Baby Braden Petska

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Beauty Will Rise

Today was the big race - the 1/2 marathon we've trained for all winter - the metaphor of our journey. When signing up for this feat, I didn't realize right away that this very day was the day we said our final good-byes to Braden - the day we placed him at his final resting spot. I thought of him and this journey the entire way. Each mile we ran, I tried hard to put myself back into that particular month after B's passing, remembering where we were and how we were "surviving." I couldn't help but tear up when passing the 12 mile mark and trying so hard to embrace that last mile as the "future" of "us" now. I won't lie, the run was tough especially the last two miles. My feet were on fire, my buns were badly aching, and my legs felt like 100 lb weights....all I kept thinking was darnit Steph, your heart has survived more pain than this - keep going, keep moving, keep putting one foot in front of the other. Thank you to those who ran with me today, literally and in spirit. There were many kids with signs cheering for their moms. The highlight of my run was when we saw a hawk circling above us. I prayed for B to show himself in spirit...I knew he would show me his own special sign, cheering on his mama and auntie.

I cannot begin to express our appreciation and gratitude for all of the support you gave us this week and along this entire journey. We are/were overwhelmed with generous amounts of support. We received so many cards, phone calls, e-mails, and messages. We were also sent so many special gifts during the week to let us know how much we are cared for and how often B is thought of and loved. Below is a pic of B's heart friend Super Sam releasing a balloon to, so special. My school did some amazing things as well. They collected money for Heart of Gold, and I was given a flower every class period on the 16th to help distract me as the hours passed by. We are truly blessed with amazing people in our lives.

This particular picture represents mile 13 and the future of our with Hope as we embrace life and each day with Owen...for understanding and acceptance....for calm and peace....for that key to be able to move forward yet another day. Keep cheering us on as we will face many more hills and challenges ahead....keep praying that we feel the wind behind our backs....keep praying that when we feel defeated, we look to the heavens and ask God and B for their guidance. I will leave with you a song I feel fitting for this day. Again, another song by Steven Curtis Chapman, Beauty Will Rise. I will try to copy the link, but you may have to search it. I will leave the words.

Here's the link to B's videos - I will try and upload more as we go:

Beauty Will Rise
Copy and Paste Link:

It was the day the world went wrong
I screamed til my voice was gone
And watched through the tears as everything
Came crashing down

Slowy panic turns to pain
As we awake to what remains
And sift through the ashes
That are left behind

But buried deep beneath
All our broken dreams we have this hope

Out of these ashes beauty will rise
And we will dance among the ruins
We will see it with our own eyes
Out of these ashes beauty will rise
For we know joy is coming in the morning
In the morning, beauty will rise

So take another breath for now
And let the tears come washing down
And if you can't believe, I will believe for you

Cause I have seen the signs of spring
Just watch and see

Out of these ashes beauty will rise
And we will dance among the ruins
We will see it with our own eyes
Out of these ashes beauty will rise
For we know joy is coming in the morning
In the morning

I can hear it in the distance
And it's not too far away
It's the music and the laughter
Of a wedding and a feast
I can almost feel the hand of God
Reaching for my face to wipe the tears away
You say it's time to make everything new
Make it all new

This is our hope
This is a promise
This is our hope
This is a promise

It will take our breath away
To see the beauty that's been made
Out of the ashes, out of the ashes

It will take our breath away
To see the beauty that He's made
Out of the ashes, out of the ashes

Out of these ashes
Beauty will rise
And we will dance among the ruins
We will see it with our own eyes
Out of this darkness
New light will shine
And we'll know the joy that's coming in the morning
In the morning
Beauty will rise

Oh, beauty will rise
Oh, oh, oh, beauty will rise
Oh, oh, oh, beauty will rise
Oh, oh, oh, beauty will rise

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thank You......

We just wanted to express our thanks & gratitude - your support has been endless. Also, we've heard some have had trouble with the video link. Try this & then click on the Braden album if it doesn't come up right away - I added a few more videos.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Calling All Angels..........

Dear B,
Can you see us, can you touch us, can you feel our heavy hearts as we grieve deeply remembering you in your final moments just a year ago? As the hour approaches when you took your last breath, I'm reminded of how unfair it is for a mama and dadda to lose their child....I'm reminded of how much I grieve you, your presence, your future, and everything about you. I'm eternally proud to have been your mama here on earth, to have loved you, known you, and held you when you took your first breath and your last. We will never be the same for knowing you, loving you, and sadly losing you. Wishing we could have one last moment, one more monster hug and kiss from you....until we see you in heaven....we love you our sweet, sweet boy.

