Happy 2nd Birthday, Evan!!

Dearest Evan,

Today is a very special day. Today is your 2nd birthday. Daddy and I are so lucky to have been able to celebrate it
today. We truly have the best family and friends. We only wish with all our hearts that you were here to celebrate it with us.

This day two years ago was the absolute best one of our lives. I can’t believe we went from that to where we are now. Who would have ever seen that coming?

We celebrated today for you. We celebrate because you bring so much joy to our lives. We celebrate because we love sharing you with others. We celebrate because your life has so much meaning.

We hope you had a wonderful birthday today, Evan! We hope you celebrated your big day with all of your friends and that there was lots of laughter, smiles, pointy birthday hats and of course, cake :) We love you so very much – there just are not adequate words to describe our love for you.

Holy Crap…It’s March

How in the Hell is it March already?  And April never fails to come after March.

I’ll tell you what – this taking things hour by hour and day by day is working ok for us.  Some days are harder than others.  There have been many nights where I lay awake, not wanting to fall asleep because I don’t want to wake up the next day.  But, we’ve gotten used to it.  We do it because we don’t really have a choice.  But there is a downside, I guess, to taking things day by day.  Suddenly you wake up and realize that your son’s SECOND birthday is almost here.

Where has the last year gone?

I am not sure how to feel about Evan’s birthday coming up at the end of March.  I wish I could say that I already know the details for his second birthday cookout, like we did last year.  I wish I could say that I am busy planning that, like I was last year.  I wish I could say that I had been staying up late each night, trying to perfect the sugar turtle cupcake toppers for the cupcakes for that day, just like last year.  But I haven’t.  Not even close.  I am actually feeling dread leading up to the cookout.  Maybe because we haven’t really told anyone about it yet.  Maybe because we don’t even know what time it is going to be yet.

Maybe because I’ve been meaning to post pictures from last year’s party and haven’t done so yet!  I also have so many journal writings from things in 2013 that I never put onto the blog that I want to share!  I’m not ready!

I knew Evan’s first birthday was coming.  Ever since he died, I knew that if we made it to his first birthday, we would celebrate it.  And honestly, most of the parts of me feel like, OK, we made it through the first year – aren’t we done yet?  Don’t we get to go be with Evan now?  A whole year of putting one foot in front of the other was enough to last me a lifetime, so don’t I get to go now?

Now we have almost made it through year two, which I now know to be just as hard, if not harder, than year one.  I have a feeling I will be kicking and screaming into the third year.  The THIRD year?!?!???  Wait, what?  When did that happen?

And I feel terrible for not having the party planned by now.  I feel terrible for not being overly excited about it.  The guilt is heavy.  The sadness is heavy.  I wish I felt some hope or happiness that the day will be just fine and lovely – just like last year.  Honestly, I just want to curl up in a ball and waste away.  And I know it will be nice.  I know it will all work out.  The days and weeks after an event, holiday or anniversary are always the hardest.

I love our little man with every single ounce of energy I have.  Every single cell in my body loves him so much, that they are on the verge of bursting.  Our sweet little family of three (five if you count the cats), always missing one.  And that one makes all the difference.

Somehow for us, two minus one will always equal zero.

This Place We Call “The Pit”

I had been having some days here and there where I was starting to get through the days by thinking of them day by day, instead of minute by minute.  There were an increasing number of days where I would wake up, a chest heavy from emotions and sadness.  The despair hit me.  I knew I just needed to get through the day – one day – 24 hours.  One foot in front of the other.  Put that mask on to hide your pain, and get out there and conquer the day.  Not really in that determined spirit, but functioning for 24 hours seemed doable.  And for some days, it was.  I surprised myself so many times.  I’d go to bed and think “Huh, I made it through the day in one piece.”

For the past several weeks and months, I find myself back in The Pit.

The Pit tends to be a place where you cannot function properly.  It’s full of darkness and despair.  That mask that was more routine to wear during the day will just not stay up.  There need not be a reason or explanation for being in The Pit.  Nothing specifically pushes you back down there.  It just happens.  It will always happen.  You start living things minute by minute or hour by hour.  Things don’t seem manageable anymore when you think of them day by day.  It can be a very dark place.  There is love in the pit, and there are always others here with me.  Sometimes we throw tantrums to try and escape the abysmal that we call The Pit.  Other times, we sit on the bottom of it and just take it in and let it wash over us.  Sometimes, there’s no use fighting it.  It just makes everything more heavy.

