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.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry christmas sweet bear

Dear Owen,

The only way I got through today was imagining you having the merriest of Christmas because you are celebrating Jesus' birthday with him.

Today was so tough. I miss you so much. I miss what should have been...

You getting woken up by Liam saying "Owen, wake up, Santa came" just like he did to Connor.

You crawling around all the presents.

You napping on my shoulder.

You in your cute Xmas pjs.

You trying to mimic your brothers opening presents.

You in your high chair at Xmas dinner.

You sleeping soundly in your crib after an adventurous day filled with joy.

Now I just look at my favorite pictures of you and weep.

Merry first Xmas in heaven Owen.

Thanks all for the support this holiday.

Love you more than ever and my heart breaks yet again. Kisses and hugs in heaven.

Your one and only mom

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

5 months is too short

Dear Owen,

Happy 10 month birthday in Heaven.  I so wish you were here to celebrate this milestone.  I am sure you would have been crawling up a storm and maybe even beginning to walk like your big brother Connor did at this age.  We hadn't started you on solid foods yet but I am sure you would be eating anything and everything in site!  I am happy to report that the world officially hasn't ended here on earth as of now on 12/12/12 but honestly, we feel that part of our world ended 5 months ago when God called you to Heaven. 

I can't believe it's been 5 months since you passed.  5 months is how long you lived outside of the womb here on earth and now you have been in Heaven that long.  This is a day we have dreaded for so long.  Every day forward means you have been in Heaven longer than you were physically in our arms. 

A good friend reminded me yet again that you have blessed us here in PA with another sunny day on the 12th of the month.  It seems every 12th day of the month we have a sunny day to remind me of my little sunshine, you.  I know you are doing all you can to show us that you are ok in Heaven and the sun is always shining.  Wednesday morning, tell myself a new day is a rising. 

This was the sunrise in Yardley today, making your presence known. The sun still shines.

Last night I went to visit your grave site after work before I picked up your brothers.  I distinctly remember 5 months ago putting you in your last bath as you giggled away.  I remember rocking you for the last time, singing to you.  I remember praying to God that you had put yourself to sleep since we were starting to sleep train.  Last night was SO hard for me.  How I wish I could go back and do it all again and never put you down.  I know we have been told that when SIDS happens there is NO stopping it but somehow I feel like it would have been better if you stopped breathing while you were still in my arms.  There have been cases of babies dying of SIDS while being rocked by their parents, I know personally of a case where a baby died of no known his mother's arms.  I am grateful that they were able to get your heart started just long enough for us to hold your beating heart and warm flesh and blood in our arms as we said our dreaded goodbyes.  I know your dad was so thankful that he was able to hold you as God took your soul into his arms in Heaven.  I was able to hold you as you entered this world and I will hold you again one day.  I guess it's not soon enough.

The little Christmas tree at your grave last night. The lights shine at night for you, our little sunshine.
Thanks to all the friends and family that have supported us.  This major milestone has come and we are still here holding on.  This was never goodbye Owen.  It is just see you later in a better place, where you will never experience hate, harm, or any of the things we have experienced in our lifetime.

Below I share something that a family member shared with us this week.  I had read it before but now, on this milestone of a day, I am reminded of how true it rings.  I know some people probably think now that this milestone is here and once your birthday and angelversary pass, I will be MUCH better.  I am not the person I used to be and I never will be again.  Though I wake up every day angry that God took you from me too soon, with no rhyme or reason, I pray that one day I will become a better person because of this experience. Owen, everything about you and my experience of loosing you has shaped who I am.  I know I am so sad now but I know some day I will become someone you will be SO proud to call your one and only mother.  I just ask that you help guide me to that place.  Believe me, you will be with me every step of the way until I hold you again.

Don't Tell Me
Please don't tell me you know how I feel,
Unless you have lost your child too,
Please don't tell me my broken heart will heal,
Because that is just not true,
Please don't tell me my son is in a better place,
Though it is true, I want him here with me,
Don't tell me someday I'll hear his voice, see his face,
Beyond today I cannot see,
Don’t tell me it is time to move on,
Because I cannot,
Don’t tell me to face the fact he is gone,
Because denial is something I can't stop,
Don't tell me to be thankful for the time I had,
Because I wanted more,
Don't tell me when I am my old self you will be glad,
I'll never be as I was before,
What you can tell me is you will be here for me,
That you will listen when I talk of my child,
You can share with me my precious memories,
You can even cry with me for a while,
And please don't hesitate to say his name,
Because it is something I long to hear everyday,
Friend please realize that I can never be the same,
But if you stand by me, you may like the new person I become someday.

I love you now more than ever.  You are with me and please don't ever forget that.  I hope to one day be able to look at all your videos and pictures and smile instead of cry but until that day comes, know that my tears come out of a place of love for you.  Please don't be sad because I am so very sad.

5 months is just TOO short to spend with the one you love.

Your one and only Mom

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Explaining our grief

Dear Owen,

You were teething for sure!  You loved to chew on not 1 but 3 fingers!  I LOVE YOUR PUDGY ARMS!  I LOVE YOU!

I wish I was in Heaven with you sometimes.  I sometimes think if I was in Heaven, I would have answers.  I would have answers as to WHY SIDS HAPPENS and WHY GOD TOOK YOU FROM US TOO SOON. 
I know I am entering into a new stage of grief as the shock of your death wears off and the reality sets in.  You are gone.  I now know it and I accept it.  It doesn't mean I like it but I no longer pray every second of every day for you to come back.  I now pray for your life in Heaven.  I talk to you every day and I know you are with me in spirit.

I know some people think we should be MOVING on but that just doesn't happen.  We want to talk about you, we do talk about you.  I know people just want us to BE BETTER but honestly, that will never happen.  Below is something I pulled from another friend's website that helps explain the grief that your Dad and I are going through.  It helps explain why we feel what we feel.  As we await your autopsy results STILL, we are cognisant that there probably won't be an answer.  Hopefully this helps others explain how we feel. 

Your One and Only Mom

Parental Grief And A SIDS Death

The impact of a Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) death presents unique grieving factors and raises painful psychological issues for the parents and family as well as those who love, care for, and counsel them. SIDS parents must deal with a baby's death that is unexpected and unexplained, a death that cannot be predicted or prevented, an infant death so sudden that it leaves no time for preparation or goodbyes, and no period of anticipatory grief. In many cases, parents of SIDS babies are very young and are confronted with grief for the first time.

