Baby Braden Petska

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Time Marches On.....

I sit down to write because it's been a long time. I know this because my thoughts are swirling about, needing to be let out someway/somehow. So, where are we now you may ask? How are things going? Hmmm, well, it's so hard to pinpoint that exactly. Some moments it seems as if I have a grip on this new life and the next moment I'm plummeting into a place I try desperately to get out of. The tears come much easier these days...I just miss my B to pieces. I know how I've blogged before that I felt I could analyze myself and my feelings pretty well, knowing why I was feeling a certain way. Now, I've just given up on the analyzing part and succumb to what the day brings. Sometimes that might mean a sudden dip in my mood or tears of sadness when there's so much joy that surrounds us. A few scenarios might make you understand what I'm talking about. A few weeks ago, I went downstairs to grab Owen a pair of tennis shoes. I know Braden had some at this age that would fit Owen....I just needed to find them. As I was looking at the unmarked tubs, I couldn't quite remember what tub held the clothes and items that Owen could fit into now, so I started with the first one I saw. That was the tub ear marked with "don't touch" items....the clothes B last wore, his socks, shoes, Handy Manny backpack, and his winter coat. I grabbed the coat and just hugged it, hoping to feel what I once felt a year and a half ago. I put the coat back and closed up the tub, thinking I was "done" as I opened up the next one. There sat clothes Owen would eventually wear, and there I sat sobbing as I looked at the items that held so many memories. I wasn't expecting it. I honestly thought I could go and retrieve some shoes without even wincing. Boy was I wrong. Everything in this house holds a key to a memory....I guess packing things away was like packing away emotions I hadn't expected to reopen again. Another moment was when Rich, Owen, and I were driving back from a fun-filled afternoon. Rich made a detour on our way home, and I knew instantly where we were going....the cemetery. It caught me off guard. He wanted to go retrieve the balloons we had left there for B's birthday. I couldn't get out of the car. It was hard for me to even look at his headstone with his little face on the bench and the large letters of our last name etched into the stone. I was screaming on the inside....with anger and questions....why? Why B? Why us? We shouldn't be here....he shouldn't be's just not fair....damn it, it's just not fair! Some days....some moments....just catch me/us by surprise!

When you ask how we are doing? I apologize if I don't make sense or end the conversation in circles...I really don't know what to say. I've never had something change in my life like my viewpoint on grief. I know if I looked back to an entry I made a year ago, it would be very different . I do know one thing ...our lives are different now....I'm not sure if you see it, but I feel it. I'd like to share with you a quote from another family that really hit home: "Do not judge the bereaved mother. She comes in many forms. She is breathing, but she is dying. She may look young, but inside she had become ancient. She smiles, but her heart sobs. She walks, she talks, she cooks, she cleans, she works, she IS, but she IS NOT, all at once. She is here, but part of her is elsewhere for eternityā€¯ For me the italicized part is what I feel the most at this point. I'm not all at once. No matter how hard I try, I just can't get there and I'm not sure if I ever will. I feel as if I lost a piece of myself when I lost B, and sometimes plummeting into that darkness is the result of trying to get that part of my life back, knowing it's gone forever. Another mother wrote about her grief and healing being about trying to glue back the pieces of your life when it's been smashed to smithereens. Somedays I feel as if we've done a good job with our glueing, embracing the joy in our life, thanking God for what we have, and remembering B with happy memories. Then there are days when the glueing either halts or crumbles, with us having to start back from the beginning. Since there will always be a missing piece, how do you even begin to glue it all back? I can imagine that's how our life will always be...somedays "glued together" while other days crumbling to pieces.

Owen, Owen, Owen.....I couldn't wait to get to this part in the blog as he truly melts my heart. He is growing, growing, growing. He is a pointing, ooohing, laughing, babbling, curious, active, playful, inquisitive, brave, little boy who loves books, animals, trucks, wrestling, trains, making new discoveries, dancing, and bath time. Summer and fall have brought us out of "hiding" as we embrace new experiences like the beach, zoo, and the apple orchard with Owen. I try hard to focus on Owen and not on what we're missing, but that's easier said than done. That "missing piece" can be more evident on days when we see families of four or brothers the ages of Braden and Owen. Owen looks and points at B's pictures and sometimes carries them around with him. I often wonder if he knows that there's a special boy inside that frame or if he "recognizes" his face from a previous "meeting." Sometimes you just have to wonder. Owen isn't saying a lot of words yet, but we are starting to recognize his own language. We've been starting to teach him a few signs like eat, more, all done, and milk, so he can communicate to us. Speaking of "all done", we are all done with the helmet.....yeah! It's amazing to see the difference from where he started.

Other news: I know I had written this in the previous post, but I just wanted to thank everyone again for their support with our 4th annual golf outing. We made a little over $16,000 which puts us at a little over $80,000 total that we've raised since we started Heart of Gold. We are in the process of writing thank you's to those who made contributions to the charity, golf outing, and silent auction. We made another gift bag delivery to the hospital at the end of August, which put us at 80 gift bags this year already. In just two weeks, we are going to participate again in the Briggs and Al Run/Walk. We were actually reluctant in forming a team this year- last year was very emotional, and we were unsure if we could do it again. We had many members of our team asking about it, wanting to join again, so we did. We are 45 team members strong (our biggest team yet), and on October 9th we will run/walk to benefit Children's Hospital of Wisconsin and the Playroom of Hope. If you would like to make a contribution to our team, our website is:

Thank you for checking in. I know God has answered many prayers through the kind acts of others....thank you for your endless support, encouragement, and prayers. A special thanks to the Tommy Gals :)



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

Hi Steph,

It is interesting about the glue... all of those cracks, you will always see them... it can never be the life it was before. But sometimes, just for the moments you need them to be, the gluing makes it a stronger unit, for all it has been through.

That is little comfort, I know. But it is a truth, for you to embrace and rage against, depending on what you need in that time.

What to say to you... How can I not fumble for words, no matter how much I work at it... when I see you in October, I know I will practice what to say...and I know I will once again struggle and stumble through them.

You are in our prayers, on a daily basis... when I read your updates, it helps me to focus my prayers. I will pray for your glue Steph... that it holds strong...I will pray for more good days than hard, more sweet moments than bitter. And that B continues to give you a sign.

9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steph - I hadn't seen an update in a while, so I thought I'd check tonight to see how you guys are doing. Oh, how I wish there was something that I or someone else could do to take away your loss and sadness. I continue to keep you and Rich in my thoughts and prayers.

On another note, we went to Medieval Times today and thought about you guys and Heart of Gold. We had a great time! The boys already want to go back again.

Hope you'll be able to make it on the 16th.

Bridget O'Meara

1:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steph, Every time I read a new post from you, it brings me to tears. I admire your strength and ability to be so open about what you are going through. I always write and re-write a response a million times thinking I will say something that makes a devastating, life-changing situation seem a little better but I know they are just words. I feel like I never have the "right" words to say when we talk but I will ALWAYS, always be here to listen whenever you need to talk, vent, scream!!! I think of you daily and hurt so bad for you and your family. Jodi

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Steph and Rich...
It has been too long since I have checked in on Braden's blog. Today, I needed and wanted to see your latest posts. I truly loved your new video celebrating the beautiful life of your little B. As I sit hear on my lunch break, with tears running down my face, I am so thankful Braden had you in his life. You and Rich have done so much and continue to do so much to make a difference for so many. Thank you....much love...know you are thought about a lot. Hope to run into you up in Munising soon. Love, Kim Gatiss Funnell

11:06 AM  

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