It is these days or weeks or months in The Pit that I am reminded that grief is not linear.  There are not steps or stages.  There is no end to it. 

I will welcome a chance to breathe deeply with a lighter chest.  I need a break – even if for a minute or two.  It is so very draining to be in The Pit, day in and day out, feeling like you cannot breathe.  And with the days and events that are coming in the next couple of months, I don’t know that I see that break.  Everyone has a breaking point…

Simply Beautiful…

e-Rachel-Bonistalli---large

Dana at Portraits by Dana created this beautiful portrait of Evan for Grant and I.  It was our Christmas gift to ourselves :)  She did an amazing job capturing every little piece of him, tube and tape-free.  Not to mention, I feel like this portrait captures his essence, his soul, his very being.  It’s almost as if she took the vision from my mind and created a perfect piece of art.

Not only is Dana’s work amazing, but she is such a sweet and caring person.  So much of her work is for parents who have lost their children.  And she does it so lovingly and tenderly.  What she does for them is so much more than just a drawing.  It is something to cherish forever.  It creates another piece of our children that can live on forever.

We are so glad that we decided to get this done.  We are so thankful that someone like Dana exists, both as a professional and as a person.  Thank you thank you thank you.

And, of course, I could stare at him all day and reflect on how he used to gaze at us :)

Coming up on 2 years…

Happy 22 month birthday sweet Evan :)

I can’t believe in two short months, that we will be celebrating your 2nd birthday.  It feels like it has been much longer since you were born.

I have been very out of sorts lately.  Work is unfortunately causing me incredible amounts of stress and unhappiness.  I don’t have time to take a breath or have time to myself.  And it’s not only about the time itself, but the space it takes up in my mind.  My mind is never clear – it feels so cluttered.  I don’t have time to just “be” anymore it seems.  I miss you constantly, but my personal “Evan” time is being taken away, and this momma is not so thrilled with that.  Something has got to give, and it won’t be in my personal life.

My “Evan” time to me means time spent crying over missing you and wishing you were here.  It means smiling while thinking of how precious you are or picturing you running around the house and saying cute things.  And that smile – oh that smile :)  It means knitting hats in your memory.  It means spending time with Daddy.  It means spending time at the cemetery and changing the decorations.  It means getting our house in order so everything is not in disarray and we aren’t living in a pigsty (I know you wouldn’t want that).  It means being able to blog more.  It means being able to spend more time with my loss-friends, new and old.  It means rearranging and organizing your many spaces your physical things occupy in our home.  It means being able to write more things down – letters to you, details of your life, feelings, grief.

I just want to be able to be myself, because all of these things are who I am and what I want to do.  They are just other ways that I can feel even closer to you.

But also know that while it makes me unhappy (almost distraught) to feel like I do not have time, both physical and mental, for these things, it doesn’t change the amount of Evan we have in our lives.  I know I say this over and over again, Evan, but you are so much apart of our lives.  You make us who we are today.  Without you and your love, we wouldn’t be who we are.  We wouldn’t be whole.  We were just talking about you today.  We were just talking about how much we miss you.  We were just talking about how you are almost two years old.  Your are always in our minds and always in our hearts and just on the tip of our tongues.

I will get those things back – that time.  I have to.  I cannot continue to live without it.

In other news, I received word that our Molly Bear will be in production in February!!!  I am beyond excited and cannot wait for the day when it shows up – weighing 6 lbs. 13 oz. – just like you :)  I am not sure what it will feel like to have that weight in my arms again.  I only felt it once.  I just know that what Molly Bears provides to families is simply amazing.  What a wonderful idea of a fellow bereaved parent that has changed thousands of lives.

Well, my love, once the snow melts I will be bringing your Valentine’s Day decorations up to the cemetery.  I think it’s time that the Christmas stuff comes down (although I am going to leave the snowman – with hopeful thoughts that we will get more snow this season :) )

We love you so so much!!!  Thank you for sending the snow today – it was beautiful :)

Christmas, Birthday, New Year

Evan,

Well, Christmas is over.  You now would have been 21 months old.  And we are about to head into the new year.

Aside from the holidays, Mommy has been crazed at work.  I haven’t had a chance to breathe the past several weeks it seems.  It’s very unfortunate, especially this time of year.  I told Daddy several times that I just wanted time to realize that it was Christmas.  I wanted time to stop and be devastated and aware.