Holding you closer than ever to our, tomorrow, and always,
Your Mama, Dadda, and O

Calling all angels
Calling all angels
Walk me through this one
Don't leave me alone
Calling all angels
Calling all angels
We're tryin', we're hopin'
We're hurtin', we're lovin'
We're cryin', we're callin'
We're not sure how this goes

Finally, I've found a way to share a video link of B through photobucket. I tried to attach a link, but you'll have to copy and paste below. The screen looks a little long and narrow - not sure what happened when it transferred to photobucket:¤t=M2U01094.flv

I also want to revisit one of the slide-shows Kim made for us:

Monday, March 15, 2010

I'll Just Have to Wait

This pic, although it is scanned and not the best quality, is my all time favorite of B. It captures his innocence, wit and love of sweets. He is in mid-chew of a brownie at G'pa Greg's birthday party. It was one of our last photos taken of B, and a moment I wasn't there to witness. These sunglasses are owned by a friend of Cousin Natalie's. They were just lying on the table, and B put them on and had this look on his face like he wanted to say, " What are you looking at? What's so funny?" I hang it on the fridge to remind me of his charm and character - oh what laughter he brought and still brings to my life.

I will leave you with a link to another song from Steven Curtis Chapman's album, Beauty Will Rise. You'll have to copy and past this:
You can search this song, "Just Have to Wait" if you can't get the link to work.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Faith isn't the ability to believe long and far into the misty future. It's simply taking God at His word and taking the next step.

Sorry for the missed post last night - too tired and sometimes the writing, as much as it "cleanses" the mind, can be exhausting at times. Today's post came to me last week when I was in the office at school. I overheard my principal talking to another teacher about a weight loss competition we're having at school. He simply stated, "It's not a race, it's a marathon." As I walked by, he said, "Right Petska?" I smiled and nodded and realized I could use that analogy in so many other ways in my own life. I thought a lot about this yesterday when I was out training for the 1/2. I had on my rain slicker, running with the wind and rain pelting me in the face and couldn't help but wear a smile on my face. People probably thought I was nuts, but I knew it was something I had to do, to prepare for my run next week. There's only so much you can control in life, the weather is not one of them, and so you have to train for the best and worst of conditions. My mind set was that it was going to be okay, I was running a whopping ten miles, but at some point I would be done and would be able to go back inside my dry, comfy house to stretch, rehydrate and rest. Tackling the hills are kind of the same....there will come a time when I will reach the top and get to feel the wind at my back, but for now I have to focus on how I will beat this hill and not let it beat me....embrace it but not to let one hill define my fight, my battle, and defeat me before I can reach the top. This is so true about how I've dealt with grief. It has robbed me of so much at times, yet I try hard to not let it defeat me and define who I am. Each mile I run is symbolic for each foot I've been able to put forward on this journey. It's not easy, but it's possible. I kept thinking of this little medallion I received from a friend at school. It said "survivor," reminding me that each day, as difficult as it can be, at the end of it, I will have survived. A survivor of what, I'm not quite sure as I'm still learning so much about myself and how B's life and death have changed me. For today, I know I'm a survivor of heartbreak and loss......tomorrow it might be something different as each day poses a new challenge with grief. With the year mark approaching, I can feel the weight on my shoulders as I climb that hill...I'm not sure when I'll reach the top or when I'll get a "break", but I know I have to keep moving, putting one step in front of the other. Owen and Rich, at the forefront of my mind, keep my feet moving and my mind focused on the "reward" at the top of that hill. A year has really only felt like one mile on this life-long marked a year of firsts....a year of peaks and valleys....a year of trials and tribulations....a year of bittersweet moments. So many times I've heard "How do you do it? How do you move forward with this type of loss?" My answer is often times, "I don't know." I've been thinking a lot about this as sometimes I can answer it by getting to the point and other times I feel robotic, just trying to get through the conversation. I guess what helps anyone get through a grueling “marathon” in life is support, whether we can see it in a physical presence or feel it by leaning on faith, it's there. If there's anything I've learned along the way, it's the goodness in people. So many people have reached out in incredible ways....whether they've sent a message, sent cards with kind or encouraging words, sent gifts, went out for a meal, movie, or a walk, called, a hug, a smile, a gift at school to make my day a bit brighter, a visit at B’s gravesite, a wish upon a star, a blog post, a kind thought, a daily prayer....we are so incredibly grateful. I feel as if we don't give enough thanks to those who have graced us with their love and support along the way. I hear stories of those who have followed us on the blog...strangers or acquaintances of other friends and I'm simply amazed.

