this place is beautiful! The 3 of us sign in and then just look around and take it in. Tables setup here and there with different things. Not really knowing which direction to go in first. I of course made my usual move of “Potty Break”. Time for one of the 20 second meltdowns. I bet I took more trips to the bathroom there than I have all week at home! We set up out shadow box and went on to the Rose Bowl Float table. At the Rose Bowl this year, there will be a Donate Life Float. Each person in attendance got to write out a message and it will be attached to a flower and put on the float. I thought this was amazing! A Donate Life Float in a parade on New Year’s Day with a message from his Mom on it on the one year anniversary that my son gave hope to others! AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

The message we will have on the Rose Bowl Float

The message we will have on the Rose Bowl Float

Then another “Potty Break” and onto the Chapel for it to start. Oh wait, another potty break as I sit there and watch the room start filling with people. It was astounding at the number of people that gathered there to honor loved ones. People of every race, age and background you could imagine. It started with a prayer, then a donor family representative spoke and then a donor recipient spoke. Then came the part where they read just the first names of all the ones over the year that had donated Life. I listened as each of these names were read of, waiting. Then it was read, “Richie”. I felt my body go hollow and tears start to flow. The simple reading of a name. “Richie”

Next was the part of the service where a representative from each family has the opportunity to speak if they chose to. You get one minute to speak. One minute to once again tell about loved one. Jeff and Will couldn’t do it. So I  had to do it. Well, I didn’t have to. I chose too. I was not about to walk out of that room and not tell everyone who my son was and how great he was. I sat for a bit and listened to the people already up speaking. Mothers, Fathers, Daughters, Sons, Husbands and Wives. Young and old. Men crying for love lost. Mothers weeping for children gone. Daughters and sons telling proudly of the parent that had gone on. I made my way to the microphone. I spoke. I have no clue whatsoever as to what I said. I had a little list of things to say and I never even looked at it. I sat back down and continued listening to these people share. The stories were each different with the same ending. Accidents, sickness, murders, and just unexpected sudden deaths all ending with others living because they died. I realized, I am not alone in this journey. A few of the stories touched me so deeply that I knew I had to reach out and speak to them afterwards. One Lady I even hugged before I went back to my seat after speaking. We are all from different places with different stories yet we are all connected by the heroes in our lives. I couldn’t stop the tears.

Was not easy standing there telling of my son who is no longer here

Was not easy standing there telling of my son who is no longer here

Did I mention that people were texting me pictures of the parade the whole time? Thanks to some great family and friends, I got to see each of my children in the parade!

Luke in the passenger seat during the parade.

Luke in the passenger seat during the parade.

Savannah marching in her last year as a Marching Hurricane.

Savannah marching in her last year as a Marching Hurricane.

After we shared of our loved ones, there was a video tribute. The songs were moving and it was a fitting tribute. I cried through each picture because I knew now the story of each one. When Richie’s picture came on the screen with the words, “An inspiration to everyone” at the bottom, it hit home. My son is gone. Others live, but he is gone.

The service ended and I immediately went to the some of the Moms and just hugged them. We knew each other’s pain. I think that was the best part of the service for me. Being with Mom’s who knew my pain and just knew that hugs and tears are all we can give.

LifeLink did an amazing job of honoring our loved ones. They have become more than just the ones with the “organ Donation” to us. they have become our family. Each person there all spoke of how they felt as if they were family. There was a lot of people there. And LifeLink reaches out to each person. They know we are hurting and stay by our side. They know our story, our pain and want to help with our future. I know if I were to cll them right now, for whatever reason, they would be there. I hate that I met these people under the terrible circumstances I did but I do know that I have made lifetime friends and family with them. I thank you LifeLink for not forgetting my son. For making sure that we are not forgotten. And for all the work you do to save the lives of others.

an ornament that they gave us at the service.

an ornament that they gave us at the service.

Card with the ornament

Card with the ornament