SIDS often occurs at home, forcing parents and siblings or other children to witness a terrible tragedy and possibly scenes of intense confusion. In some cases, the parents themselves are the ones who find the child dead and they must always live with that memory. In other cases, the parents may feel overwhelming guilt or anger if the death occurred while the child was in daycare. They may feel that the baby might not have died if they had been caring for it. "All too frequently, a SIDS loss is not socially validated in the same way other deaths are. Others often fail to recognize that, despite the brevity of the child's life, the family's attachment to that child is strong and deep and has been present in various ways since the knowledge of conception" (Rando 1986,167).
SIDS parents must take a journey that "involves a trek through grief-a strange and hostile territory that no one would ever pass through if given the choice" (Horchler and Morris 1994, 17). SIDS parents often retain strong feelings of guilt and sometimes a sense of responsibility for what happened even though they've been told there was nothing they could have done to prevent the death. Sometimes, parents are the victims of undeserved suspicion from law enforcement personnel, even family members, neighbors, or friends. In the most difficult situations, the baby's death may cause parents to be subjected to grueling investigations and hostile questions; they may even face accusations of child abuse.

Probably the most stressful and anxiety-provoking act in human existence is the separation of a woman from her newborn infant. The response to this, which humans share with most of the animal kingdom, is an overwhelming combination of panic, rage, and distress. - RUSKIN, IN HORCHLER AND MORRIS 1994,16

SIDS parents, relatives, daycare providers, health care professionals, and other adults feel helpless in trying to explain the unexplainable to other young children who may have been present at the time of the baby's death. It is especially difficult for children to understand why a baby died when it didn't appear to be sick. Also, in some cases parents are required to explain SIDS to adults who are misinformed or know nothing about the syndrome.
Any infant or early childhood death forces adults to think about their own vulnerability, but a SIDS death also brings with it total mystery, an absence of answers, and a frightening loss of control. The chaos surrounding a SIDS death leaves most parents feeling that nothing in life is predictable; a SIDS death throws everything off balance.

As is the case in most traumatic experiences, SIDS parents are likely to continually replay the events surrounding the death over and over in their minds and in their conversations. Whether the parents put a seemingly healthy baby down for a nap or for the night or took the child to the daycare provider, they assumed their child was well and in a protected environment. They felt secure; their family and their world were in order. Then suddenly, everything has been turned upside down. Even though there may be attempts to reassure the parents that the baby didn't appear to suffer, frequently they are not convinced. They repeatedly ask, "How can a perfectly healthy baby die?" Often these parents are told that SIDS doesn't carry a high hereditary risk; yet fears about having subsequent children haunt them.

[The grief SIDS parents feel is like a]...continuous, crashing waterfall of pain...SIDS is a forced separation that will last forever. In the beginning, survivors are so shocked that their bodies and minds cannot even begin to comprehend all that has been lost...Shock and disbelief overtake most survivors so they can only vaguely feel their own empty arms and the rage that will eventually come full force. ...SIDS parents attempt to transcend the awfulness of [the baby's] death by choosing to celebrate the dead infant's life while not denying the physical finality of the death...[After a SIDS death, parents attempt] to travel the long road of grief to a place of rest and hope...SIDS parents must [try to] actively seek peace and joy in life-even in the face of a grief that will never end... - HORCHLER AND MORRIS 1994, 2, 16, 17, 248

SIDS parents also are very often plagued by "if only's" that they are never able to resolve. They mentally replay such thoughts as: "If only I hadn't put the child down for a nap when I did." "If only I had checked on the baby sooner." "If only I had not returned to work so soon." "If only I had taken the baby to the doctor with that slight cold."

SIDS parents also need to know the value and importance of obtaining reliable information. They need to have access to professional support; and they need to be aware of the great benefits other parents have gained from attending support groups and sharing their experience or by expressing their thoughts and feelings in writing.
Moreover, bereaved SIDS parents often find that health care professionals are as perplexed as they are and cannot provide them with any explanation for the death. Although most health professionals know about SIDS, not all can provide parents with the information they so anxiously seek. They are unable to provide answers to questions such as: "Did my baby suffer?" "What are the possible causes of SIDS?" "What can I do to prevent another child from dying of SIDS?" "Are there symptoms I should have known about that could have prevented the death?"

In the case of some SIDS deaths, the autopsy findings may still leave unanswered questions, or the child's death may be attributed to causes that are problematic for the parents. Some families are subjected to agonizing doubts and delays from the legal system about the exact cause of death. The absence of standardized procedures for determining the cause of unexpected infant deaths brings added pain and frustration to parents already in the midst of a harrowing nightmare. Thus, SIDS parents are often denied the sense of closure that comes from knowing the exact cause of their baby's death.

A single SIDS death can have a ripple effect on as many as 100 people who came in contact with the baby or the family. "The expanded circle of concern" (Corr et al. 1991, 43) can include parents, extended family, neighbors, coworkers, child care providers, health care and emergency personnel, clergy, funeral directors, and other care providers.

SIDS parents and family members need to be around people who will offer them support in a nonjudgmental way; they need to know that some things in their lives are permanent and there are certain people on whom they can truly depend. Other family members, friends, or professionals can provide this sense of dependability and assurance by allowing parents both permission and ways to express their grief and talk about their confusion. SIDS parents need to talk and they need someone to listen-really listen-even if they tell their story, express their doubts and fears, and ask the same questions repeatedly. What SIDS and other bereaved parents are really saying is, "Let me tell you about my pain; let me talk about my child with you; please do call my child by name; please do not let my child be forgotten."

Friends and family members should try to do all they can to show their concern and help the parents in keeping alive memories of their baby. For most SIDS parents, it is also reassuring for others to try to mention special things they noticed about the baby and to remember the child's birthday or the anniversary of the death. By extending these personal and sensitive gestures, loving and concerned relatives, friends, and caregivers can become a source of reassurance and comfort for the grieving parents.

Some SIDS babies are so young when they die that family members and friends never had a chance to welcome them. They may have missed sharing the parents' excitement over the birth and affirming the child's existence. Many individuals do not understand the depth of parental attachment to a very young child. Bereaved SIDS parents should not be made to feel that others don't want to hear them, that others won't permit them to openly grieve. The parents of SIDS babies want their child's short life to matter not only to them, but to their families and friends, to the others in their "circle of concern," to the world.