Recently, we were sent a donation and letter from a company, DDN. Every quarter this company chooses 1-2 charities to sponsor. They recently held a breakfast for their employees and sold tickets - the money they raised went to Heart of Gold. A member of their charity committee had a child born with a heart defect and came across B's story through our gift bags given to new heart families at CHW. This is an example of how B's story continues to touch the lives of others. Like I said in a previous post, it takes a village to heal a broken family....I love and cherish the village who has helped us in our healing process.

This journey will be life long...each day we will continue to find out how it has affected us, changed us, made us stronger, or weakened us in some’s a journey, a marathon…..most certainly not a “race.”

A few pics from Grandpa Greg's 60th party we had a year ago on this weekend - B was acting shy while A. Marci was introducing him to friends, playing with Kelli, and being his silly self :)

Friday, March 12, 2010


A year ago at this time, we were in route to the U.P. to help Grandpa Greg celebrate his 60th birthday. Something wasn't right with the Subaru, so we ventured up north in Grandma Lois's Yukon. Braden loved riding in Grandma Lois's car - he was up high and could see the "world" from where he was sitting. It was one of our best car rides up north as B was so entertained with all the "monster" trucks we were passing along the way. When we finally arrived (at midnight), Gramma Patsy and Grandpa Greg were eagerly waiting our arrival. Since Cousin Trevor generously gave all of his trucks, cars, and race car tracks to B to play with at G'ma's, it was nearly impossible to pull him away after being introduced to "Match Box Heaven." He had his red gorilla (gungrilla as B would say) jammies on and took a liking to one truck in particular. This "milk truck", as he called it, became his all time favorite truck and went with him wherever he went that weekend. He raced race cars with Grandpa that next day and savored every minute of getting to play with all his "new" cars and trucks.

B was always a great sleeper until we went to g'ma and g'pa's house. Since he slept in the same room with us up there, I would open my eyes bright and early to the cutest little blue eyed boy. He'd have his blanky and Diego in hand waiting to be lifted into bed with us, displaying a grin from ear to ear...."Good mornin' Mama." He'd lay in the middle of Rich and myself and play with the fringe of his blanky. There were times he'd fall back asleep or just lay there, stroking my cheek. I miss every ounce of this little still doesn't seem right or even possible that he's gone.....sigh.....

Attached are pics of 2 quilts we had made of B's favorite jammies and shirts. We had this made before Thanksgiving. The entire planning process was amazing - the woman who made the quilts did a phenomenal job and really put so much of B into each quilt. The first two pics are the front and back of the larger quilt. All of B's favorite cartoons border the quilt with the same material from his blanky marking the corners (she even made sure to make it fringy - just how he liked it). The back of the quilt has designated spots for Heart of Gold, CHW T's, and a special corner for Owen (those are Owen's footprints and the hat he came home in). The material on the back of the quilt is from B's Diego sheets.

The smaller quilt was made with pockets for us to place things in of B's and/or pieces of writing for the quilt. The back of the quilt is his Diego pillowcase. She is so talented and was so in tune with how to best represent B on this quilt. Amazing...simply amazing.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Special Friends....Special Wishes......

Another birthday a very special boy with a very special heart....Caden Marshall Smith is one today! The story of Caden: Our neighbor-friend Erin came to us last winter to let us know of a family who found out in utero that they were having a baby with HLHS. Immediately, I wanted to run to that family, hug them and tell them that everything was going to be okay....B was living proof that kiddos are tough, resilient and thrive even after enduring the medical marathons at such a young age. But, well, strangers just don't do that...right? With the help of Erin, we started an e-mail correspondence with the Smith's, offering encouragement as they embarked on this new journey. I remember cheering at my computer after I had read how they chose to have Caden's surgeries performed in Milwaukee (they live in Illinois). I know I might be biased, but CHW is absolutely the best with their amazing staff of doctors and nurses. Caden was born on March 11th, and we followed his progress on the blog his parents created for him. His first surgery, the Norwood, was performed on March 16th. That evening, we found ourselves in the same PICU, surrounded by the same doctors and nurses Caden was with that day/night. I remember as we walked out of there, I looked down the hallway and wondered about the Smith family...were they there? Were they in a room just like we were 2.5 years ago, watching their son fight for his life? How will we ever break the news to this family...this family who we've been encouraging and giving hope to? Even though we were walking away with empty arms, my heart was still thinking of another family and their own fears through all of this. :sigh:

