Baby Braden Petska

Monday, April 26, 2010

This and That

Hello all,
So many ask how we're doing and's so hard to put into words. I'm not even sure I can put into words how we're doing. Each day poses new challenges and obstacles with the grief, and I've learned to continue to take each day as it comes. I think so many are under the perception that after a year, it gets better....I won't lie, the pain isn't as intense as it was, but it's still there. The void, the heartache, the never goes away. You learn to live with it and manage it, so you can "carry on" with your life as best you can. It doesn't get better, it gets different - again, a feeling I can't put into words. I seemed to have more valleys lately...anything can really spark it. As quickly as I can fall into a valley, I seem to get out just as quickly. With this, I feel a bit "manic" at times, clearly aware of my "happy moments" and not really knowing if this is the "new" me or someone pretending for the moment that their life is completely in tact. As I punch the keys on this computer, I know this post is so different than other posts I've created. It's the awareness of my emotions that have seemed to get the best of me (or so I've been told). I'm so aware and analytical of my own emotions, I seem to be much harder on myself than I need to be. I'm trying so hard to honor B as best I can, but I feel so lost at times. I can picture myself in a future moment sitting on his bench-style head stone and speaking to him, telling him about Owen, his friends, what's new in our lives, explaining to him how much we miss him.....but I can't. It doesn't seem natural, not yet, with this, I struggle on how I can communicate with him. Can he, in spirit, read what's on my mind and heart without me speaking it? Is he beside me as I weep or even write to him on here? I have so many questions, and I pray that one day my answers outweigh the questions (especially the ones that can consume me at times). It's just so put into describe what it feels like to be eating lunch with a friend and looking out the window to a Borders Bookstore. At that moment, when I'm in mid-laugh, I'm brought back to a time when I brought B to Borders - the first and sadly the last time. In mid-laugh, mind you, I felt this incredibly sharp painful moment that never again will I have the chance to bring him into Borders to buy, look at, or even touch another book. I know he's not sad, but I most certainly am. It can happen, just like that......the sudden dip in the day, the sudden slope at a moments notice, or in this case a glance out the window.

Before I go, I would like to share a few feel good moments. A few weeks ago, we were able to speak to a Kiwanis group in Burlington. It was in support of CHW and the Joey O'Brien Memorial Open the Kiwanis help support. We met Joey's parents who were incredibly kind and compassionate about helping others. Joey was only 16 when he passed away from Leukemia, and their golf outing helps with Leukemia research. We were able to share B's story and how passionate we are of CHW and the tremendous care we received - from the moment we arrived until the day we sadly said good-bye to B. Moments like that are so incredible as it's a chance for us to share B's story and to keep his memory so many ways.

I also want to share a moment I had at the cemetery just yesterday. B is buried near a tree and in a location that is set apart from the main section. Buried right next to him is a police officer whose life was also cut short. So many times, when I visit B's site, I will look over at this man's stone and wonder about him, his wife, his kids, and how they're doing. Anyway, I took my neighbor friend Erin to B's site on Sunday to show her his stone. A few minutes after we arrived, a truck pulls up and out hops the wife of the police officer. We introduced ourselves, hugged, and even cried together. It was a moment I thought a lot about - what would I say to this wife who is grieving her husband, who leaves flowers so often right next to B? It was a very special moment as our hearts knew exactly what to say and do. I explained how I thought her husband was keeping watch over B when she thought the opposite. Since her husband loved kids, ever since B has been buried there, she thought her husband was the one who gained a very special angel. Again, a moment I can't put into words.

Today marks the one year "anniversary" for B's special angel friend Nevaeh. Please keep this family in your thoughts and prayers as they relive so many of the painful moments they lived through last year. We know all too well their pain.

I will leave you with a song I've been listening to lately - A LOT - it reminds me so much of B and what I'd love to tell him.