The dynamics of a SIDS loss [mean]...there is no chance to say goodbye to the infant or to absorb the reality of the loss gradually over time; the unexpected loss so overwhelms people that it reduces their functioning and compromises their recovery...The physical and emotional shock of the infant's death undermines the [parents'] capacity for regaining a feeling of security; the SIDS loss evokes particularly problematic grief reactions, such as the abrupt severing of the mother and father infant bond. - RANDO 1986, 166

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

It finally happened

Dear Owen,

I guess it took till your oldest brother was 5 but he finally asked me the question tonight that I have been dreading. Your daddy is away on a business trip. After I put your brothers to bed, Connor, who normally falls straight to sleep came running out and asked when dad was coming back. I told him tomorrow and he started crying. He asked "how can you guarantee he will come back when Owen never came back?" I had no real answer. I just told him that you died because your heart stopped beating and we don't know why. Connor kept asking why you died :( I wish I knew an answer other than "I don't know why" and I wish I could help him understand that just because your dad is away on a trip doesn't mean he won't come back. It must be so confusing to him. He was so scared. I cried along with him and then Liam joined us too. I wish we knew why sudden unexplained infant death happens. Maybe one day. I just don't get why you stopped breathing on your back with nothing around you!!!

I miss you sweet bear! At least Liam came out after I finally settled them into bed again NAKED saying he didn't like his pjs and wanted new ones. I had to laugh. I miss your chubby legs and belly. I miss everything.

Ill see you in my dreams tonight.


Your one and only mom

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy thanksgiving and happy 5th birthday Connor

Dear Owen,

I'm sad. Last thanksgiving you were warm in my belly. I miss you. We are in Arkansas at your cousins house. It was also your brother Connors 5th birthday and your uncles. It was also your great grandfathers so hopefully you both are celebrating in heaven. I so wish you were here with us. We lit the candle we gave your aunt from you but that didn't make up for you not being here. I had to hide it as I cried many times. You are so deeply missed but I'm thankful for the 5 months I had with you. I'm thankful that Connor is 5 and for the 5 years I have had with him. I wish I had 5 years with you. I'd even take 5 more days.

I love you more than ever and I'm thankful for all that have helped me up since my sweet Owen went to heaven.

Love your one and only,

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Memorial mass for all children lost too soon

Dear Owen,

Just wanted to say thank you for praying for us. The mass at St. Ignatius tonight reminded us that you are a saint and you are now in God's hands and praying for us.

It also reminded us to cherish the time we had with you and know that we will meet you again one day when our journey here is done. We met some nice families tonight who lost children also. Everyone commented on how you were the cutest baby! Liam and Connor placed your photos near a burning yellow candle at the alter because yellow and suns remind them of you.

They recreated the scene here at home with the candles we received at mass, the rose we were handed and your photos. We all miss you and love you to the moon and back.


Your one and only Mom

4 Months My Sweet Bear

Dear Owen,

Sorry I haven't kept up with writing you lately.  It doesn't mean that you weren't on my mind and in my heart every moment of every day.  Life has been crazy this past month or so. 

It's been 4 months since you left this world.  I can't believe it.  1 more month and you will have been gone the same amount of time you were here with us.  Well, if you talk about since your birth.  I know you were with me for the 9 months prior to your birth.  I wish I could go back in time and still have you inside me so I could protect you.  I miss you like no other Owen, I will never be able to describe how empty my heart is without you here.  I know you are still with us in spirit though.  There are signs.

I hope you felt the love on Sunday, October 14th as we walked for the first time at the CJ Strides for Babies event in Jersey City.  It was extremely difficult for your father and I and other people to be there because it made your trip to heaven that much more real.  I think I was still in denial but when I looked up and saw your BEAUTIFUL smiling face on a poster with your name and dates on it, I lost it.  I didn't want to believe it.  How how how could such a beautiful, healthy boy like you just stop breathing?  I just don't get it.  I was honored that we could walk to help raise money for the CJ Foundation because they have been very helpful in helping us cope after losing you.  They have dealt with the medical examiner's office and following up on things.  They have connected us with other families that have lost angels too.


Though the weather looked grim on the ride up to Jersey City, it didn't rain and it actually turned out to be a really nice day.  I guess it helps when you have an angel in heaven looking down on you - thank you Owen :)  Connor loved writing your name on the back of everyone's t-shirts which showed who we were walking in honor of.  He was very proud.  Him and Liam were also excited to see your face on the poster.  I know they didn't understand why it was on there but they were just proud and said "Look, it's Owen, my brother, he is so cute!".  The Foundation made up pins with your picture on it as well and we all wore them with honor.  I now have mine attached to my sun visor in the car so every time I get in, I can look up and think of you.  You are my guardian angel.

So your dad and I had this weird revelation the other day.   I know you know about the name dilemma we had with you but not sure we have told many other people.  Before you were born, we could not decide on your name.  I really wanted Jude but your dad didn't want that because Jude is one of the apostles who is invoked in prayer when a situation seems hopeless.  After your dad saw the physical pain I went through with you and our natural birth together, he told me that I could name you Jude.  We decided to sleep on it the first night and when I was up feeding you throughout the night, I called you Jude.  When your dad woke up in the morning, he told me after much thought, he didn't think Jude fit you because you were NOT a hopeless cause.  You were a strong, big, healthy baby!  The funny thing was that we had run all of the names by Liam and Connor before you were born.  After we named you Owen and brought you home, Liam kept calling you Jude for weeks after you arrived home.   Owen, do you think he knew?  I always sensed and still do that Liam has a special bond with you.  He kisses your picture goodnight every night and hugs it close to his heart.  It is so adorable and makes me cry every night.  Maybe Liam knew your fate the whole time when the rest of us didn't?  We don't regret naming you Owen because you were an Owen, a little warrior who took your trip to heaven before any of us did.  I miss you my sweet bear.  Here is Liam talking to you when you arrived home from the hospital on Valentine's day, my little sweet valentine.  Your hair was amazing!!!

Yesterday on your 4 month anniversary, your father and I planted a little Xmas tree at your grave site.  I hope you like it.  We are worried that since your stone won't be ready until after winter, we won't be able to find your resting place if it snows a lot.  Your brothers are so excited to decorate it for Xmas next month. 

