Baby Braden Petska

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

A Breath Away

Hello March,
You smell the same, you feel the same....I just don't like you for everything you have meant to me these last three years. Your vividness casts a memory I dislike and quite frankly dishonor. It brings me back to that moment in time when my little boy was ripped out of my life and I was left with the remains of a life turned upside down. Be kind to my family and friends as they too approach a year of loss for their loved ones.

Looking back, I know the only thing that truly saved me was Owen. I recall sitting in a vegetative state for the remainder of my pregnancy, numb to the life I was living, wanting to forget I was without the one I lived for each and everyday. When I say that Owen was the only one who saved me, I am dishonest because without God's blessing, I'm not sure where we would be today.

To Where You Are - Josh Groban:
As my heart holds you
Just one beat away
I cherish all you gave me
Everyday

'Cause you are my forever love
Watching me from up above
And I believe that angels breathe
And that love will live on and never leave

Fly me up to where you are
Beyond the distant star
I wish upon tonight
To see you smile

If only for awhile
To know you're there
A breath away's not far
To where you are

----------------------

It has been awhile since I have written, and I often look back to where I was a year ago, two years ago, etc and I realize WOW...I have come along way. The healing is a continuous process, but it's a forward process. Back in the early months of grief, I would hear people discuss how "it gets better", the pain becomes duller as time passes, blah, blah blah. I say "blah, blah, blah" because I didn't think it was possible to continue living and loving when you lose a child. I thought it would mean that I would forget him, the pain, the value of life lived and yet lost. I reluctantly embraced life again, afraid that others would forget or they would see me and think I'm all better and "fine." Through counseling, I discovered to let myself "be" and experience everything (joy, laughter, pain, tears, heartache, disappointment) with no guilt. I learned to relish in the joyful days because the brutally painful days would soon follow. The most difficult part of the process was and still is learning how to balance the joy and pain. There's a quote I received from my counselor and it's this:
"Your grieving is among the most sacred and the most human things you will ever do. It will unfold to you the mystery of life...
and death...and rebirth. Honor it."

What I've really been realizing lately that's so hard to put into words is the fact that with Braden's death, I lost a large part of who I was and a "new" me has been created. I'm different, and I know I'm different. Steven Furtick (Sun Stand Still) said it best when he said, "Having audacious faith doesn't mean you will live a crisis free life. Having audacious faith, however, does allow us to see God's glory in the midst of every crisis." I want to take you back to 16+ months ago. I was sinking lower and lower into something I was trying so hard to fight...depression. I remember thinking, wow, it's been a year and a half, and I've done all that I can to stay afloat....it's a task each day to put one foot in front of the other....depression was slowly winning. It was October, and I was invited to my Mary Kay consultant's house for a facial with a friend and I decided to take her up on her offer, to help her out with her goal. That night changed my life. She mentioned that MK was a business that put God first. At that moment, I thought, "I miss God, trusting Him, believing in Him, and maybe, just maybe this is my chance to open that door again." You see, I had turned bitter to the words prayer and having faith that everything will work out b/c my prayers weren't answered on that late March evening. I was full of questions and getting no answers....I had lost my trust in Him. I will leave out the details of my MK journey and fast forward you to today. I don't even recognize this person who is full of life, laughter, confidence, and on a mission to inspire others, to teach others, and to lead others. I am finally believing that I am here for a much bigger purpose. Although my heart still hurts from the physical absence of Braden, I know that he is with me. I have seen and felt his presence many times on my journey. I have named my future unit the "Bold Believers" because of Braden. He is the B in both bold and belief. You see, "All decisions lead you somewhere, but BOLD decisions take you where you're supposed to be." And if I don't believe in myself and God, who is with me and leading me, then I have nothing. I am celebrating the fact that I just earned my first car and am inches away from directorship in my MK business, but it's so much more....it's about the journey...it's about who I am becoming..as a person, a christian, mother, wife, sister, friend, and daughter.

