Our Little Warrior Owen

This blog is dedicated to our little sunshine angel Owen. We named him Owen because it means little warrior and we knew he would have to be with two older brothers. He was our little sunshine and his heart stopped beating unexpectedly on his 5 month birthday. We are devastated by the loss of our little guy. Hopefully, this blog will give readers a sense of what a beautiful spirit he was, how he completed our family and will help to keep his memory alive. We hope this gives light into our grieving process and can help other families that suffer a similar tragic loss.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas Eve

Dear Owen,

Merry 4th Christmas.  I can't believe you are celebrating your fourth Christmas in the presence of the Lord.  What a beautiful and magical place to be.  

In church tonight we had a guest celebrant from another church.  He was young, only 31, and spoke from the heart.  He was so down to earth.  He said he knows church is boring but we have to keep coming, not for ourselves but for our God.  To thank him for all he has given us.  He then went on to discuss how we don't know why God does things, blesses us with people or takes loved ones away from us.  His ultimate point was that God loves us all and blesses us with so much and we should be thankful.

Oh Owen, I am so thankful for the time we spent with you.  If only I had known it was going to end. There is so much I have to share with you.  Tonight even though our priest's sermon was moving and full of hope and love, I was brought to tears many times tonight because my heart misses you.

The songs during Christmas mass always do it too me.  Silent night....I think of the first night I came home after loosing you, it was so quiet.  Though you were pretty much sleeping through the night, I wasn't woken with a happy giggle reminding me to feed you.  So many songs just made me wish you were here with me.  

Owen you are still and will always be a part of our family.  We all, including Reilly, miss you each and every day.  How I wish you were here tonight setting up the Santa trap with the boys and laying out the Christmas cookies for Santa.

Owen you are in the arms of Jesus and I can't wait to be with you one day.

We all love and miss you.  

Your one and only Mom

Monday, October 12, 2015

The power of numbers and dates

Dear Owen,

Today you have been gone 3 years and 3 months and you would be 3 if you were here.  It hit me like a can of worms as I listened to Zac Brown's Bittersweet tonight.  It's bittersweet you see.  I am here enjoying my life on earth with your three siblings but you're not here with me.  I feel like Reilly is so close to Liam and adores him since he's her closest sibling in age here living with him.  I look at her and see you and dream of what it would be like for the two of you two play together, 15 months apart in age.  I see you in her. 

Tonight out of no where she asked me to sing Owens song at bedtime.  She must have known you were on my mind all day today.  Then when I put her down she asked to kiss your picture an extra time.  

I know your spirit lives on in all of us.  I miss you every second.  What would our life be like if you were still here with us? 

Three boys they would say.  Three boys I would smile.

Your one and only Mom

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

An open letter to the loved ones of a grieving mother

Dear Owen,

As we approach your 3rd angelversary I came across this article on an open letter to the loved ones of a grieving mother.  I read a lot of articles on still standings website because almost 3 years ago, I'm still standing.  I thought this was appropriate because at times I feel like people think 3 years later we should be "healed".  Unfortunately our heart break over loosing our son too soon will never be healed.  It will just slowly, oh so slowly, start to hurt less.  

Last night as we were played at the pool Reilly was roaring with laughter and I found myself smiling and truly happy.  I haven't felt that way in so long.  Then it hit me like a brick.  I saw her look at a young boy, probably about your age, and she looked at him with such awe.  You are gone.  Reilly's closest sibling is not here.  You are not here and we miss you so much.  Approaching the 12th of his month gives me so might anxiety but I'm trying to look at it like another newly grieving mom is looking at the death of her son.  You were just too perfect for this earth.  God wanted to protect you so you never saw the hurt that goes on in this world.  

So here's the post so all our loved ones know, as much as I want to go back to the old Carla, I will never be that same person.  But please accept me, accept us for who we are now.

Your one and only Mom

An Open Letter to the Loved Ones of a Grieving Mother

Franchesca Cox

Dear Loved One,

I know you mean well. I believe you. I 100% believe you have the best intentions for her. She isn’t the same person and that probably scares you. You think of her before her (and your) loss, and you might wonder why things aren’t going back to the way they were.

You try and fix her broken heart by telling her things that you would think would make it all better, or in the past make her smile.

