Baby Braden Petska

Monday, July 27, 2009

Owen is 2 Months Old!

Dear B,
This just hasn't been the same without you. I can't help but think of all the things you missed - I'm sure in spirit you were everywhere right beside us, but I just long for your physical hold you, smell you, brush your cheek up against mine, hear your laughter, and watch you grow. Somedays I feel okay and wonder how I've made it almost 5 months without you - other days I can do something as simple as folding clothes and the tears will just start to flow.
Lately I've been finding myself watching more and more videos of you. If I could, I would watch you in video all day from the time I awake 'til the time I went to bed just so I could have you in my life and apart of my day again. I'm hoping to get some of the videos to work on the blog (if any blog techies could help, that would be great :) so we can share with everyone the songs you'd sing, how silly yet serious you could be, your sweet little voice, and your amazing smile.

Owen is getting so would be so proud of him. He is two months old already! He was able to meet mama's family up in the U.P.S as you would call it. We also got Owen baptized in a private ceremony, and celebrated your life as well with some special prayers. We felt your presence as the sun rays beamed through the windows and down onto Owen. We also got to meet Super Sam's baby brother Chase. He is only two weeks older than Owen and so cute! Please continue to send us a sign that you are around through a beautiful sunrise, a cardinal that might peek in the house, a blooming flower that stands out among the rest, or a lady bug resting peacefully.

Loving you and missing you more than you'll ever know and holding you closer and closer to our hearts,
Love Mama

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Lost is how I've been feeling on most days. Lost for words when asked questions....I often find myself rambling and sometimes tired when speaking. Lost for a daily plan....I find myself engaged in a lot of TV and brainless activities just to drown my mind from thinking of what I'm missing. Even on the most beautiful summer days, staying inside allows me to not think so much of the summertime fun I would be having if B was here. Lost in the land of imagination.....I often drift into what B "would be doing" and imagine him with Owen, enjoying the beach, playing at the park, potty training, sleeping in his new bed. Lost in thought....I find myself drifting down memory lane and sometimes this leads me to horrible flashbacks of "that" night. Flashbacks of that night take me to a place no parent should ever have to live yet here I sit reliving it time and time again. Hearing your child say your name one last time....hearing him cry....frantically calling 911....hearing Rich yell for B to fight....feeling relief when the paramedics arrive....enduring the longest car ride of my life....hanging onto hope.....having to hear the doctors tell you there's nothing more they can do....watching as several medical personel are fighting to save our son....seeing the surgeon, our miracle maker, and wondering why he couldn't perform one more miracle.....holding B in my arms, kissing his precious face, inspecting every inch of is body so I will never forget what his fingers, toes, scars, and freckles look like, telling him he is the most perfect son in the whole world and that it isn't his fault that he has to leave us. I relive this and am in disbelief it was me who endured all this. It's like I'm watching a movie of another mother holding her son for the last time. I mourn for this other mother when in fact it is actually me. Sadness, emptiness, a sense of longing....these are all words that really can't paint the true picture of what it feels like on the inside. I described to a friend recently that the emptiness is like a dull's always there and you most certainly feel it, but it's almost impossible to describe it so that another person knows exaclty how it feels.

Losing B has created some really weird quirks (if you'd call it that). I find myself not being able to use the "d" word (death, died, dead). I find that it makes it all too real. I even find myself stopping dead in my tracks when someone says, "when Braden died." I mean hello, it happened, so why can't I say it? Instead I use the phrases, "passed away" or "the night it happened." I even stop and think of how to phrase it without using the "d" word. The toothbrush and handtowel have never moved...they still sit in the bathroom where B used them last. I cringe when I hear another toddler cry for fear it will bring me back to "that night." I'm anxious when I hear another toddler laugh for fear it will sound so much like B that I won't be able to handle the emotions it might bring. Certain pictures of him can bring on the tears instantly where others I could look at all day without such strong emotions. I get upset when Wlllard Scott announces the Smuckers birthdays of the 100 plus year old people. It makes me mad that Joe Shmoe can live to 103 and yet my son couldn't live to the age of 3. I get sad when I see other toddlers or families of toddlers and newborns....a place we should be. That's when I question and even want to yell "why us?" Why can't we be "that" family.....why in the hell do we have to be "this" family? Lastly, Braden was the HLHS boy who offered so many other families hope. Now, we are the family whose story ended tragically...the story people now share for different reasons. Where is the hope now one may ask..... is the hope: The hope is that someday this family will rise again and find peace in their day....the hope that Braden's legacy will inspire an individual to work even harder for a cause and cure for CHD....the hope that this broken family will mend by the support of others....the hope that God will continue to bless this family with more gifts. As you know and I've strongly stated, Owen is our gift..our new little miracle....the one who has given us life again. But there is more....a friend from church came to me in the early days of our grief and she stated that during the times when we hurt so badly, God gives us people in our lives to help us get through these difficult days. She too knows what it feels like to lose a child. At first, I didn't want to believe it....I was very angry and at a loss for how to deal with our new friend, "grief." Little by little, as people crept into our friends, old friends, family, and even strangers....I came to believe in this new found hope. Thank you to those of you who have contributed to this beautiful gift.