We also took a hike as a family this weekend and I thought about the hikes we took with you this summer as a family.  Your dad would always walk with your brothers while I carried you against my chest in the ergo carrier.  I so missed your warmth on Sunday.  Glad you were able to pull some strings in Heaven and give us warm weather on Sunday and yesterday though.  As we approached the end of our hike, I was getting warm and took off my sweater.  As I looked down onto my shirt, there against my chest sat a little ladybug.  A sign.  We had not seen any bugs along the hike and I haven't seen any outside for weeks since it got cold a few weeks ago.  Where did this lady bug appear from?  Did you send it?  I stopped Liam and asked him if he wanted to hold the ladybug.  He screamed with excitement.  I went to pick it up and as I transferred to to his hand, it was gone.  It simply vanished.  I thank you for giving me a sign that you are still with us. 

Tonight our church is holding a mass for all parents who have lost a child.  We will light a candle in your honor like we always do.  We look forward to connecting with other families that have shared similar losses. 

I cherish the 5 months we had with you here on earth and I wish wish wish I could have made them longer.  I can't believe we are approaching 12/12/12.  It seems like an eternity since I have held your sweet soul and kissed your pudgy cheeks.  I dream of the day I can hold you again.  I just hope as time passes, I can remember the good times we had because my mind is still clouded with our final moments together.  Just never ever forget how much I love you.  We all loved you.  You completed our family sweet Owen.


I will see you in my dreams tonight.

Your one and only Mom

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

If "Happy Ever After" did exist, I would still be holding you like this

Dear Owen,

The title of this letter is a pop song that is always on the radio now. I know it's a sappy love song but it perfectly captures how I feel. If happy ever after did exist, I would still be holding you like this. My arms are empty and they ache to hold you. I see people holding babies around 6 months of age and I have to turn away because I just want to scream! Why why why!

I just had to spend the past 5 days in Arkansas presenting and preparing for various Walmart meetings. Though I was able to stay with your tante Thea, uncle Eric and your cousins, it pained me to be that far from your resting place, your dad and your brothers. It is still so hard for me to be social and pretend that life goes on. I'm so envious of others who haven't experienced the profound loss of losing a child. I hate that I feel that way but it is the truth. I know you dying gave me the gift to appreciate every moment and every second with your loved ones but I just can't live that every day because I am still struggling in a very dark place. I am finding it hard to trust and have faith in God and to live life like I'm doing fine because I'm not. I still think about you 24/7 even if I'm busy with work or hanging out with people. I am trying to figure out how I can be mother here on earth to your brothers and a mother to you I'm heaven. Nothing is easy. I cried every night not being able to see all your pictures around me, cuddle with your Owen blanket, and kiss your brothers goodnight. Though I'm thankful I got to see your cousins.

It's amazing the physical bond I had with you...The bond that all mothers have with their babies. The weeks after you passed were the worst as I ached to hold you and my physical body ached not being able to provide you the nutrition I had been for 9 months in the womb and 5 months outside.

I will never forget the way you smelled, the way your soft skin felt against mine and the way it felt to have your head resting on my right shoulder.

The only thing that brings me comfort is knowing you are now being held in the arms of Jesus and all of our live ones that have gone on their journey to heaven. To Jesus and all of our loved ones, hold tight to my sweet Owen until I can hold him again.

I guess our happy ever after doesn't exist. What a rough road it's been. I hope you have your happy ever after in heaven Owen. That's all I am pray for.

I love you more than ever Owen.

Your one and only mom

Friday, October 12, 2012

St. Michael Warrior from Heaven

Dear Owen,

It's another day I dread more than others.  The 12th of the month.  It has been 3 months since I last held your chubby, cuddly body warm and alive and it has been 8 months since we welcomed you into this world and I held and kissed you for the first time.  I hate the number 12 now because I know it is a day that I am going to have more than one or two meltdowns.  It is a day I am going to have more like 12.  5 months was not enough time to give you all the love I wanted to give you.  I give you love everyday and I hope you feel it from heaven.

The other day, I learned that St. Michael is known as the Warrior from Heaven.  How appropriate since Owen means Little Warrior.  We named you Michael after my grandfather and your aunt Michelle.  Little did we know you would live out your name and be a true warrior both here on earth and in heaven.  St. Michael is the protector of people and I know you are now the protector of our family both in heaven and here on earth. 

Traditionally Michael (whose name means “one who is like God”) is known as a divine messenger, a protector of the faithful, the angel who guides our souls upon death.

Owen, you must have known how scared of death I once was because now that you have left us here on earth, I am no longer scared of death because I know you will guide my soul to heaven when my day comes. 

This sunday we are participating in our first SIDS event, the CJ Strides for Babies, in Jersey City, NJ.  We didn't invite too many people because I just don't know how I am going to react being at an event where they memorialize you.  I pray that God gives us the strength to honor your memory and share a laugh or two along the way because while you were here on earth you sure granted us many smiles and laughs. 

Tonight we will be visiting your grave and then celebrating your life as we always do on the 12th.  I guess it's not like any other day though because I miss you every hour of every day.

This morning Connor was playing legos while he waited for Liam to wake up so they could go to school.  I noticed he was singing "You Are My Sunshine" in his rocktone sort of way.  He had just moved the marker on our Halloween "Advent" calendar to 12.  I asked him what he was doing and he said "Singing Owen's song to him because it's his birthday today - 12".  Wow.  The other night when your dad was away your brothers and I spent time going through all of your pictures and remembering the good times.  Liam LOVED to remember the time that you, Connor and your Dad all got into the big tub and took a super bubble bath all together "just the boys" he said.  They miss you more than ever and so do your Dad and I.

I look forward to honoring your memory this weekend and meeting a few of the people that have helped me since July 12th. 

I love you and miss you.

Your one and only Mom

Monday, October 1, 2012

Changing seasons

Dear Owen,

We have had a beautiful fall here so far. The mums we planted at your gravesite have come in. I went to visit you at lunchtime on monday and it was nice to see all the flowers in bloom.

It sucks that you never got to experience fall. I was so looking forward to dressing you in the pumpkin costume we have though on your track you probably would have been to big for it!!! I know every first this year will be hard but the fall and winter especially with all the holidays.

This weekend we had the Dowells and McCranns visit which was very nice. I was comforted to know I could be myself around them and talk about you. Though it was hard because 1) they both have three kids 2) one is 4 month old and 3) one is named Owen. It was so nice to have old friends here though and the boys loved all the visitors. We went to a pumpkin patch and Liam picked out a pumpkin for you. Last night he painted it for you.