Somehow your words of comfort aren’t doing the trick. She might even be pushing you away. I beg you – don’t take it personal.

She hardly knows what to do with her own bazillion emotions, much less yours. So she isn’t trying to hurt you, but she also might not have the best ways of expressing just how much she still needs you.

You miss her laughter.

You miss her jokes and conversation about trivial things.

You want to remember her child with her, but somehow – to you – it might seem like she’s taking it a little far.

I’m here to ask you to leave her alone. No, don’t walk out on her. That’s not what I am talking about. Quite the opposite.

Let her go a little crazy. (She’s not crazy, by the way.) She is grieving the death of her child. She is the only person in the entire history of the universe that feels the full impact of this loss.

Study the things that become suddenly important to her.

Online blogs, forums, support groups, angels, wings, feathers, butterflies, certain jewelry pieces, songs, colors, places. Don’t stop obsessing over why you fell in love with her in the first place.

She’s still in there. I promise.

She is doing her absolute best to mend her own heart but no one handed her the manual on how this was going to happen when the casket was lowered.

She’s winging it, just like you are. And you love her, so trust me when I say I’m on your side too.

She sheds a thousand tears a day, and you might be lucky to spot a few. She knows you’re quite tired of her sadness. She knows that you care, but she is also tired of seeing you exasperated when you realize you can’t fix her.

She hasn’t stopped crying. She just cries more when you’re not around.

So instead of trying to fix her sadness the next time, just listen. Nothing you can say or do or buy can make her pain any less painful.

She isn’t crying so that you will fix her, she’s crying because she can’t help it. It actually has nothing to do with you.

You might notice her go from sad to depressed to completely angry and back to sad in a day. I know it’s scary to watch someone we love become someone we hardly recognize anymore, but the things she need more than anything is your unconditional and demonstrative love and support. She needs to know she is safe, no matter where she lands.

And we aren’t forgetting about your pain too, because while she is breaking into a million pieces, you too, are bearing the pain and weight of this loss, and to top that off maybe even a little misplaced, self-induced guilt for not being able to make her feel better.

Admitting just how devastating this all has been for you too, can be a constructive way to reunite after loss. Consider opening up to her.

Above all else, support her. In her anger, in her sadness, in her depression, in her lonely spells, in her confusion, in her wandering, in her distance and in her closeness. There are few things that hinder healing more than judgment from loved ones.

She will make it through this to the other side.

She won’t always be bombarded by the most intense pain that new grief delivers on a regular basis, but she will never be quite the same.

And she needs you to be okay with that.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

And like that she was two

Dear Owen,

I cant believe your baby sister is 2. She sang you happy birthday at bedtime tonight.

You are so so missed.

Your one and only mom

Monday, April 20, 2015

Every life is so precious

Dear Owen,

I just spent the last weekend out in California with your tante Michelle you knew so well.  It was supposed to be her baby shower but your little cousin decided to enter the world 7 weeks early so I caught to meet her! Baby F is doing so well considering.  She's breathing on her own and just has to master feeding but then she will be going home.  She's been in the nicu for over 3 weeks now.  

Over the four days I was there, there were some babies in the nicu that never received visitors.  It was so heart breaking.  I kept thinking that all I want is for you to be here with us and here are babies alive, fighting for their lives and their parents are no where around.  I just wanted to scoop them up and cuddle them and tell them they are so very loved.

Babies that young are so very helpless and are just trying to figure out this world and need and want to be loved.  It was so sad to see them all alone fighting for their lives.  Why do people who don't want their children still have them?

Owen you were so very strong and healthy and big and so very very loved.  I guess you never know what life will give you.

I pray tonight for the health and strength of my little niece and for all the babies in the nicu.  For all babies everywhere that they are loved and protected.  I wish more than anything parents would appreciate all children, especially those little babies fighting for every breath and feed.  I hope and pray these babies are loved and protected.  They didn't choose this world and it is our job to love and protect them.  I wish more than anything I could give every one of those babies the warm loving arms of all my angel mom friends who I know would give anything to hold their Angels again.

Owen watch over your baby cousin and I ask God to protect her and give her strength and know she is so very loved.  She's one lucky lady to have an angel like you as a big cousin.

Love you more than ever and miss your sweet sweet smile.

Your one and only Mom

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Happy 3rd Birthday Owen!