That's all for now.....

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Random Thoughts.....

Dear B,
Here I am....drawn again to this place I wish did not have to bring so much heartache when I "speak" to you. I don't know what exactly to write today other than I miss you more than you'll ever know. This week I was finding my strength through the wonderful moments spent with Owen and his gift of hope he has given to your daddy and me. It felt good to feel some true happiness again and not bear so much emptiness that feels so heavy when it's present. Today, however, when thinking of this weekend, our first "holiday" without you, I'm feeling the grief rear its ugly head as it's harder than ever to imagine spending another day without you. It feels like forever since we've seen you last......

Owen's room is almost complete. We just need to put the crib up, but that means taking down your bed...the last of the nursery/room "transformation." I cry just thinking about having to take it apart. It sits there so empty except when Snickers takes his afternoon naps on it. I remember how he'd always try to sneak into your room and hide under the bed when we were putting you to bed. You'd say, "Mama, the kitty is under my bed...." Daddy or I would have to shake some of his treats in order for him to come out. Tucking you into that bed was always one of my favorite things to do. You'd ask me to put on your tunes. Then you'd request all your blankets on as you'd rest your head on your Diego pillow. Your two litle blankies with the fringe had to be up on your shoulder/neck area. You would take the fringe of your favorite blanky and put it in your ear - that's how I knew you were tired. You would make sure that I had your doggy & babies (Dora, Diego, and other Diego) nestled in beside you. I'd give you lots of kisses and tell you I loved you and that I'd see you in the mornin'. I might even tell you what you were doing the next day if it was a special day like story hour (we would've practiced your songs for Ms. Penny and Ms. Cindy earlier that night if story hour was the next day). As I'd shut your door, you'd squint your eyes shut and have a big smile on your face. I always made sure I told you once more how much I loved you....sigh....what I wouldn't give to have just one more night...

As you are watching the fireworks from above, we will be down below thinking of you and missing you as always......

Holding you closer than ever to our hearts,
Your mama and dadda

We will be packing to go to the U.P. (or UPS as Braden called it) for the first time since my dad's birthday. We came home from there on the Monday that Braden passed away. It is difficult to think that we won't be packing all the "usual" things to go with us - B's medicine, syringes, spoons/forks, sippies, his favorite DVD's, Diego pillow, and all his favorite toys to play with at Grandma Patsy's house. It's all these "firsts" that become such a hurdle to get "over".....

Owen was a month old already Monday - time sure does fly. Braden's 1st month felt like an eternity - amazing how the perception of time changes with where you are "at" in life. He's growing like a weed and started smiling a bit. Night time feeds are still pretty frequent, but we're managing with having the summer off :)

Owen - 1 month old (we were at Kim's house and she just couldn't resist taking some pics of this cute little guy). Check out the old man "do"

Other charity news: I forgot to mention this in my last post. We were also able to give $1,000 scholarships this year to SIX very deserving seniors pursuing a career in medicine. Our golf outing this year is on August 15th. If you can't make it for golf or dinner and would still like to contribute, we're always looking for hole sponsors and donations for our silent auction. Please contact us if you're insterested in sponsoring a hole or donating to the silent auction: All other information regarding the charity and outing can be found on our website:

Thank you again for all of your support through prayers, e-mails, blog notes, cards, calls, etc. We might not always return a call or e-mail right away, but please know we appreciate you reaching out in the various ways you have.

Love, Steph & Rich