Baby Braden Petska

Sunday, October 18, 2009

It Takes a Village......

Fall of Last Year.....

Good afternoon B,
I have so much to say...where do I begin? Yesterday marked 7 months - it feels like just yesterday we were taking you trick or treating yet at the same time, it feels like forever since we last held you, kissed you, laughed with you, and told you how much we loved you. There are so many days when I feel like I'm in a daze, trying to figure out how to live this life with you still in it. I wear the necklace with your hand print, a bracelet with your name etched on it, and a teddy bear pin to display your heart of gold....yet it's still not enough. I go to your grave site and try to speak to's still not enough. I go to bed holding a piece of your's still not enough. I speak to you as much as I can throughout the day....still, it's not enough. Your memories visit my mind quite often and sometimes it feels like I can reach right out and grab you, they are so vivid....and's just not enough. I looked at your picture the other day and studied it so closely and a wave of anger came across me.....why you B? Why you? You were such a good boy, you loved life and everything about it, your voice....oh your voice....what I wouldn't do to hear it hear the excitement it held with everything you would tell us. To really think about "forever" sometimes seems impossible b/c it is so unnatural for a child to leave this earth. I often wonder what you'd want to be this year for Halloween? I look at your Diego costume from last year and crack up whenever I think of the neighbor asking if you were supposed to be Elvis. Would you want to be Diego again this year or would you be interested in something else? All these questions that lie unanswered....sigh. Yesterday I awoke to daddy watching Wonder Pets with Owen. I know he misses our cartoon Saturday just as much as I do. To hear Winny, Tuck, and Ming-Ming was a bittersweet feeling. Oh how I miss you. These words that I write will never scratch the surface of how I truly feel when I state how much I really miss you. Keep sending little signs of your presence. I see so many hawks and wonder if it's you......

Holding you closer than ever to our hearts,
Your Mama

Dear Bloggers,
I've often believed that it takes a village to raise a child. Now, I firmly believe that it takes a village to heal a family. Lately, we've received many small blessings that in the end are incredibly have no idea. Let me share. First of all, we had an amazing turn out for THE coldest Brigg's and Al Walk/Run. I think it may have reached 44 degree that day, so the morning start was frigid to say the least. We made our goal of $2,000 (2,235 to be exact) as a team and had 28 members walk and run with us - yeah! Below, I've posted our team pic and a news clip that CBS-58 posted of the run/walk. There was a brief shot of our team as we were posing for a team photo (we're cheering as the hospital gal is narrating where the money goes this year). Another blessing was when Ms. Penny from the library dropped off a book for Owen. This book was one of B's favorite books and was actually the book they shared at the only story hour I was able to attend. Inside the book was a Christmas ornament Braden made last year at story hour. This gift was priceless. Another blessing has been the presence of the staff I work with....they have been an amazing support system as I've had to "lean" many times on my colleagues. I am so grateful; they have been there countless times for me this year. Another blessing was a letter we recently received from a stranger. She shared how much she has learned from "B", the life he lived, and how his untimely death has allowed her to appreciate so much more of her own life. Last night, we attended Heart Fest for the Mend a Heart Foundation that the O'Meara's founded. There we met other heart families and were blown away that they too read the blog. The conversation blew my mind as I am so unaware of how many people follow us on here. It has always been a place to share our journey with more than ever it's a place I can share my heart to help with the healing of its brokenness. Thank you to the village of people who are willing to reach out in countless ways. Some of you are so brave to share your stories with us, to post a comment or send an e-mail to keep us going. Thank you for helping us feel that we are not alone, for being on the sidelines helping us get up when we have fallen, allowing us to take yet another step down this path, and for holding the torch when we feel the overwhelming darkness that grief often creates. In so many way we have felt your presence - thank you for continuing to think of us and pray for us.

Love, Stephanie

Braden's Heart of Gold Team

News Link:

All of the money our team raised went towards the Playroom of Hope. Every dollar counts...please visit for more details on you can help another family pay it forward to assist the many children and their families at CHW. Thank you Jamie, Brielle, and Patty for walking with us Saturday in honor of Nevaeh. We would also like to thank the Slager Family & Team Super Sam who honored "B" this year during the walk.