Owen is incredible! He is the funniest kid who is a spitting image of his dad. He refers to us as mom and dad now...we are no longer mama and daddy :( We pulled into Culvers the other night and he says, "I'm a McDonalds guy." Another time, we went through the McDonalds drive through so I could get a coffee. As we pulled away, he said, "Hey, where's my fwench fwies and chicken nunucks?" I think he's trying to tell us something. He is a dancing maniac who loves to pretend he is singing and is now memorizing television commercials. Grandma Lois get a little embarrassed when he starts signing, "I'm sexy and I know it" when they are at open gym. He is fascinated with monster trucks and doesn't miss a thing. His facial expressions are priceless and he sports the pouty lip pretty well. He's very in tune with what's going on with us and shows his sensitivity and compassion if there's something wrong with Rich or myself. The one thing that really stands out to me is when my pastor made a prophesy after baptizing Owen (he has never done this before). His prophesy (I may have mentioned this in a past blog) is that Owen will be in tune to others and show great care and concern for them b/c of what he felt in the womb the moment Braden left us. I'm not sure how much he understands of the presence of Braden in our lives. We bring him up when looking at pictures or showing him things that are/were Braden's. In time I guess. Owen has hit some milestones since my last post. He is now "older" than B, so we are experiencing new things as parents with him. We also registered him for pre-school which was very bitter sweet. He loved going to the open house. Every time I would tell someone on the phone that we registered him for pre-school, he would flash his big, cheesy grin. I think he is excited!!! He is most certainly the center of our joy and sunshine everyday and we look forward to embracing new parenting adventures with him.

We are approaching the time for scholarship application deadlines, and we look forward to awarding six more deserving high school seniors who are pursuing a career path in medicine. We just delivered our 60th gift bag since December, which brings us up to 425 total that we've delivered so far. I guess there has been a big influx of new heart kiddos lately. I'm glad we can assist them, but there's not a good feeling with the word, "increase." We continue to receive generous donations from others. The latest has come from the staff I work with in my school district. With February being heart month, they collected over $800.00 AMAZING!!!! We've also had younger kiddos raise money through lemonade stands, making friendship bracelets, and selling used toys to assist us. The gift of giving is a powerful thing, and it warms my heart to see so many people supporting our cause and continuing to keep B's spirit alive.

In closing, I want to thank you for continuing to support us here. This journey is never-ending, always learning something along the way. The sunshine is brighter and so is the flicker of hope. A brighter flame allows us to see our path before us much more clearly. Thank you for breathing that belief in us, allowing our flame to never be extinguished along the way.

Love and blessings,
Stephanie

Owen

65 Comments:

Blogger Another Bold Believer said...

Steph---you are a true example of what/who a true Bold Believer is!!!!

9:21 PM  
Blogger Jodi Ivanchenko said...

You are one strong momma! I'm so glad you are able to see hope and a brighter path! Look forward to seeing you
on the 21st!! Jodi

9:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your strength never seizes to amaze me! I am so lucky to be on the Bold Believer journey with you! I have so much to learn from you and look forward to every day I am in the presence of you and your belief! Love you!

Lindsay Joy

9:58 PM  
Blogger Kari said...

There you are my friend! I have been thinking of you several times a day this month.. today especially...
Yes, you are different forever. In sad, wonderful ways that are not better, and are not worse than before you lost B.... only different.
B is honored every day that you walk your path.
You are in my thoughts and prayers this week, as you walk through yet another mile marker on your journey..
I know I have said this before, how Jeremy often refers to his older brother, who he never met, as "older yet younger, somehow..." I believe so much in what your pastor said about Owen. Owen will grow to honor B just as you do...by caring for others and keeping him with you through your love and commitment to others.
You have our love..Braden is remembered here...
Kari

10:40 PM  
Blogger Pat said...

Once again I am in AWE of your strength and insight. Thank you for being you and helping others see their paths . . . Hugs

8:44 AM  
Blogger ESolgos said...

Steph, my heart aches for you as you endure this month of March. Thank you for sharing your laughter and tears with us through another beautiful post. I love that Owen called himself a McDonald's guy. What a cutie and no doubt that he is uniquely gifted by God to be a perfect fit into your family. Praying for you this month and always.

12:04 PM  
Blogger JeanneC said...

Stephanie, I feel so honored to have spent that time meeting you and getting to "know" you during that plane ride back from Leadership. Braden's spirit is STRONG in you and I am certain in Owen, as well.
I finished last month with $5900 in car production and am working on my "purpose" and making it crystal clear all the while, WORKING! I had heard so many people talk of Furtick's book during Leadership that I purchased it and have just started reading it. It does resonate with me.
You are truly an inspiration and I am excited to be blessed to be in your presence again soon. I mean it when I say, "your SPIRIT is STRONG!!!"

3:19 PM  
Blogger Stefanie said...

I can't tell you how much your growth means to me. You are truly an inspiration that I can live, laugh, and hope again. Thank you for always being there for me showing me there is light in this world of darkness.

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Dana Boyle said...

Visiting today, thinking of B. <3 You are an amazing woman, Steph.

9:22 PM  
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