Dear Owen,

Yes, yes, I know.  It is not OFFICIALLY your birthday but we are a few hours from the clock striking midnight and I wanted to be the first one to wish you a happy 3rd birthday.

I sit here "trying" to work and can't take my mind off of you.  We are trying to plan our "Owen Day" but it is proving more difficult this year since your sister and I came down with the flu.  We are still going to try and stick to our original plan but since we are both pretty sick, not sure how it will turn out.

You should be here.  You should be getting ready for preschool.  We should be signing you up for your first year in YMS soccer.  You should be potty trained.  You should be talking up a storm and getting into trouble with your little sister and big brothers.

On this earth, I will never understand why you left us all too soon but I hope when I am reunited with you and God, I will know "his plan".  You are enrolled in a study to learn more on SIDS and maybe that will one day point to why, what happened, why you stopped breathing.

I think I am finding this birthday to be harder than the 2nd.  Maybe it is because I see your sister growing up and realize you are not.  Maybe it is because the 3rd year has some big milestones.  Maybe it is because it is further out and more and more people have forgotten and we don't have their support.  Who knows.  It's just hard.  I hear that in grief it will ebb and flow.  Well, this is one of those times I feel the pain so much.

Though, I still feel your light and your joy.  You live on.  You live on in each of us.  You have taught me to be a better mother.  I am SO much more patient with your sister than I ever was with you and your brothers.  I am SO much more loving with your siblings than I was before.  Before you died, I was always so concerned with how I would get everything done.  Now I just sit, relax and enjoy each and every breathe we take together.

You have taught Liam and Connor to be compassionate and loving brothers.  They are so gentle and protective with Reilly.  They speak of you often and are proud of you.  They love you more than you will ever know.

Owen, I would give anything to have you here tomorrow.  To have you blow out your candles.  Reilly has been building fake cakes with her legos and singing Happy Birthday to you.  Your memory lives on in all of us in our hearts and in our souls.  You are always with us.  We will celebrate as a family tomorrow your beautiful birth.

Happy Birthday my sweet bear.  You made us a party of five and you will always be our 5th family member.

Your one and only Mom

Party of 5!
Never seen a cuter cuddler!

Your Dad holding you for the first time

Monday, January 12, 2015

2 and a half years

Dear Owen,

Where has the time gone? It's been 2.5 years to the day since I saw your beautiful smile.  It feels like forever.  I now view my life as before you died and after you died.  Your sister is a spitting image of you, except with hazel eyes and a firecracker personality.  

We should be prepping for your big three year old birthday party.  Instead, we are trying to plan how we will celebrate your third birthday without you.  

There are some days where I manage to smile most of the day.  You have taught me to appreciate life, even the littlest of things.  I now sit and play with your siblings without thinking of all the things I should get up and do.  Though those times are often met with smiles, I often spark a tear in my eye wondering what it would be like with you here and having four children to play with.  Would you and Reilly be best beds since you are closest in age or would you and your big brothers play Legos and hockey endlessly? Would you be sensitive like Connor or a jokester like Liam? Would you give away your treats to your siblings like Liam or would you hide them for yourself like Connor?

What I would give to know you and how you would be at 35 months old. 35 is a number I now hate.  You died when I was 35 years old.  35 was the worst year of my life. 35.  You should be 35 months old.  Not forever 5 months.

Owen my heart broke the other night when your brothers came back from good grief with their wish boxes.  I stayed home with Reilly because I was sick.  They both showed me the beautiful boxes they created. They both had two simple wishes. 1 - you would come back to life and 2 - they could get a puppy.

I wish I could make their dreams come true.  I wish my dreams would come true.  For now I'll just have to settle on you living in my dreams. I haven't seen you in my dreams in so long.  Probably because I barely sleep and don't dream.  My heart is broken.  

I love you more than ever.  The snow falls and reminds me of your birth month.  I wait for it to arrive with a pain that is oh so familiar.

I love you my sweet bear.  Grief has no path, no boundaries and no end.  Just an acceptance and a learning curve.

Your one and only mom

The plaque at your tree at our church.  This was our memory of you on Christmas Eve mass.

Your siblings and your cousins over Christmas break.  You should be in this picture.  6 Gerster cousins.  Why why why God?

We love you with all our hearts Owen.  You are my soul.