Of course our post wouldn't be complete without new pics of Owen. Here is the happy babe at 4 Months...


Blogger ESolgos said...

The other day I was flipping through some photos and saw one of you pregnant with Braden. My heart broken once again. You are right, it shouldn't be this way. Thank you for continuing to inspire us with your courage. I love you, my friend.

3:14 PM  
Blogger Jer, Kari, Alayna-Maria said...

Oh Steph, what a bitter sweet day our walk was. I held such thankfulness in my heart for my blessings and such bitterness for the missing smile, the missing laughter that cold morning. Your sweet boy is still in our minds and hearts every day.
Your story about the ornament broke my heart... but I am so glad you received it.
Owen is gorgeous.

9:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today, I thougth about checking in on you before I went home for the day. I am so glad you are able to continue sharing your thoughts and feelings with us. You have no idea how much people care about you and wish this would have never happened. Please know that my prayers are with you daily for your continued strength. Baby Owen is getting big. What a great smile... Hope to get a chance to meet him soon. Until then, keep posting those cute pics.
Peace and Love

Kim (Gatiss)Funnell

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi guys!

It was so great meeting you on Sat. night - thank you so much for coming out! I can't even imagine how hard that must have been for both of you but we certainly appreciate it. I also wanted to tell you that I have shared your blog with fellow heart moms that have also lost their child and your writing is so healing not only for you...but for many others going through the greiving process as well. You have such a way with words! Owens pictures are just adorable!

Veronica Burk

9:28 PM  
Blogger Bridget said...

Steph and Rich -

I am sorry that I didn't realize when i saw you that Sat. was seven months since you lost Braden. I should have remembered that. Thank you for sharing your emotions - I hope it helps you in the healing the process. I continue to pray for your strength, and admire you for how strong you are. It isn't fair that you lost your beautiful boy. Keep watching out for the hawks!

All my best,
Bridget O'Meara

11:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was good to meet you at Al's Run. Meeting people who know the same pain we feel is helpful in that you just get it...the emptiness, the sadness, the unbelievable pain always present in your chest. Your charity is amazing. We too want to give back to so many people who helped us on our journey. Thank you for taking time to talk to us. I would love to talk to you about your charity. Please email me if you can so that I can get you my info. Take comfort in knowing that Braden like Carsyn is dancing with the angels free of any pain...not the outcome we all wanted, but there is joy in knowing that they are healthy, whole, and free of anymore pain...

Michelle and Chris Buchmann
mom and dad of Carsyn HLHS

2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again you and your B were in my thoughts this week. I am sure today was a tough day with memories of B in that adorable Diego costume. I hope you can find comfort knowing that you have many praying and thinking about your family.

9:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:13 PM  
Blogger Dana said...


I just read a news story and thought of you and your husband. I wanted to check in. I do think of you because your blog and story has touched me. I see you haven't posted in quite a while. I hope that means you are enjoying your sweet baby, O.

I know I'm a total stranger, but I care about how you're doing.

Much love,
Dana Boyle

8:31 PM  
Anonymous Roberta (Mulder) Harriff said...

Hey Steph -

I don't have a way to email you, but I wanted to let you know that I keep this blog link so I can check in occasionally. I cry with you so many times and want you to know that your openness about your grief process really helps me remember the important things in life. I think about other friends and even my mom who have suffered the loss of a child and I just can't fathom what that is like. But your posts help me be a more understanding friend. For you, I want you to know that you continue to be in my prayers. I know God will continue to give you the outpouring of love and strength you need. Congrats on your gorgeous cutie Owen and thank you for sharing your special memories of Braden. :) Your reminders of the "little things" I know make me a better and more grateful mom because I can reflect on those happy moments with my kids too and appreciate them.

Stay strong, my beautiful, smiley friend!

Roberta - your old friend from Carthage

10:44 PM  

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