Once Christmas was here, I was painfully aware that this was Christmas #2 without you here.  I then realized that next year will be #3.  I can’t believe how many more Christmases we may have to endure without you.  How many more birthdays.  How many more years will pass without you here.  Those realizations make me want to rip my own heart out of my chest more so than I already do.  All I know is loving you and missing you.

Daddy and I were able to spend a small amount of time together on Christmas morning.  Daddy had to work Christmas, but we wanted to carry on our tradition, and go visit you at the cemetery in the morning and read the random acts of kindness that some did in your honor.  It was pitch black because we were there so early.  We saw a shooting star on our ride up there!  We are always so moved by the things people do to remember you.  That is all we could ever ask for, forever.  I know so many other Mommies and Daddies who have holidays and birthdays and just regular days that pass and no one says anything.  No one does anything to remember and celebrate their child.  It makes me so incredibly sad.  They don’t have friends and family like we have.  We are truly blessed in that regard.  I can’t imagine what it would be like if Christmas had passed with silence, as so many do.  These families deserve so much more from their loved ones.

As this new year approaches, I once again push back on it.  Do I want to be thrown into the next year?  That takes me further away from you and the time when you were alive…the best time of my life.  Do I want the next one and then the next one to fly by?  That takes me closer to you in another direction.  “Day by day”, I remind myself.  It’s so much easier said than done.

We miss you so much, Evan!  Daddy and I struggle daily without you.  We have each other, and without that I am not sure how we would be getting through.  We take so much pride in being your parents.  You are the joy of our lives!!  We hope you had a marvelous Christmas and a happy 21 month birthday!!  We love you so very much!

XOXOXO

Merry Christmas, Evan!

Dear sweetest Evan,

Merry Christmas, my love!

I have so much more to say about this holiday season that has just about passed us at this point.  But what I want to say most right now is to wish you the merriest of Christmases.

I simply cannot believe this would have been your second Christmas here with us.  Things should be so very different for us.  I would give anything for them to be.  How are we going to survive unit the next one?  And the next one?  And the next one?

Buddy, you bring us so much light and joy into our lives.  We try and pass that along to others, so that your legacy and memory will have a sort of ripple effect.  We did the random act of kindness request again this year for our family and friends.  It was so beautiful.  Not only did people do kind and thoughtful things, they also had some beautiful words for you and for Daddy and I.  We are beyond blessed with the people in our lives.

I have so much more to say, but as Daddy snores away beside me ( :) ), I am nodding off as well.  I will fall asleep as I always do – with my heart and head full of Evan :)

Much Christmas Love,

Mommy & Daddy

Random Acts of Kindness This Christmas

Merry Christmas!  We hope everyone is having a peaceful holiday season so far.

Last holiday season, you may remember a message we sent out about doing a random act of kindness in memory of our beloved son, Evan.  We received so many wonderful responses last year and it really touched our hearts.  Most of all, we were delighted by all of the love and kindness that was spread around in memory of our sweet boy.  These responses (kept hidden until Christmas, as planned) became a part of our new Christmas traditions.  We read about the acts of kindness and all of your sweet words while at the cemetery Christmas morning, visiting Evan.  We re-read them throughout the day, and shared them with family and friends.  They have become a part of Evan’s story and his legacy.  They never fail to bring a smile to our faces :)

In the spirit of this giving season, we are going to extend the same idea of the random act of kindness again this year.  We hope you might consider participating.  We would love to have some responses we can stash away in Evan’s stocking until Christmas morning again :)  If you have one you would like to share, feel free to email us (rpittman07@hotmail.com) or leave a comment on this post.

A random act of kindness can be anything.  It does not need to be a grand gesture or be monetary in nature.  We like to think of them as something that might make someone else smile, or help someone else.  Sometimes they inspire someone else to commit their own act of kindness and so the joy gets spread around, even in the smallest ways.

Sorry to be sending this out a little later than last year.  For so many of us, Christmas seems to be sneaking up quicker than usual this year.

We hope you all have a joyful and peaceful holiday season.  You all mean so much to us and your continued love and support means more than you will ever know.

Love,

Rachel & Grant

An Entry from October 24th, 2013

Yesterday was 18 months, a year and a half, since Evan was alive.  He has been gone for over a year and a half now.  I didn’t even realize that yesterday was the 23rd until near the end of the day.  My body, heart, and mind felt it, though.