Steven Curtis Chapman - Just Have to Wait
Well, I can't wait to see your smile again,
The one when your eyes disappear along with all my troubles
And I can't wait to hear you sing a song
Maybe Jesus Loves Me or a song you learned up there

But I, oh I'll just have to wait
'Cause I know that day is coming
So I, oh I'll just have to wait

I can't wait to hear your mama laugh
The way that only you can make her laugh when you get silly
And I can't wait to see you in her arms
I know the wound so deep inside her heart is healed for good

But I, oh I'll just have to wait
'Cause I know that day is coming
So I, oh I'll just have to wait

And I can't wait to dance with you again
Knowing that this time we dance, we'll never have to end

But I, oh I'll just have to wait
'Cause I know that day is coming
So I, oh I'll just have to wait

And I can't wait to see your sisters play
The way they do when all of you are playing all together
I can't wait to watch your brother's face
When he can finally see with his own eyes
Everything's okay

And I just have to wait
'Cause I know that day is coming
And I just have to wait

I will end on a good note - Owen is approaching 11 months - so hard to believe he will be a year next month. He is such a happy baby and is discovering that life is much better when you're mobile. Although he's not walking, he's the world's fastest crawler. He babbles and does a sweet little "goo" when he sees babies, and he is fascinated with other kids. He just can't help but stare - it brings a smile yet ache to my heart as I can't help but wonder how B and him would interact. He loves to dance, jump in his crib, and is discovering that it's fun to feed the dog his food. I just can't help but stare at his beautiful little face. I'm usually not one to gush about my kids, but I think I've earned the right to do it from time to time!

B's Video Link (copy and paste):

Mark your calendars - Heart of Gold Charity Golf Outing will be on August 14th. We'll have more details later regarding when registration starts!

Until then,
Live simply. Love generously.
Speak kindly. Care deeply.
Leave the rest to God.



Blogger Jer, Kari, Alayna-Maria said...

And I had just sent you a facebook message, I was thinking about you.

I think now, after the initial stages of grief leave you, there is a wasteland... a place of new normal, that does yet fit quite right... it feels only a little uncomfortable and permanent and almost fine... until it isnt in those other moments that you described.

I cannot imagine. I have no words to offer other than to say,
Braden is not forgotten, and he hears your heart.
Braden, keep sending your sweet mommy signs...


10:13 PM  
Blogger Jer, Kari, Alayna-Maria said...

After I posted, Jeremy said:

There is this feeling that you should start "moving on"... but that isnt right... you move.... but it isnt always about feeling...better... ... because the grief, while painful, is what you hang on is sharp, with crystal clear pictures of your memories... that you cling to, because it is all you have....
I think, for what it is worth, that you are doing as you should be doing.

10:26 PM  
Blogger ESolgos said...

Sending you a big hug. Blowing a kiss to Braden. Keep holding on, sweet Mama.

8:15 AM  
Anonymous Jennifer Repp said...

I really don't have any words... except that I had tears rolling down my face as I read your blog. I could just feel your heartache about B in your writing... and your smile on your face about Owen. You are an amazing person! "Heart of Gold" says it ALL!!

Thoughts and Prayers~ From one heart mom to another!

10:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steph - Your writing is beautiful. I hope it gives you some comfort and clarity. When you feel that you've reached a point where you have more answers than questions, I think you should take all that you've written here on this blog and publish it in a book as a tribute to Braden and a reminder to others about what really matters in life. Big hugs to you, Rich and baby O.


2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just read this tonight! You are amazing, my dear friend! All my love,

7:31 PM  
Blogger mittelmommy said...

I too just read this with tears rolling down my eyes and just wanted to send a 'hug' your way!

7:47 AM  
Anonymous Teri Jahnke said...

You say you wonder if B is by your side and can read your mind. I whole heartly believe that he is.
That's what the little signs are that you observe at times. I see them also since my mother passed. I know that they are her signs to let me know she is still here for me. That's B way of showing he is there for you.

With all my love,
Teri Jahnke

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Steph, Rich and Owen,
Just checked in and saw last week's notes! Our thoughts and prayers are constant.
Steve,Lori, Ella and Rebecca

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Becky@CookiesForAfrica said...

Stephanie - In an unrelated email, Erika told me today that she is the link between us. I am astounded and so very saddened by what you have suffered. I've subscribed to your blog so that I will have the reminders to pray for you in the coming months and years. I AM praying...

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Erika Slager said...

Steph & Rich,
I wanted to share a "B" moment the other day. I took Sam to our first Nikelodeon Live show. The 2nd act was the Backyardigans and as soon as the opening music started my eyes flooded with tears and I thought how much Braden would love the lights, music and live characters. I could almost hear his high pitched squeal. I had Sam on my lap and I could not help, but hold on to him extra tight and say a little prayer for Braden hoping maybe he too was watching from up above. I will never forget that we sought out that show after you told us how much B liked the music, and Sam has enjoyed it ever since.
Lots of hugs-

11:20 PM  

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