We briefly met the Smith's for the first time in October at the Brigg's and Al Walk/Run. We were finally able to connect with them this past weekend at the Healing Garden event. I know God has connected us with special people in our lives - the Smith's and the story of how we are connected is proof in how God is assisting us in every step we make on this journey. We received a special gift from the Smith's today - thank you Melissa and David. Happy Birthday Caden!

PS...I'm unsure of the random scribble/scrabble comments we are receiving on the blog...just ignore until Rich or myself can remove them.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Birthday Wishes!

Happy Birthday Kelli! Last year, Kelli celebrated her birthday on March 15th, and we were fortunate to still be in Munising to help her celebrate her 8th birthday. Gramma Patsy bought a Littlest Pet Shop toy for Braden to give to Kelli. We wrapped it and talked all morning about how we were going to go to Kelli's for her birthday party and have cake! B sure loved his sweets. -sidebar- He SO loved his sweets that when Gramma Patsy came around, B would somehow get to eat her famous cookies morning, noon, and night :) We ended up giving up on nap time as B was just too excited for the party - after numerous attempts, up the stairs to tuck him back in, snuggle him up with his blanky, doggy, Dora, Diego, and other Diego, we finally gave in - to Kelli's we went! B had a ball playing with all of the toys at Carla's and following Kelli wherever she went. He helped her open up her gifts and even snuggled with her in her new comforter. I dedicate this post not only to Kelli but to all who were touched in some way by B's smile, wit, charm, and loving spirit. Carla has told me how Kelli has a box for Braden where she puts things that remind her of B. She once told Carla that her comforter has Braden sprinkles on it b/c of how he had himself wrapped up in it at her birthday party. This makes my heart smile, yet it also makes it hurt knowing how many people were affected and saddened by B's sudden loss.

There are so many who have reached out to share their own special stories of B - you have either written them here on the blog or through e-mail. It means so much to hear how much B has touched your life in one way or another.

Tonight, I will leave you with pics from that special birthday party. Happy birthday Kelli - may you feel a gentle breeze against your cheek to let you know B is always near.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

"Where this love, there is always hope."

Monday, March 08, 2010

Driving in Reverse.....

What is it that makes our mind wander back to a place in time just by the smell of a new season, a certain perfume, or the way a room looks or feels? Why does the first snowfall put that little flutter inside of us and move us into the Christmas spirit instantly? What is it about the smell of fall and the sight of colorful leaves that makes us crave apple cider, cinnamon donuts, and a pumpkin farm? What is it about the smell of spring that fast forwards our mind to a warm summer's night with the crickets chirping and the fresh breeze blowing through an open window? It's amazing how much our senses directly connect to our emotions. Unfortunately as most embrace this time of year, I'm bracing, holding back, gripping my seat for the worst. There have already been glimpses of that raw, painful gut feeling I had for so long that just lingered for months - the emptiness, longing, shattered hope, brokenness, and the intense feeling of loss - so intense you feel like you can't breath at times, so intense you feel like it takes every bit of energy to just move one step forward. Those glimpses can be so powerful and can be triggered by the littlest things - zipping Owen's coat, getting out the stroller, making dinner, running the bath water, finding a sock, a commercial on TV - you name it, B and his reminded absence is everywhere. How can those feelings be brought back in an instant? sigh...they're here....they're back and I'm not sure how long they will stay.....sigh....big deep sigh.....

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Wings of Angels Endowment

Well, missing a day isn't what I had intended. I was going to write something before midnight struck, but we didn't arrive home until after the midnight hour last night. While Gramma Patsy was able to get her quality time with Owen, Rich, Marci, and myself drove to Milwaukee for a benefit (Wings of Angels Endowment) for another heart family. The benefit was in honor and memory of Carsyn Buchmann, a baby girl who too had HLHS and earned her angel wings this past September. We followed her story as she fought for almost 4 months to overcome the many obstacles in her little life and for her parents to be able to bring her home - something they were sadly never able to do. Now her parents' fight begins - to spread awareness of CHD and help build a healing garden at Children's. The garden will offer a private location for families to "get away." It will be a place for patients to escape hospital life when they are feeling will be a place to provide hope for patients and families. It was a beautiful event and it was amazing to see the amount of support this family has received along their journey. We were able to attend this event with our special friends, the Slagers and the Wallaces. Among the attendees were doctors, nurses, therapists, and other heart families we knew or just met for the first time. Seeing and speaking with Kathryn (B's speech path), Dr. Ghanayem, the nurses, and many of the heart families we knew, brought on emotions I didn't expect to feel as the night wore on. The Buchmann's made a video highlighting the children who are survivors of CHD and those who have sadly lost their battle. Braden was among those they highlighted in the video. The music, the words, the wasn't a dry eye in the place. Dr. Ghanayem spoke about how much they have learned from every CHD child, including Braden, Nevaeh, and Carsyn. It felt good to hear this, although I would've given every bone in my body to be on the "other side." As I've stated in past posts, you grieve so much more than the child you've grieve their presence, their future, and everything about your life that involved your child. For us, one part of our life we grieve is everything that is encompassed in the "heart world" - the doctors, nurses, clinic visits, and the ability to place your child as one of the "poster children" for HLHS. At one point in the night, I said to Jamie, "Wow, this really sucks to be on this side of the road." I guess I can express myself better in writing than when I speak :) I actually said this last night as I was trying to speak with another heart mom about our own journey. I felt like I was talking in circles, trying so hard to get to the point, but felt like I just couldn't "nail it." It's so difficult to put these emotions into words at times. Writing actually helps me to cleanse what I harbor so deeply inside. I might not always make sense as I tend to ramble at times, but for me, allowing the darkness to escape has allowed more light to pour in. Thank you for continuing to read, for expressing your kind, encouraging words, and extending your continuous support through thought, prayer, and written encouragement.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Unexpected Moments......

Every new day I hope to unravel a little bit more of the tangled mess, to make sense out of my/our new life, yet the day tends to unravel itself on its own, without me having a "say" in it. This can lead to unexpected moments when emotions arise and take over in an instant. The unpredictability...well, it's less than desirable.

Today I was caught off guard when I went to lunch with some co-worker friends. We sat next to a table that held a mom, grandma, baby, and a little boy. Although I've seen many toddler-aged children and have been able to disconnect myself, today it was very different. The little boy looked so much like Braden, and I couldn't help but glance over at him, many times, throughout the lunch. It wasn't until I got in the car did I lose it (sorry Melissa). The little boy was sitting in a booster, behaving himself, wearing little rubber boots, and all I could do was imagine B sitting there, enjoying a lunch date with Grandma Lois. It's those moments that can literally take my breath away and change the course of my day, emotionally. The pain surfaced and hovered there for the remainder of the day. Another unexpected moment came this evening when we made a trip out to Target. I ventured into the Easter aisle, and once again I found myself having shortness of breath - I just had to get out of there. Thomas the Train, coloring books, Little People, tub toys, monster trucks, and lots and lots of chocolate (pronounced with long O's as B would say). Some of these items reminded me of what we either bought or were going to buy for B last year - sigh - here's a moment I'm kicking and screaming, "It's just not fair."

What makes me sad is that by protecting myself from the pain, I try and distract my mind from reminding me of what I'm missing, my son. I tend to feel selfish in the fact that I'm trying to shoo away Braden moments just to keep from feeling the intense pain. AND that I even put Braden and the word pain in the same just doesn't feel right....but then again, what does in this entire process? Grief and the endless boundaries....I wish we knew where one point ended and another began........

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Love has no boundaries.......

Tonight my mom and sister came down to visit for the weekend. It sure feels good to have them here and have Owen get some lovin' from his Gramma Patsy and Auntie Marci - we have not seen them since Christmas. It also makes my heart hurt knowing there's someone missing when they come to visit. Braden was attached to Auntie Marci's hip when she came to visit - he would stand in his bed and call to her when he woke up. At the top of his lungs all you could here was, "Aaaaauntieeeee Marrrrrciiiiii, I'm uuup!" Even though we don't speak of this, I know they wear their pain so closely to their hearts. That's one hard lesson I've had to learn about grief. So many other people are grieving the loss of this little boy, yet I feel so wrapped up in my own grief, that I don't put myself in their shoes, wondering how they must be coping. B is not only our son, but a brother, grandson, nephew, cousin, and friend to so many. You would think that being so close to family and sharing such a similar loss, that we would talk about it more, but I guess we don't have to....we it feels to laugh and cry in the same breath and question how it is we've "survived" this last year. I guess I can answer that we've survived it together, providing strength to each other, acknowledging each others pain (in our own special way), being gentle to one another, and allowing the tears to come and go as they so often do. Grief has no boundaries even though we try so hard to understand where the line is or should be drawn at times.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Swiper no Swiping.......