Somehow I have come down with pneumonia now. I feel awful and the physical pain is not what I needed since I already have all of this emotional pain. I am just thankful that the boys don't have it yet and I hope they don't. I guess it helps to have a guardian angel (you!) looking after them.

Missing you more and more each day.

Your one and only mom

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Thank you

Dear Owen,

I am sure you have seen the outpouring of love and support our friends and family have shown us.  It has been amazing.  I don't even know how to begin to thank them. 

I know no one expects it at a time like this but maybe because I am a true southern girl at heart I feel like I have to make sure everyone is thanked for ALL they have done for our family over the past few months.

Owen, I know these entries are normally written to you, I am going to take this time to address all of those who have showed tremendous strength, support and love during the most difficult time in our lives.

First, to our family and friends who supported us and drove all night to be by our sides and care for us and our boys when this tradgedy struck.  Thank you.

To those of you who answered our early morning calls on July 12th and though shocked and saddened yourselves, took on the task of informing other family and friends of the awful news and communicating details on Owen's memorial.  Thank you.

To those of you who helped with every aspect of Owen's memorial, we are so grateful.  We could barely function and each of you took on the daunting task of planning a memorial for a 5 month old.  This is a task I hope no one ever has to do again but each of you did it with strength, love and everything turned out better than we could have ever imagined.  Thank you.

To those of you who traveled near and far to gather in Yardley as we celebrated Owen's short but sweet life.  We were so blessed to see all of you there, gathered in shock and grief but filled with neverending love.  There is no way we could have gotten through that day without each of you there.  Thank you.

To those of you who were unable to travel but shared your grief, support and love in other ways.  Your endless calls, texts, emails, cards, gifts, donations, and meals have made it easier for us to get through each day and continue to move forward.  Honestly, without these constant reinforcements knowing how much we are loved and supported, we probably would not have survived.

To those of you who have continued to show your love and thoughts months after Owen passed, I am forever grateful.  As the days go on, moving forward has become even more difficult as the shock begins to wear off and I realize that my sweet sweet angel has left this earth.  You give me the strength I need to get out of bed every morning.

To those of you have supported our two living children, we are so thankful.  Connor and Liam have so many people out there that love them and care for them.  We know we can call on many of you any hour of the day to take care of Connor and Liam and you have allowed Jim and I to have the time we need to ourselves to process this immense grief.  Connor and Liam know they are loved and though they ache for Owen, they continue to move forward with smiles on their faces.  Thank you.

Finally, I am sure I have missed something so I just want to thank all of you that understand when Jim and I drop the ball on things and don't thank  you for the amazing things you  have done.  Know that you are ALWAYS appreciated and every gesture is so helpful and supportive.  Just knowing we are thought of and loved helps take away a little bit of the neverending pain we have in our hearts.  Thank you.

I know this journey will never be over but we are comforted in knowing that we are not on this journey alone.  Though it breaks my heart to think of Owen taking his journey to heaven alone, I know that he is now there and he is loved.  He sees the love we have here on earth through all of you, our friends and family, and knows that we are ok. 

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

Just have to look at pictures from your birth sometimes to make me smile.  I just loved your hair.  You were perfect.  You are perfect.


Owen, thanks for letting me share this with you as well as all our friends and family.  Thank you for gracing our lives, even though brief.  Thank you for being you.  You have changed our lives forever.

I miss you and love you. 

Your one and only Mom

Friday, September 21, 2012

Caring brothers & heaven

Dear Owen,

Did you ever notice what sweethearts your brothers are?  Liam may come off as the comical, athletic one but he has a sweet soul, just like you.  He misses you more than words can ever describe.  Connor may seem to only be into video games and boys stuff but when it comes down to it, he's a mamma's boy. 

Here is Connor admiring you on St. Paddy's Day
Here is Liam checking you out on Easter - He's wondering why he isn't in the middle :)
We all miss you. Last night as the sun was setting, we went outside to look at the beautiful colors in the sky. Connor thought you were in the pink cloud because it was so beautiful. Liam agreed. I just started balling because I missed you so much and realized that half of my heart was in that cloud too. As I held Liam and cried, Connor patted my back and told me we would be ok. I have to believe we will be but at times I don't believe it because I can't imagine continuing to wake up every day without you here.
After the sunset and I put the boys to bed and turned off the lights, Liam started to cry.  I asked him why he was crying and he said "Owen is in the clouds right?".  I said "Yes, Owen is up in heaven".  He said "I am so scared for him because the clouds are dark now, there is no sun out now".  I told him "Don't worry Liam, it is always light in heaven so Owen will never be in the dark" as I cried myself.  I couldn't keep my composure and was astonished how your 2.5 year old brother was worried about you being in the dark at night.

You were my light Owen.  Your smile was so contagious and any time I was having a bad day I would look at your innocent smile and smile myself.  We amazingly had a very mild spring here in PA and I took you walking every day.  Even if you were cranky, as soon as we got outside either in the stroller, in the ergo carrier or just being held, you calmed immediately.  We spent endless warm spring days strolling the canal and looking at the beautiful flowers blooming.  I took this picture one warm day in March as we strolled the canal, you sleeping against my chest. 

You reminded me of what is beautiful in this world while you were here and you continue to do the same now that you are in heaven.  Every time I see the sunset I think of God opening the doors to heaven for you.  I hope you are playing with Weston and our other friends and family that have passed.  I know there are endless people in heaven and on earth that love you. 
While on our annual Gerster family reunion trip to Hilton Head in May, I took you and Liam for a walk on the beach early one morning (yes, you two are early risers!).  It was before 7am and the sun was still rising on the horizon.  It was so peaceful on the beach.  We were the only people on the beach most of the time.  Just before I turned around to head back towards our hotel, I saw a runner approaching us on the beach.  He came up to us and offered Liam a beautiful conk shell he had found on the beach.  Liam was so excited.  I took this picture of you as Liam was enjoying listening to the waves in his new shell.  I think of this picture when I think of God opening the doors of heaven for you.  Your dad and I have this picture framed on the bookcase in our living room and the conk shell we were given on the beach next to it. 

