Baby Braden Petska

Monday, September 21, 2009


Yesterday I went to church (first time in over 2 months - since our pastor left). As I sat waiting for my turn to go up for communion, I whispered...."Oh God, why did you take our Braden....why do you need him more than we need him here on earth?" Since I cannot multi-task (I know, strange for a woman to admit), I did not realize the song that was playing while I was praying. The song was, "Children of the Heavenly Father." This was a song they played at Braden's funeral. Although I wasn't for certain at first, I immediately (and frantically) turned the hymnal to the song and read the verses that were being sung before me. There it was....staring straight at me: "Though He giveth or He taketh, God His children ne’er forsaketh; His, the loving purpose solely; To preserve them pure and holy." Was that God's answer right there in black and white? One must believe....

So, lately as I peel the layers of grief, I find it more difficult to "function." The denial is gone and I wish so badly it would return....just to protect me from the brutal reality that it's "forever." The thought consumes me at times and brings me to a state of pain so sharp, it's literally hard to breathe. I know I've stated this numerous times, but I feel like it's more frequent and more apparent as we continue to live and carry on our lives without Braden. All the continuation of "firsts" as fall approaches has me so guarded and unaware of what to expect in the coming months. Grief is a process....a very long, exhausting, taxing process. There's so many "other" things about grief that makes it difficult to put into words - the mental exhaustion, the lag time with getting things done (even the simplest things are tough), difficulty focusing & concentrating (reading the newspaper is even a chore), being insecure especially in public and crowded places, fearing that people will "forget" about our pain especially since it's something we live with 24/7. The catch 22 of wanting that happiness inside to return yet feeling guilty of "moving on" without Braden. Then there are those awkward moments that confront you when others really don't know what to say, so they simply say nothing - not because they don't care, but they just don't know the right words. For me, Braden and his absence is always on my mind, so reaching out and asking how I'm doing or extending your heartfelt thougts will not upset me. If I shed tears, that's okay.....tears are healthy. You have no idea how many tears I've shed just so I can turn around, find my smile, and move on with my day. It's "okay"'s okay to ask about Braden, to ask how we're doing, to share kind words, to offer a hug, to call, to talk to's okay.

Some other unexpected things that grief has done is allowed me to love freely, give more, to hold more compassion especially for those who suffer, not sweating the petty things and realizing there's only so much we can control in our lives, embracing nature as Braden would with discovery and appreciation, declaring time by the noon whistle on Saturdays, noting outloud where the cows are at Deno's in the morning, and knowing I will never again be the same person for knowing, loving, and sadly losing my precious little boy.


**Just a reminder** Our team, Braden's Heart of Gold, will be walking/running in the Briggs and Al Run/Walk for Children's Hospital of Wisconsin on October 10th. The money we raise will be going towards The Playroom of Hope ( Please visit our pledge page:

Also, our charity has decided to put together a little volleyball tournament at KC's Cabin on October 3rd. Please see our website ( for more details.

Thank you Owen for making our hearts smile and bringing joy to us each and every day: