Thursday, January 6, 2011

Time Heals

It has been two years since we found out for sure that there was no chance for Jude to live. I can't explain how hard it is to have a doctor tell you that your child is "incompatible with life". Those are such ugly words, and it's not something I would have ever thought that anyone would use to describe my baby.
Since that time, I've lost so much. I lost Jude, of course, but the rest of my life has been turned upside down, as well. I lost my husband, my home, and a lot of myself. I couldn't handle the high-stress job I was in with all of the high-stress of my personal life, and moved to a much lower-paying lower-stress job. I've watched my mom fight cancer, and saw my little girl go lifeless after choking on food.
It's been a hard couple of years. There is no way that I could have survived it without faith in God and the love and support of my family and friends.
I know there are a lot of people in the world right now who are struggling with hurts, with losses, with chaos, and even just with day-to-day stresses of life. I pray that at least one of them will find this blog and will get at least a glimmer of hope from it.
God is faithful! What happened to Jude was not *fair*, and it was extremely tragic. But He has done good work in me through my suffering. He has taught me that I am stronger than I thought I was (because HE is my strength). He has taught me to cherish the things and the people that I still have, because every moment is a gift. He has taught me to be patient, because He does things in HIS time, not in mine. He has taught me to love, and to allow myself to be loved. And He has taught me to let Him handle the things that I can't control.
My life today is not perfect. No one's life ever is. But it is getting better. It is so much better right now than I could have dreamed it would be. I still have my Mommy, and I cherish every moment with her. I still have Savanna, and I am thankful for what a beautiful, precious gift she is. I still have people that love me and have people that want good things for me. I still have a job and am able to pay my bills. I have hopes for a bright future that I can appreciate like no other because it's so much better than the past! And I have a Savior who will get me through if any of those things ever start to waiver.
Time heals the hurts of yesterday. So, if anyone reading this blog is struggling with hurts today, I hope you'll remember that someday this will be a yesterday, and it will get better.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Ashes to Ashes

Today was a hard day. I finally scattered Judes ashes. I've been waiting all this time to try and give BJ the opportunity to participate, but I just couldn't wait any longer. I needed to do this to feel some sort of closure. It was hard, but honestly, I feel a sense of peace right now that I didn't feel before.

The original plan was to scatter the ashes at the waterfall in Bella Vista where BJ and I were married. Since he didn't go with me, I didn't feel right about doing it there. So, instead, I went to the park at West Fork. It's a really pretty little park, and it's right on the White River. I'm a big water person...I just feel at peace near the I thought it was appropriate.

My mom and Savanna went with me. We walked down the edge of the river until we found the place that I felt most drawn to. There was a tree on the bank of the river, and directly across, perched on a bluff, was a smaller tree. It felt very symbolic for me. The small tree was in a place where I would never have expected it to survive...a tiny little ledge, with no real space for its roots to take hold. It reminded me of how no one expected Jude to survive even past the 12th week of my pregnancy. He was so sick, and he still fought all the way until 26 weeks. Even during the delivery, the doctor said he would be stillborn, but he wasn't. He lived. Even if it was only for a little while. He proved all of us wrong. He was a fighter, and that's what I saw in that tree...something that was determined. Here is a picture of the tree.

I also loved that the little tree was directly across from a larger tree, and was in the shadow of the larger tree. It seemed to form a connection between the two trees, even with a river between them. I'd like to think that God led me there to feel the symbolism that Jude and I are still connected, even though he is not here on this planet with me anymore. This picture shows the shadow that the larger tree casts on the smaller one.

Mom and Savanna were with me while I scattered the remains, and then they went to play on the playground for a while so that I could have some time alone. While I was there, I prayed, and I listened to a few songs in Jude's honor. If you know me at all, you know that I'm much more connected to music than I am to spoken word. The songs that I listened to really spoke to me. I listened to "I Will Rise" by Chris Tomlin, "Lullaby (Goodnight My Angel)" by Billy Joel, "Hear you Me" by Jimmy Eat World, and two songs that were played at Jude's memorial service. (Hold Me Jesus and The Valley Song) They were all very fitting, and all made me feel really comforted.

I'm thankful that I had such a beautiful day to say goodbye to my beautiful little boy. I'm even more thankful that I had so many friends praying for me today. I had a strange sense of peace through it all, and I know that is thanks to the love and support of all my friends.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

20 Months

So, Jude was born and died 20 months ago today. I'm still sad. But more than that, right now, I'm angry. I'm angry that I had to lose my baby. I'm angry that I had to be the "strong" one through all of it. I'm angry that Savanna has to have a mommy that cries because I'm not as strong as everyone thinks I am and wants me to be. I'm angry that I've had to go through all of this alone. Well, not 100% alone...I know I have some good friends...but without the support of a husband who was supposed to be the head of our household. I'm angry that I've lost my church home because of all of the aftermath of the tragedy and because BJ wanted "custody" of the church. I'm angry at God. I'm angry at myself. I'm angry at the doctors who couldn't do anything to make it better. I'm angry at pretty much everyone that I can be angry at.
Maybe someday it will be better, but today, I'm just angry.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Eighteen Months

Eighteen months ago today, my baby Jude was born and died. It was truly the most difficult day of my life. It was tragic, horrible, terrible, heartbreaking, dreadful, and every other awful adjective that I can think of. I knew for a couple of months before he was born that his chances of surviving for even a day after birth were basically nil. But I went through those last couple of months, and pushed through each day. I took care of Savanna, tried to help BJ deal with the situation, worked, and then went to all of my appointments and to the several ER trips that I had. I didn’t push through with a smile…most days were tearful. Even now, when I think of Jude and all his poor little body had to go through, I’m still tearful.
But today, instead of focusing on my sorrow, I want to focus on something completely different…I want to share the joys that have come from the situation.
First, I was able to enjoy my baby during my pregnancy. Many women get annoyed by the baby kicking all night and keeping them up. For me, it was a joy. It reminded me that he was still there, and I cherished every moment that I got with him because I knew our minutes together were few and our time together was precious. It reminds me now that, in reality, our moments with everyone are numbered. And our time with all the special people in our life is precious. I need to take the time each day to remind people what they mean to me, and enjoy all of life’s little joys that I often take for granted.
Second, my faith in mankind was renewed through the whole tragic event. It was amazing to me the people that gave their money, time, prayers, and happy thoughts to help me and my family make it through the ordeal. People I didn’t even know brought us meals. People I’d never met sent cards. It was amazing, and it made me glad to know that the whole world hasn’t gone to hell in a handbasket, as I often had felt before.
Finally, my faith in God was strengthened. I know that not all of my friends are Christians, and I know that a lot of them would argue with me that such tragedy is a sign that God doesn’t exist, or that He doesn’t care. But it was the opposite for me. It drew me close to Him, because He was the only one I KNEW I could count on. If it was three o’clock in the morning, and I woke up crying for my baby, I could talk to Him. When my husband wasn’t there anymore, God was there. When some members of my family said that Jude “wasn’t real” because he didn’t survive, I could give that to God. When I had days that I didn’t want to get out of bed because I was so sad, I had comfort knowing that God was there for me, and that He had given me an awesome gift in Savanna, and that I still had a lot to live for. On days when I was ready to throw in the towel, God prompted my friends to call me and check on me, or to send me a text just to let me know He was there and that He was strong enough to support me through this horrible time.
So, even though it may sound weird…a year and a half after I gave birth to a beautiful, but very sick baby boy…I’m thankful for the tragedy. It shaped who I am today, and I know there’s a greater plan that will be revealed to me someday. I just hope that I can live up to God’s expectations for me.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Nine Months

I've tried so hard today to avoid the thoughts of my little Jude. But it's been 9 months exactly. When will the day come that I don't wake up on the 2nd of the month and think "Oh, it's been x-number of months today"? Certainly not yet. I just feel like I'm never going to get better...I'm never going to be happy again...I'm never going to be able to make it through. In some ways, it feels like I had him just yesterday, but in others it seems so long ago. So much has happened since then.
At work, I'm not allowed to be sad, so I'm just the usual "Happy Tonya", but let me tell you, that's awfully hard. Especially when I have to take people on tours of Willow Creek or the NICU. Every little baby I see is compared to him in my mind. When will I stop doing that? It's just so hard. And it sucks. And I don't WANT to be "Happy Tonya". I want to be "break down bawling so hard that I can't breathe and I can't move Tonya". But that's not feasible. I've got to take care of me, and I've got to take care of Savanna, and as hard as it is, I have to keep keeping on.
God has been faithful. He has given me strength. But it's still hard. Every day it's hard.
This song has been on my heart lately, and it's given me some strength. I have faith that He'll continue to save me...I just have to be patient as I heal. (Ironically, this particular performance was recorded at a place called Willow Creek Arts Center.)

If anyone out there is still praying for me, please continue to do so. I need all the strength I can get.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


So, with my new job, I'm out and about at clinics all the time. On Thursday, as I was walking into one of our family practice clinics, I stopped to hold the door open for a young lady who was walking in. I guess she saw my badge and assumed I worked there, so she started to tell me about her condition. She told me that she is 6 months pregnant, and has been having what she thinks are contractions all morning, and asked me what she needed to do. I told her that I'm not the right person to ask that question, but that she probably should go see an OB/GYN. She told me that she HADN'T EVEN BEEN TO SEE ONE HER WHOLE PREGANCY! I don't know why she hasn't done this, because she also informed me that she has "pregnant woman's medicaid". I was taken aback, but I was very nice to her...I gave her instructions on where to go to get help, and she went on her way. After she was gone, jealousy set in. She's 6 months pregant, and she hasn't even cared about her baby enough to go see a doctor! I called and made my first prenatal appointment within minutes of seeing the positive indicator on the pregnancy test! And, if she doesn't even care enough to see doctors during the pregnancy, is she doing other things to take care of herself? Is she eating right? Is she avoiding all the things a pregnant woman should avoid (esp drugs and alcohol)? And if she's not taking care of the baby now, will she take care of him after he is born? It makes me so jealous. I mean, I tried so hard to take such good care of myself when I was pregnant with Jude, but it did me no good. By the time I was as far along as this lady, I was planning a delivery and a funeral. She'll probably get a perfectly healthy baby, and I got less than an hour with a little guy that I knew was on his way to heaven.
I know it's not good to be jealous, but it's so hard not to be. It's just not fair.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I know that I've been missing in action from posting on this blog. Heck, I haven't even posted on Vanni's blog in forever, and hers is fun to post on. Maybe everyone has even forgotten that this blog exists. If so, maybe that's good. Maybe I can vent and feel like no one's going to read it and think, "this chick is losing her mind". But, even if people reading this think I'm crazy, I just feel I'm led to post here tonight.
Everything is so hard right now. In the last week, I've gone through Jude's 3 month birthday and the due date that he "should" have been born on. Plus, my husband had a birthday. It's so hard for me to help him celebrate. He's not really in the mood for it either. I don't know. It just seems like we're both SO down. I pray for comfort and I pray for peace, but it is so stinking hard right now. I'm just sad. And I want to give in to that sadness. I want to sit and cry for hours and not have to worry about what people will think. And then I want to be the old Tonya again. The one who can be happy, and that can laugh without feeling guilty. But I'm not that Tonya anymore, and I'm terrified that I never will be again.