May you think of us in  heaven when you see beautiful things just as we do here on earth and may the lights of heaven always remain on for you so you aren't scared.
I love and miss you.  More and more every day.
Your one and only mom

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Thank you God

Dear Owen,

This weekend I drove to Boston to meet your dad and the rest of your O'Brien family to celebrate BC's 150 year anniversary with a mass at Fenway. It was surreal because this was the weekend we were going to baptize you at BC like we did with your brothers. it just made me cry every time I thought about baptizing you on the table at Capital Health as they tried to save you life.

As we sat in Fenway waiting for the mass to start, Liam wanted to cuddle so I just held him tight and cried as the music played. I had envisioned this as your first introduction to Boston and Fenway. I was thankful Liam was cuddly so I could imagine you there with us.

As the celebrant started the mass, he asked us to bow our heads and asked for our prayers. I bowed my head, closed my eyes and asked God for a sign that you were with him and you were ok. Out of nowhere just then something flew and hit my face and landed on my arm. Normally I would have swatted it away thinking it was a crazy bug but I looked down and saw a little ladybug crawling on my white sweater. It was a sign. Finally. Wow. I turned to Connor and Liam and passed the ladybug to them. They played with the ladybug until it flew off.

It brought tears to my eyes to see them playing with the ladybug because it reminded me of them playing with you, they were always so gentle an caring.

Tonight going to bed Liam held your lovey and the turtle that plays you are my sunshine. He had been laying down for a bit but then asked me to tell him a story about you and him. After the story he got up and went to his framed picture of you and said "good night Owen. I love and miss you". Omg. I was so balled up. He did it all on his own and quietly went off to sleep after that.

I love and miss you too. My sweet bear.

Your one and only Mom

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

2 months too long

Dear Owen,

Happy would be 7 month birthday Owen. Unfortunately it's been 2 months since you took your angel journey too. Tonight we went to Shady Brook farm and got some mums to plant at your grave. We went there at sunset and it was beautiful. Your dad planted the mums in the shape of a heart while Connor and Liam watered the grass above your grave and the newly planted flowers. They also put rocks from our yard (ones you know so well because you were out there with me every day this summer working on the yard) around the mums in the shape of a heart. As the sun set a bag pipe began to play. How random but how appropriate. Your brothers held me tight and kissed my tears as I wept for you. We are teaching the boys specific prayers and they love talking to you in heaven. They have so many questions about your body and try and understand what your soul is and how it got to heaven. I never thought I would have to explain all of this to them so young. It's insane how comfortable they are at a cemetery now. Every time we pass one Liam says "that's where Owen lives!". Crazy huh?!?!

Last night we also went to a paint your own pottery place to paint two planters. Connor and Liam did a great job. You will love them. They have their hand prints on them, stencils of dragonflies, honeybees and suns (Connor's classrooms at TcDc) and Connor also wrote all of our names. They will be a beautiful addition to your gravesite as we finalize your gravestone.

I watched the video of your giggling with me many times today. I screamed, I cried, I punched the seat. I want to see it again. You would probably be crawling by now since you were commando crawling to join your brothers. Today in the car we talked a lot about you. Liam misses taking baths with you. Connor misses tickling your toes and kissing you. I miss holding you as you cuddle your head on my shoulder. Your dad misses singing to you while he rocked you.

We all miss you and ache to see you again. Friends have been amazing to remember you and our suffering. Thanks to all of you who remembered how hard this 12th day of the month is for us. It's funny because people always think the 13th is unlucky. Your nano was born on the 13th so I have never thought that. We thought it was great you were born 2-12-12. 121212. Now I dread the number 12 since you passed on 7-12-12. You will have been gone 5 months on 12-12-12 - the same amount you lived with us on earth. So needless to say, I wish the number 12 would go away. Good thing our house number is 11.

Here's to lucky number 13 tomorrow.

We love and miss you every second.

Your smile makes me smile and cry.

I love you dear Owen. My heart aches for you.

Your one and only mom

Monday, September 10, 2012

Loosing it

Dear Owen,

Today is one of those days.  I am loosing it.  I just hate life right now.  I miss you.  I want you to be here.  I woke up at 6:15 and just sat in bed.  Normally I would have been up with you but you weren't there.  Your room was empty and quiet.  I laid in bed and asked God why he took you.  As your brothers slept, I sat there and cried for you.  I hate that you aren't here for us to hold, love and care for. 

Yesterday I was fortunate to hold our good friend's baby for the first time who was born a week ago.  This was the first time I have held a baby since I held you in my arms as you passed into heaven.  To say it was difficult is an understatement.  It was excruciating.  Not because I wasn't happy for our friends and their beautiful new baby but I was so sad for our family.  I was so sad that you had been that little and I had nursed and cared for you as you grew a whopping 14 lbs in 5 short months.  I was blessed to be able to hold this miracle of joy but ever since then my heart has been broken for how empty my arms are for you.  (For you two that may read this that know who you are, I know you know how hard it was for me but I am SO thankful I was able to hold your bundle of joy and he is beautiful.  We are blessed to have you and your family in our lives!)

Ever since you went to heaven, I have stopped checking Facebook. I know you know what Facebook is because I spent WAY too much time during our endless feeding sessions looking at mindless crap on there.  Yes, I loved the updates from near and dear friends but there is some stupid crap on there.  I hate that I am missing those happy family updates from dear friends because I just can't stomach them right now. I don't know if I ever will be able to.  When I see friends with 3 kids I cringe because you are no longer in the photos with Connor and Liam.  When I see friends complain about stupid crap I get so angry because you know what, life could be a lot lot worse.  When I see friends post pictures of babies my heart sinks just a little bit deeper as I long to have you here with us on earth. I  made the mistake and logged in at work onto Facebook under my personal account and I saw all of these updates this morning.  As I started to ball at my desk, I quickly logged out and logged in under my sutto work account and proceeded to dry my tears as I looked at PetArmor's page and other dog brand pages.

Owen, I am slowly loosing it.  As the world moves on, I don't.  I don't want to move on because you were my third son and I don't understand why you just stopped breathing and aren't here with us anymore.  As we await the final autopsy reports, I dread the words that so many other SIDS moms have seen in the past.  Cause of death "Can not be determined, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome".  Not knowing why God caused you to just stop breathing as you went to sleep one night I will never understand.  The world is moving on as life is back to normal for them but my life is not.  Your brothers see me cry all the time.  On the way to school this morning I heard Zac Brown's "Highway 20 Ride".  I just lost it.  Your daddy and I put on Zac Brown in the delivery room while you were being born.  I remember pushing and that song came on and I just lost it.  Tears were streaming down my face and the same thing happened to me this morning.  I was driving down the road I drove down twice a day, 3 times a week while you were here with us on earth as we carted your brothers to preschool. 

I wish there was something I could do to bring you back and stop this pain.  My only hope is that one day my time on earth here will end and once again I will hold you in my arms.  I know that as each day passes, I am one day closer to being with you in heaven and that does bring a light of hope to the darkness I now face.

I know I have to live on because your brothers and your dad need me here with them.  The questions are starting to come from Connor about what happened the night you passed.  He hasn't started asking your Dad but they have started with me "What did Owen look like when you found him?", "Why were you screaming at him when you found him?".  They break my heart every time.  I try and explain that I was screaming because I was scared and I was not screaming at him.  I try and explain that you looked peaceful and still.  I don't want him to feel the pain that I felt and still feel every day.  Liam has now started sleeping with not only your baseball lovey but also the little turtle that plays "You are my sunshine" because he says "This is Owen's favorite song".  They both miss you so much and always talk about how they want to tickle you, kiss you and hold you.

You are missed and loved by so many.  I know you know that.

Please guide my way today as I struggle with how to put one foot in front of the other.  The only thing that gets me through is to think of your contagious smile.  We took this picture of you one late in June after we arrived at Spring Lake Beach in NJ.  You hadn't napped on the car ride there and we thought you would be soooo tired.  As you can tell, you were bundles of smiles as we took you out of the car and put you in the stroller, one of the first times you rode in the stroller as a big boy.  You managed to fall asleep shortly after we walked on the beach.  I guess you just wanted to hear the humm of the ocean waves as you drifted off to sleep.  Just like your mother.

I love you and miss you.

Your one and only Mom

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Left or right

Dear Owen,

So I am on my third week of work at my new job as a brand manager for PetArmor.  Though it has been somewhat nice to be distracted, nights are so difficult becuase I can't mourn all day long.  Sometimes I just stare at your picture when I am on conference calls and I know I am not as focused as I am supposed to be.  I miss you.  I miss my role as a stay at home mom.  Days that were filled with endless feeding sessions, cuddle sessions and giggle sessions. 

So every night after work as I leave my office, I am torn between turning left or right out of the parking lot.  If I go left, 2 miles down the road will lead me to your grave site.  If I go right, it will lead me to your brother's daycare, our house and your dad.  I am torn every day.  I still want to be your mom and I still want to hold you every day.  Though I know I will always be your mom, my heart and body aches daily because I can't hold you.  I want to visit your grave every day just to be within arms length of your body.  Though I know your soul is now in God's hands I am still attached to the physical connection of your body.  I think it is because we were literally attached to each other physically for 10 months in the womb and 5 months outside the womb. 

So most days I do turn right because I have to get your brother's at school but one day this week I turned left.  I went to visit your gravesite for the first time by myself.  That was a big step for me because I am always scared.  Scared of freaking out, scared of not being able to leave or drive because my emotions are so intense.  Scared that I may just dig you up just to hold you again.  I know that sounds TOTALLY insane and I know it and I know I won't do it but it does cross my mind.  Right now I break down every time I visit your gravesite and every day after I leave work, regardless if I turn left or I turn right.  I think having to control my emotions all day long makes me want to just release as soon as I am done at work for the day.

Owen, I wish it was as simple as turning left or right to see you again.  My mind is still clouded with memories from your final hours and the days of your service and I can't seem to recall the endless hours we spent together for the 5 months you were here with us.  I am grateful for that time and I will forever ask God why he cut it so short!  I don't believe that taking you from me was part of God's plan but I sure do believe that you are now with God and he will help your father, your brothers, your extended family and I through the rest of our lives.

Every morning when I wake up I also have to make the decision.  Do I turn left and get out of bed and get ready for work or do I turn right and cuddle with your father and cry as I cringe at another day I have to face without you.  Most days I do turn left and get out of bed but there are still days where I turn right and I stay in bed a bit longer and think about you and miss you.

I love you and I miss you.  I miss the way you always followed me with your gorgeous brown eyes around the room as I tried to get stuff done while the boys were at preschool.  You looked at me with complete adoration and I miss that.  I miss checking on you at night when I check on all my boys before I go to sleep.  Your room is still so dark and quiet. 

Keep on fighting my little warrior.

I love you and miss you.

Your one and only Mom

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Something about the holidays

Dear Owen,

As we approach our first "official" holiday since loosing you our sweet angel, I think about the holidays.  Labor Day is the end of the summer and the start of a new school year.  Our family has somehow managed to arrange our births around holidays.  Your dad was born on Feb 22, George Washington's birthday and often President's day.  I was born the day after Mother's day and my birthday often falls on Mothers day, May 9.  Connor was born on Thanksgiving day, Nov 22.  This year his birthday will also fall on Thanksgiving.  Liam was born on Dec 27, two days after Christmas.  Finally, you were born on Feb 12, Lincoln's birthday.  I am sure we could find a random holiday for each day of the year but these are all pretty legit days that most people know about.  How I wish you were still with us here to celebrate your first Labor Day.  We are here at my parents in VA where we spend most Labor Days and you are only here in spirit.  I miss you.  How I ache to have you here.  How I wanted you there last night at the Sarnowski's annual party.  You would LOVE being in the pool, dancing to the music.  You are not here.  You are in God's hands.  I hope you are looking down on us and smiling.  I don't think there will ever be a day goes by that my heart doesn't ache for your sweet smile.  To hold him, talk to you, cuddle you.  Holidays are especially the worst.  I feel a hole in my heart and I know this won't get easier as the more significant holidays approach.  Life is just so incomplete.  I look at my boys play with their cousins and Liam is always lagging behind because of his age.  How I wish you were here with us to lag around with him.  You and Liam could gang up on Connor and the older cousins but now it's just Liam in the younger category.  Liam aches for you, his little brother so much.  Every time he goes to sleep he cries that he misses you.  He has to sleep with your baseball lovey and cuddles it so tight.  He always wants me to tell him stories about you, Connor and him playing and in the stories he always wants to be holding you.  He is so protective of you.  He wants to still be a big brother so bad.  Owen, my sweet sweet angel, know that you will always be Connor and Liam's little brother and my little baby.  We miss you more than words can say.  We miss you on this first "holiday" without you.  How I wish I could put you and your brothers in your matching American Flag shirts again like I did for you on July 4th and hang around all day and smile.  I love you.  I miss you. 

