Baby Braden Petska

Saturday, February 12, 2011

"March"ing along....

I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you...

Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good

These are words from the song "For Good" from Wicked. I can't help but tear up when listening to it. I'm forever changed for knowing, loving, and losing B. Am I better? Worse? Not sure, but I know I'm different. For now, it feels like a good different, but there are moments when I break, crack, and crumble to where I beg for that old life back. I guess I'm learning to live this new life to the best I can, but there are days, many days when all I want is my son back....sigh.

I wrote the above days ago intending to finish the post but just didn't have the time and energy to sit and unravel what's been on my heart. Now I sit here, trying desperately to allow my fingers to type away these emotions that have seemed to consume try and unravel what I've wound so tightly. All I can think about is that March 1st is's right around the corner. The weather still feels a bit like January, but I know it's coming....the spring-like weather that will bring back that heaviness and everything that's tied to March 17th and the moment that forever changed us.

Today was a day I can say we moved one step forward in our healing. We were invited to a group bowling activity. At first I told Rich I didn't want to go as I seem to avoid activities where I know there will be kids B's age. The more we discussed it, the more we felt the need to venture out and allow Owen this fun new experience and the chance to be with other kids. He had so much fun. As I sat there and watched Rich help Owen throw the ball down the lane, I couldn't help but swallow that big lump in my throat. This was a moment I felt the smiles piercing the pain, allowing only happy tears.....of joy for Owen and a testament to how Rich and I are living our lives......for Owen...with Braden always near us.

I write this blog with tears, with choking sobs as the sadness is here tonight....the fear of losing Owen is starting to become present...traces of B are everywhere and even more so in Owen. I watch Owen as he plays, as he talks, as he learns and he is so different yet so similar to Braden. I watch as Owen loves trucks, tractors, and cars. I sometimes look and imagine how him and Braden would play together. That is the box I cannot open up as it will consume me. It saddens me beyond words when I think of what Owen is missing out on each and everyday. - sigh-

Owen has changed so much since my last post (Thanksgiving). Everyday he has new words, learning letters, shapes, colors, and absolutely loving to dance. He dances with his arms, so he looks like he's surfing. He even head jives in the car if he's digging the music. He loves Dora, Diego, and adores Mickey Mouse. When he wants to watch Dora, he says, "D-D-D-D- Oh Man" (imitating Swiper). He loves everything involving monster trucks. He will play with his cars and trucks on the couch, lining them up, running them over with his monster trucks. I can't believe he's approaching doesn't seem possible.

Since I haven't updated since Thanksgiving, I feel like there's so much to share, especially involving the charity. Since Christmas seemed to be such a difficult time to get through, it was a very nice surprise to get a few generous donations from friends and the companies they work with - thank you Ralph TenBruin and David Smith. We have also received generous donations from people we've never met. We are truly touched and amazed at the generosity of others. Since February is heart month, we've had some amazing things happen with the charity. First of all, my Mary Kay director has been so touched by Braden's story that she is donating the money she is making this month at her Mary Kay parties to the charity...thank you Kiersten. I also decided to sell some Mary Kay bath and perfume products at school along with our teddy bears and Heart of Gold t-shirts. My staff was amazing and purchased enough to raise over $700.00 for the charity. Rich brought some bears into his work just before Christmas and raised a few hundred dollars as well....amazing! We also received a very generous donation from Mended Little Hearts that was appreciated beyond words. On President's Day, I received a phone call from our friends the Tomomitsu's who were in the Twin Lakes Area promoting Jump Rope for Hearts. They were speaking at the local schools (one in which I used to teach at). They spoke about B and honored him on this special day. Tammy also let me know that they payed a special visit to B at his site. The one story that is really quite touching comes from a young man named Dylan. Dylan has been working on his black belt since the age of four and he is now nine. As a part of receiving his black belt, Dylan needed to do a service project. Dylan and his family were inspired to somehow be able to give to Children's Hospital of WI after taking part in the Brigg's & Al Walk/Run last October. A mutual connection lead Dylan to our charity. Dylan felt this was a way he could help and assist the children and families at CHW. Dylan held a special party just before Valentine's Day at his home. He called it, "Have a Heart." They asked for everyone to wear red and to bring items that would/could go into the gift bags we give to new heart families at CHW. Today we were able to meet Dylan and his mom & dad. They delivered eight bags of goods (toiletries and snacks), $800.00 in donations, and $100 in gift cards to Applebee's. We were touched and honored to not only receive this but to meet Dylan and his family. His parents should be so proud of him. He is learning at a young age what the gift of giving is all about. Not only does this swell our hearts with pride to know that B is still touching lives, but look at how many lives Dylan and everyone who has generously given to Heart of Gold will forever touch by their generosity. Thank you, thank you!

Thank you God for sending amazing people into our lives.....You are providing Your healing touch in so many ways...AMEN!


Below are recent photos of Owen. The first one is our photo op with Dylan this morning - Owen is holding onto the Braden Bear we gave Dylan. I ended the photo display with a pic of B. He's just waking up and it looks like he's about to dance or give us a big him to pieces...


Blogger Pat said...

I read your blog with tears in my eyes and a combination of sadness and joy in my heart. The sadness is, of course, for you and your family. The joy is for having the wonderful opportunity to know Braden and you all. You are continually in my thoughts and prayers. Hugs . . .

3:43 PM  
Blogger Jer, Kari, Alayna-Maria said...

I was so glad to catch up with how you are, and how you are moving through this new normal... I read your heartache with tears and celebrated with you on your new joys.

Much love to you sweet Steph. Keep us updated.

4:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although we have never met, your family is often on my mind. Today, being March 17, you are on my heart.

Our daughter, Allison, was born with HLHS. March 6, 2009, was the last day we held her in our arms. The saddest time of our lives was that night, walking through the skywalk and out to the parking structure. Soon after Alli left us, your sweet Braden joined our daughter in heaven.

Please know I am thinking of your family, especially today.
Beth Anne

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too have been reading your blog with tears, I will think of you often and keep you and your family in my prayers. Our son was born May 29, 1992 with HLHS. He is a senior in high school.

11:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steph - I've been thinking of you and Rich so often the past few months. Thanks for your update. As always, I am sending you my prayers for strength and happiness. Stay strong, my friend!

Bridget O'Meara

10:47 PM  

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