Friday, October 26, 2007

The Worst Day

Today marks the 2 year anniversary of the worst day of my life. It was the day I came to the realization that Ricky was going to die. It followed the worst week of my life... which ironically began, with a confident peace that God was going to bring something big out of this long awaited trip for a transplant evaluation. Little did I know, the answers in my plan, were nothing like the answers He planned to deliver.

Ricky did not die on this day 2 years ago. The anniversary of his death is tomorrow. But it was on this day that I experienced pain I will never be able to describe, more anger at God than I ever thought I was capable of, and a greater sense of loss than I ever thought possible.

This was the day that I learned that the ultimate demonstration of love is to let someone go when you yourself don't think you'll survive without them.

This was the day I learned that even children must suffer the consequences of a fallen world.

This was the day I came to understand that all the wisdom and talent in this modern age will never even begin to measure up to the hand of our Heavenly Father.

This was the day I stopped breathing.

This was my little boy when we arrived in California...

And this is all the life we were left with just 6 days later...

I specifically remember telling God that this could not be how it all ended... because I was so terrified that these were the memories of Ricky I would be left with. I didn't want to remember him like he was in those last few days. The last two years I have struggled with just that. Sad as it is... the painful details of this week are ingrained in my memory, and I'm not sure there is a day that at least a moment of it doesn't creep into my mind. Sadly, the happier memories require the most work to remember.

2 years ago tomorrow... God gave me the strength to tell the doctors "no more". I told them it was time to let Ricky go and I wanted every tube and every wire removed so that the little boy who had really never had the chance to be just that... could just be... for even a short time. Even today there are times that I wish I could take those words back. Not because I think it was the wrong choice... just because I miss him and I want him back.

Nevertheless... tomorrow... was not the worst day. Somehow the day brought peace and reassurance... if only for a little while. Maybe it was because the vomiting and the bleeding finally stopped. Maybe because God spoke to me as he reached down and took Ricky from my arms. Maybe it was that deep down, I knew the nightmare that had been the last four days... was finally over for both Ricky and myself. Or maybe it was just because I knew that the constant pain and torture that had been Ricky's life... was now replaced with the comfort and simplicity that he had always deserved.

I'm not sure when it was that I started to breathe again. Time has a way of sneaking up on you I guess. I suppose this day each year will forever take the wind out of me. But at least I walk through it knowing the peace that is to come. And nothing is more comforting than the realization that at least for Ricky.... these are not the days that stand out. And tomorrow... was his best day of all.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Grandma Gloria

The day after Ricky's birthday I made a call to the nursing home where Grandma Gloria lives. Gloria began volunteering as a baby holder in the hospital when Ricky was born, and as you can see in the picture above, it was love at first sight. She was forever faithful in maintaining her relationship with Ricky even after I brought him home, stopping by for visits and calling regularly "just to check on him". Gloria even made her way across the country to be at my wedding last year... all at the age of 87.

I learned in that phone call that Gloria had passed away... and not only that... but she had passed away in July. It had been two months and I had not heard. Even the staff in the NICU had not heard... somehow everyone had missed the obituary in the paper. I felt incredibly guilty and sad about the whole thing... although the memorial service was private and I suppose I would not have been able to attend anyway. Still, I feel bad that I never knew.

After finding out about Gloria, the nurse (Maria) promptly asked, "is this Meghan"? She went on to tell me that Gloria's whole room had been decorated with pictures of Ricky, and pictures of my wedding. Maria said, "I just want you to know that Gloria prayed for you every single day, and told me constantly what a wonderful mother you are".

We thought she was pretty wonderful too.

I'm pretty sure who Gloria headed for upon arriving in heaven... nothing seemed to make her happier than singing to that little boy in her arms. Turns out his birthday party might have had one more special attendee that I wasn't aware of... She no doubt had a long awaited chance to spoil him rotten once again. While I was said to hear she had gone... I really doubt she was sad at all. I can't help but smile when I hear her telling me over and over how much she disliked living at that nursing home. "Everyone there is so..... old", she used to say.

Ricky's got Jesus... and he now has Gloria.
I think he's going to be just fine. :)

No fair Gloria... you beat me.

Random Shots from Reno

I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I wanted to this time. In so many ways Reno just feels like home to me... and I guess when you're home, you tend to forget the "uniqueness" of the experience. I was relieved to find most things were exactly as I left them. The mountains, the people, the fresh air... really nothing has changed. About 16 or so people from work all met up for dinner with me - and it was just so wonderful to be with them again. Melissa and I both planned our trips there the same week so we could all be together again. I got to see new babies of old friends, hit all the favorite restaurants, see Vicki up in Tahoe, and just drive around remembering. I couldn't have asked for more. (Except maybe to have my husband there for part of the time... I missed him!!)

Beautiful Tahoe

Only in Reno...

A REAL coffee date with Carrie!!!

My old house... isn't if cute?!

Baby Peter

Momma Stacey and Baby Peter

Peter doesn't look like his daddy at all!! (Just kidding!!)

Happy 3rd Birthday Ricky!! (10/2/07)

I can't even begin to describe how special it was for me to actually be in Reno for Ricky's birthday this year. Memories began flooding back as soon as my plane landed at the airport, and I spent Ricky's day driving around remembering so many moments that I had forgotten. I knew I had to find an Elmo birthday balloon... and I headed up to the cemetery in Reno, where I have always wished I could have had Ricky buried. There is a small section there designated for kids, with a plaque that says "Garden of Christ's Children". On either end are statues of Jesus holding children. After a little while, I let the balloon go and watched it soar into the sky until I couldn't see it anymore... I kind of doubt it made it all the way to heaven - but I'm pretty sure the party up there made my small gift of a balloon pale in comparison. :)

I decided kind of last minute to make cupcakes. Turns out I was never meant to be a cake decorator. When it was all said and done, I had 4 dozen, sloppy (yet tasty) looking things... but no party to share them at!! So I headed over to the hospital - probably the only place where I could show up with these things and NOT have anyone question why. I felt a little silly showing up with all these things... but was greeted with "Happy Birthday Ricky" 's... and comments about how we all couldn't believe he would have been '3'. It occurred to me as I was leaving that they weren't the slightest bit surprised at my delivering cupcakes at all... and once again I was overwhelmed by what an amazing family Ricky and I were blessed with in the Saint Mary's NICU staff. I love them all so much.