Baby Braden Petska

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.....


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Uncle Dale cried today reading your blog as it has been 13 months since I had prostate surgery for the cancer that was found in my body on May 3, 2008. On that day when the doctor told me the bad news, I had very little HOPE but after the initial shock and thru prayers I am a cancer survivor today.
Yesterday, I talked to Deon, our mechanic at the garage, who has lost his hair, lost his beard, has lost a ton of weight and I informed him to always pray and believe in miracles and to have HOPE that he will be cured of cancer this summer.
Thanks again Steph for sharing your inner feelings because without GOD and HOPE we have nothing.
Love Uncle Dale

9:06 AM  
Blogger Steve & Carla said...

I wish I had some words of wisdom to share with you or some way I could type out what my heart is feeling for you and Rich. I ask God why every day. Still seems so unreal to me which reminds me that the grief and realization can only be a million times more heartwrenching for you. I pray for you daily and wish it was enough to ease your pain. Love and hugs.....Carla

9:51 AM  
Blogger Jer, Kari, Alayna-Maria said...

Hi Steph.

Hearing about your memories, your flashbacks, I just cannot imagine it Steph. I cry for you and for Rich, for your loss but also for all you suffered through that night, for the fear that gripped you, and the awful realization when your worst nightmare came true. For little Braden and the unfairness of him losing a fight he fought so bravely.

I sit here waiting for words to come, something profound and comforting, and at the same time not patronizing. But there is nothing. Nothing that can make it less painful, less awful, less gut-wrenching.

I can only think to reassure you.. that everything and anything you feel is okay...

It is almost like this dark forest you are moving through, and you cannot see the sun or find your direction, nor are you even sure you are making any progress. But it will get brighter, you will find your way.. and you can never do that unless you do the work you are doing now. All of the anger, the resentment, the depression, are so much work, awful and necessary.

We love you, we are here. We are reading and listening and sending hugs and prayers across the miles.

Keep writing.


9:53 AM  
Blogger LoPeZ FaMiLy said...

I'm wordless for you. All I can do for you is pray. God Bless you for the strength you have to keep B's blog going. It keeps him alive!

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Such BIG HUGE HUGS for you guys!! I think about and pray for you all daily.

God Bless!!!

Amy DesJardins

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Much love and hugs to all of you from us. I think of you all everyday and just wish that this didn't happen. You are right, you deserve to be that family and sharing all those memories. For some reason, God had a different plan. So difficult to accept and understand it. I continue to pray for all of you.
Julia Steffens

4:45 PM  
Blogger ESolgos said...

I hate this for you. There is nothing fair about this. Of all families, this should not have happened to you! I am so proud of you for managing to find hope in the midst of your pain. You are incredibly courageous, Steph.

8:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I cry reading how you are feeling and reliving that night over again and can only imagine how easy it is to go back there again even when you try not to.

It was so nice to see the light in your eye that Owen has brought, and was so easy to talk about having and caring for a newborn all over again. The absence of B is always so evident as visits just do not seem the same.
Allow yourself this time to heal, and do not feel guilty about taking this time to take care of yourself, Rich and Owen. It is hard to think of you as a broken family as you are such a beautiful family. Braden is still an inspiration for our family and a constant reminder that life is so precious, and sadly so unpredictable.
I hope Chase and I were able to offer a couple hours of distraction as I enjoyed laughing again together and watching over our little miracles. I know this grief is so personal, but I am always here to listen as another CHD mom.
Love and more hugs,

10:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steph and Rich,
Thinking of you extra today as I met 3 new families at different stages of HLHS. Your family does give me hope. You inspire me to give, to hold, to love...
Love and Peace,
Katherine Frontier

1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you told me that being at the park the other day was a first.... I had not imagined the thoughts that must have been going through your mind until I read this. Steph You are the picture of Faith...and I know that God will make things right someday, someday ....meanwhile you be the mom Braden would want you to be for his brother...your making Braden proud everyday you get up and be the best thing he knew you could be a great Mom.
(((((((((((((((hugs)))))))) my heart friend. Bradens story will still offer HOPE. Through heart of Gold and other ways that you can't even imagine...Braden will make a difference and will never be forgotten.

Dear God.... Hold this family in your loving arms...don't ever that them go for a single them and ease their heartache as only you can do, bring them peace and blessings that will over flow their cups. Lord use the people that surround them to do your will in the ways that you know best. Bless little Owen and let his light be their guide in the darkness they have. We know that Braden sits with you Lord, and that is the only comfort we have. Let him know again and again how much he is loved by so many he left behind.We were so honored to have know him, let his memory and his gift that he leaves behind always be a light to us all. Amen

Tammy Tomomitsu

9:22 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I can't imagine the pain you're going through. You are right--no parent should ever have to experience this. I think of you and B often, ever though I have never met you, and I pray for peace. Thank you for sharing your agony, even though I know it must be hard. Jennifer

12:57 AM  
Blogger MendedHeart said...

Dear Steph
I am deeply sorry for your loss and I pray your heart will heal soon. Although the 'scar' will always be there is does get better with time. Lots of hugs.

1:12 AM  

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