Love your one and only,

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Happy 6 Month Birthday Sweet Bear

Dear Owen, 

It’s been a month.  I can’t believe it.  You have been gone 1/5 of the time you were here with us on earth.  I miss you.  I am sorry.  What else can I say.  I say that EVERYDAY, everytime I think about you.  I LOVE YOU.  It’s been over a month since I last held you in my arms, alive, smiling with a strong beating heart.  I now have to believe you are being held in the arms of God as you wait for us to join you in heaven. I can't wait till the day I can hold you again.

My heart aches, every second of every day.  You were my world.  I am not saying I don’t love the rest of our family, your dad, your brothers etc but you were my little sweet bear.  I spent every waking minute with you.  I miss cuddling with you.  I miss you looking at me like I was the world to you.  You completed our family.  I know there were times I was not the perfect mother but thinking you were my last baby and the last time I would be on maternity leave, I started to appreciate life with a baby with you.  I spent more and more time just cuddling with you, talking to you, enjoying you and your every movement.

The last day we spent together you woke up early.  You were down for a nap around 7:15am that day after being up around 5:45am.  Around 8am you woke up and we took the boys to daycare.  We spent awhile dropping them off because of course you were flashing your smiles and wiggling your toes.  From there, we headed to BJs to do a food run.  I still can’t go there without thinking about you because we always went there together.  While we were there, you had a serious face most of the time which was weird.  A woman actually commented on it and came and touched your toes.  I was freaked out by her touching you and you for the first time actually freaked and started crying.  I was surprised that you fell asleep on the way home from the store because you hadn’t been up that long.  I brought you into our house and you slept in your car seat on the kitchen counter while I unloaded the groceries.  That was the last time you napped that day.  The rest of the day we chilled at home.  We spent over an hour practicing your rolling all over the carpet in our room.  You were getting so good at rolling and would roll all the way across the room.  Once you reached me you would grab my face and giggle with joy.  I tried to get you to sleep again but you just wanted nothing with it.  Around 3:30 instead of getting frustrated I decided to take you for a drive to see if you would go to sleep.  We drove south on 95 and you just looked around the car the whole time.  O well, I thought.  Early to bed it would be.  We went to pick the boys up early because they had swim lessons that night.  As always you were the hit of our trip.  All of the girls ran up to you and said Hi Baby Owen.  As soon as we got home, your Dad hoped in the car to take Connor and Liam to swim class.  We came inside and hung out on the couch for a few  more minutes.  If only I knew these would be some of our last ones together.  Around 5:45pm I put you in the bath.  You were starting to learn to sit up in the bath.  You loved to watch the Little Einstein spinnies spin on the side of the bath.  You loved when I washed under your chubby chin around your neck. You would giggle with joy.  You kicked your feet like crazy in the tub.  Once I got you out, I laid you down on your elephant towel with your name on it, given to you by the Proulxs, and dried you up.  You laughed.  Before I left the bathroom, we looked in the mirror as we always did together.  You loved seeing our reflection together and I loved to see you and I together.  If only I new this would be the last time.  I put you on your changing table and started our nighttime routine.  I sang Edel Weiss.  I rubbed you down with lotion.  Then I sang Twinkle Twinkle and got your blue and white onezie on.  Then I took you to our rocking chair and gave you your last bottle.  How I wish I had nursed you that night.  We were trying to get you to take more bottles to get use to me going back to work.  You took down 8 ounces like a champ and were even starting to try and hold your bottle.  I remember thinking that you were growing up so fast.  Once you were done, we burped and then I started to rock you and sing You are My Sunshine.  You smiled from ear to ear as you always did.  If only I new that was the last time I would sing that song to you why you were here with me on earth.  I can’t wait to hold you again and never ever let you go.  I will sing to you forever in heaven my sweet boy and will continue to sing to you while I am here on earth.

I am sitting here watching the closing ceremonies of the Olympics.  I have always loved the Olympics.  Maybe because I dreamed of going there one day.  I was so excited to watch them with you this summer because it gave me an excuse to sit in front of the TV and watch them and someone to watch them with.  I think you would have been a swimmer.  You loved the water.  You loved playing in the pool with your brothers.  They have a band on there right now doing a Pink Floyd cover of Wish You Were Here.  Owen, how I wish you were here with me.  How I wish you were sleeping up in your crib right  now so when I went up to bed and checked on my three boys before I went to sleep, I could see your sweet face.  Your chubby legs in your onesie because it’s still hot outside.  Your chubby cheeks that loved to be kissed.  The little beauty mark you shared on your right leg like the one I have under my arm. 

Today, Nano, Connor, Liam, Daddy and I went to visit your grave site.  We released balloons that said 6 for your 6 month birthday and a smilely face sun.  I miss you and will miss you ever day until our souls are reunited.  I am learning to live day by day without you physically here with me on earth but my heart aches every day, every second.  I have to have hope that someday soon I will get more signs that you are still here with us.  The only two I have had so far are 1) when Kathy McMullen was here visiting with us (she is a SIDS counselor and family friend) and we were talking about you and how we were doing, there was a black butterfly that kept flying around the window and didn’t leave for awhile.  There haven’t been many butterflies this season and I felt your presence at that moment.  2) We were at a Compassionate Friends grief counseling group.  As I was telling the group about you, I looked out the window and the most beautiful pink and purple sky appeared out of no where.  It was stunning, just like you were and are I am sure in heaven.

After dinner Pop Pop took pictures of our family next to the tree we planted in our back yard to remember you.  We are going to try and take important family photos by it so you are included in our memories.  

Here is your tree.  We love sitting at the kitchen table looking out at it.  It makes us feel like you are still here with us.

Connor made a crown to commemorate the day.  Here he is posing by your tree.  He loves and misses you so much.

Yes, not the best family photo but you know Liam, he's a jokester and Connor is more of the serious one.

Owen, my heart aches looking at family photos without you now.  We LOVE YOU and MISS YOU!!!

I miss you and I love you.  I hate that this heartache will be with me for the rest of my life but I love that we will meet again one day.  You were the most amazing, sweet baby I have ever met and I am sorry for not cherishing every moment of every day I had with you.  152 days.  Rest in peace my sweet bear. 

I carry your heart, I carry it in my heart.

Your one and only Mom