There is a story behind every photo of Braden - whether he just popped a new tooth, marked a new milestone, got into mischief, or mama and dadda just wanted to capture his funny little personality on film; the picture holds meaning. Well, this picture believe it or not has held one of my all time favorite memories of B and his wit. This pic was taken to update our charity website - it was taken at his Christmas session in 2008. Thank goodness for photo shop b/c this was not the original head in this photo. Yes, ladies and gentleman, Kim cut off his head in another photo to gently place it onto his body to make this picture just right :) But, that's not the story. The reason she had to "head edit" was because this was the end of the photo session and we were pushing our limit with cooperation from a 2 year old :) We had to bribe B with mini-marshmallows to sit and smile. So, he did just that until he was done with his marshmallow and away he went. Then, it became a game...he thought it was fun to smile, say cheese and run away. On one of the last shots, he smiled, said cheese, and whipped the teddy bear behind him. He then said in his Dora Swiper voice, "You'll never get your teddy bear now -ha-ha-haaaa." I looked at Kim absolutely stunned that he'd say such a thing until Kim reminded me that that's what Swiper the Fox says on Dora. Oh, yes, B's favorite show.....he never once did this at home, so you can imagine my surprise when he says this (in an evil Swiper tone) at Kim's. Oh B, you surely knew how to put a smile on our face.......

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


This journey has been more than just that, it has been more than just experiencing grief, it has been about learning how to embrace and take in the beauty that surrounds us each and everyday. Even on the days where sorrow fills my heart and tears sting my eyes, I am given signs that life is still moving, the earth is still beating, and my heart is still loving. Even on the days when it takes every bone in my body to get out of bed, I am somehow given a sign of hope from above. Braden taught me early on to look around and "see" pay attention to what's around us - the beauty in all of God's creations. He's teaching me something everyday about life and and caring.....leading and loving. I'm not sure what the purpose of Braden's death was, but I know the purpose of his life. It was short, but it was full....of love....of inspiration.....of care free smiles and hugs.....of giggling laughter and playful times...and making sure we "see" what's around us each and everyday.

A co-worker/friend gave me a CD by Steven Curtis Chapman. Although he wrote this song (and CD) through the tears he shed of tragically losing his own child, the words are so incredibly powerful. They spoke to my heart and even though I can't help but cry everytime I hear it, there is a sense of peace that allows me to take another step forward on this journey.

Take a listen......

I guess my mission with the March blogs is to mark everyday with something I've gained, lost and learned along the way.

Monday, March 01, 2010

"March"ing along......

Dear March,
I'm still unsure on how you "fit" into our lives as you are a place in time where Braden's last moments were lived and yet it's the time when he left this earth way too soon. I've tried to come up with ways over Braden's short life to pause time or even stop it, so we could embrace the time in his life where he grew so incredibly quickly. Even on "that" night and many nights after, we begged to go back and even pleaded with God to bring him back to us. We begged to no avail, as it is not humanly possible to accomplish these tasks. As a mother, you're desperate to do anything to get your child back even though you know in your mind it's not possible. Oh, March, how I dreaded you for months and even though you lurked in the distance, I didn't know you could consume us once again like you did just a year ago. All day I knew it was the first of March and yet it wasn't until I had to write the first check out did it really sink in. In past posts, I've spoken about the moments I'm able to "live" through and the moments that catch me by surprise. I heard a mourning dove this morning, the first time since winter came. It flooded my mind with Braden quotes, "It's a mourning dove - sounds like an owl," just like it flooded my eyes with tears. Oh how those moments can just take you by surprise. I put on a pair of tennis shoes tonight - ones I had to dig out of the closet - the only thought I had when I put them on was, the last time I wore these Braden was still alive. Who has ever wanted to hug a pair of tennis shoes? Oh my, these moments are mommy moments...mommy moments when she misses her son so incredibly much she would do just about anything to feel his presence again. Oh March, what shall we do with you...the year mark is quickly approaching...please be kind to our hearts.