The first year of Evan being gone seemed to fly by.  I couldn’t believe that the first year came and went as quickly as it did.  I guess I don’t really remember very large chunks of it.  The first couple of months after Evan died are a complete blur.  Literally.  Then, there are bits and pieces that I remember from there on out, but not much.  It’s so bizarre – although I’ve come to realize it is quite common.

Now, I find that these last 6 months have almost seemed to creep by.  I still can’t believe it’s been a year and a half since I’ve seen him alive.  Its been a year and a half since we held him for the first and last time.  It has been 18 months since I felt his heart slow down as I held him, until I couldn’t feel it beating anymore.  It still seems pretty unreal and almost as if it happened to someone else, and I will find Evan in his room later tonight, or he will just magically appear and I will wake up from this f’ed up nightmare.

I wish for the rest of my life to fly by most days.  I want this all to be over already, so that I can hopefully hold my baby boy again in my arms.  I want to see him and kiss his face and give him the biggest smile.  I want to hear him call me “mom”.  I want to hear him call Grant “dad”.  I want us all to be together again.  It already feels like a lifetime since we’ve been away from him.  I don’t want to literally wait another lifetime.

So, we put one foot in front of the other and make it through the days.  The days then turn into weeks and months.  That’s all life is now – one foot in front of the other.  I have a feeling that it will always be this way.  This is just how things are.  After becoming close with so many other bereaved parents, I have learned this to be “normal” (whatever that means).  We don’t feel normal.  None of us will be the same again.  Ever.  That is a pretty strong realization.  We live for our children everyday.  We love them and miss them with everything we are and everything we have.  That never changes.  It never gets easier.  I have heard that it gets “different” in a way that you slowly learn to just live it with, frankly.  We carry that loss around with us all the time – a piece of our soul forever missing.  The pain never subsides.

I will always and forever feel incomplete.  I know that.  But, I have to feel incomplete and put one foot in front of the other.  I have to feel like my life is over, but yet not have it be over.  It is a constant struggle.  And it doesn’t mean that there are not things I enjoy or that I cannot genuinely laugh or have a good time.  It is possible.  We can and we have quite often.  There are times when Grant and I are laughing at something, and we look at each other, and I can tell it’s for real.  Those times when you are both laughing at something and can’t seem to stop, and your eyes start to fill with tears.  You have a hard time catching your breath.  It’s moments like those that stand out to me now.  Before, we would just laugh about something and probably move on, but I stop and notice those moments now.  I think about how Evan must see us in that moment, and know he is laughing along with us, smiling because we’re smiling.  He is so happy that we are happy in that moment.  And that means everything.

Everything I do and think and feel is for Evan.  I am always doing things for Evan.  I am always thinking of him.  I am who I am for him.  I live and go on, for him.

Evan, I cannot begin to explain how much I miss you.  That pain I feel from not having you here with us is unbearable.  It is so heavy.  It weighs me down.  But, at the same time, I feel so much love for you that I radiate with light in my own way.  You are our world.  It’s so hard to parent a child that is no longer here.  But we do it without even thinking about it.  I am amazed most days by wondering how to heck we made it through yet another day.  We hold on tight to each other and love each other (and you) so much.  We hold each other up when we can, let ourselves fall when it just gets to be too much, and help each other up when one of us is more weighed down than the other.  I could not do this without him.  And I could not do this without your love.  I love you to the moon and back.

19 Months Old

Evan,

I came on here to write you today.  I was going to say how much I miss you and love you.  I was going to say how hard it is and how I’m having a hard time.  I was going say that this world feels so lonely without you, no matter how many wonderful people we have in ours.

And then I realized that today is your 19 month birthday.  And then I realized that the 18 month sized hoodie I almost bought you over the weekend may have started to be too small soon.  And here I thought it looked too big.

And now I have to go and put one foot in front of the other, as we say.  I need to go throw myself together and get through another day.

I continue to write to you, and write in general, as you know.  But, it just hasn’t been making it on this blog recently.  I will.  I just need a catch up day.

I love you so much, my dear.  You are my world and ours is devastated without you.  I hope you have a wonderful birthday.  Please feel my hugs and kisses today, and I hope you feel them everyday.  Nothing will ever be the same, but our love for you grows stronger everyday!  You are such a gentle, loving soul, Evan.  And we love you more than we can say.  Hope you have a beautiful day, sweetie :)

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