Saturday, June 15, 2013

Father's Day

Well, it's that time of year again.  Tomorrow is Father's Day, and yesterday Samuel would have turned 14 months old.  Losing a baby changes what most holidays mean, but especially Father's Day.  It's a strange time of year for fathers like me, who have a child, but they're just not here.  Samuel is not here and I will not get to see him again for a very long time.  It's not a day that I can celebrate like most fathers can.  Instead, I'm left to look at his pictures or his things that are all around the house and remember.  I remember what it was like to talk to him and to hold him.  I remember what it was like to see him for the first time and when he opened his eyes and looked at me during that brief time he had with us.  But remembering him doesn't make it any easier to bear the fact that he's gone, and it won't bring him back, even though he is always with me here in my heart.

RaeAnne is doing her best to try to make this weekend more bearable for me, but nothing changes the fact that it is just a very sad weekend.  She is making some of my favorite foods for me, and she has some gifts for me tomorrow, and those are nice things and very much appreciated.  But they would be so, so, so much nicer if we had Samuel here with us.

Below is an image that RaeAnne made for me for Father's Day.  She did a great job and I love it!  Thank you, honey!

She had a friend of hers in California create the really nice pictures you see below.  She did a great job with the pictures!  That's the Pacific Ocean in the background.  I imagine that maybe Samuel has beaches like that in heaven.  Click on any of the pictures to go to the website for her friend's organization that makes keepsake photography for babies and children who have died.

RaeAnne also asked another friend of hers to make the really nice graphic shown below.  She did a great job!

Also, while I was writing this, a package arrived for me with a keychain ring with "DADDY OF AN ANGEL" imprinted on a square piece of metal and "SAMUEL EVAN" and a pair of tiny footprints imprinted on a round piece of metal.  There was another keychain ring for RaeAnne, of course with the word mommy instead of daddy.  Each one also had Samuel's birthstone attached to the ring.  The package included an anonymous letter from someone who has been following Samuel's story on RaeAnne's blog and just wanted to do something nice for us.  The letter was very nice, it was supportive and caring and encouraging, and it was simply signed, "Yours in Christ, A Neighbor Who Cares".  It's really nice to know that there are people out there thinking of us, and that there are some who actually do understand.  To whoever sent that package, THANK YOU!  That was very nice of you and it is very much appreciated.

Life will never be the same now that Samuel is gone.  There will always be a piece of my heart missing.  On Father's Day it is especially noticeable.  I want so much to be able to celebrate Father's Day like the other fathers do, with their happy families and healthy children.  I sometimes wonder how things might be different if we had other children that lived.  But I always remember that even though I can't hold Samuel in my arms, I am still a father.

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there.  And please remember to acknowledge those fathers who have lost a child too soon.

I love you, Samuel, and I can't wait to see you again in heaven someday!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

One Year

One year ago today, Samuel was born and died. It's hard to believe it's already been a year. I want to hold on to those memories so much, and time makes it harder to remember what happened. Time can play tricks on us sometimes. One day it seems like Samuel was just here and I can remember my time with him so well. And then the next day it seems like it was so long ago that he left us, and I can still remember everything I could the day before, but it's not quite as clear and I can't remember every detail as well. That's why I'm so glad that we have lots of photos of him, and some videos, to help us remember. We were very fortunate to have Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep photographers there to get some incredible photos of Samuel.

I know it's normal for everyone to forget things, but one of my fears is that someday I won't be able to remember my favorite things about Samuel. I don't know if that's even possible, given that his life was a life changing experience for me, but it's still something I worry about.

I miss him so much. I just want to hold him and love him and teach him all about life. Now that is gone and just an empty space remains. If I didn't know that I will see him again someday, I don't know how I would have made it through the last year.

Fathers, hug your kids tonight. Mothers, give them a kiss. Parents, spend time with your kids and make sure they know how valuable they are to you. Be grateful that you are not one of the parents who weren't able to keep your babies.

Happy Birthday in heaven, Samuel. Daddy loves you. I'm sure you have lots of friends up there. We've met some their parents.

That's all for now. I'm exhausted. Grief will do that.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Missing Memories

I've been missing Samuel a lot lately. I think of all the memories I have missed out on. If he were with us, he would probably be learning to walk by now. I think of all the places we could have taken him. All the days spent playing with him, showing him things, reading to him. He would have that sense of wonder and curiosity about things that babies have. I imagine him wanting to know about many things around him. He wouldn't have the words to say what he meant yet, but we would learn to understand him.

I imagine he would follow me around and want to know what I'm doing. He would sit on my lap and we would watch football together. In the summer I would take him to a Twins game. But none of that will be happening.

I miss you so much Samuel. I don't know how I've made it through without you. I want to hold you so bad it hurts. But all I have is this empty spot in my life where you should be. I love you Samuel, and I can't wait to see you again someday.

Monday, January 14, 2013

"Earth has no sorrow...."

Today would be Samuel's 9 month birthday if he were still with us.  It's sometimes hard to believe that it has been 9 whole months since his brief life here on earth.  That's 9 months of missing out on all the joys of having a new baby in our home and our lives.  Today we should be celebrating his 9 month birthday but instead we have a house that feels empty.  We should be hearing laughter and the sounds of a baby playing with his toys but instead we have this ever present sadness.

Losing Samuel is not something I will or can ever "move on" from.  It doesn't work that way.  With time and with God's help the wound will heal and the pain will lessen, but the scar remains as a reminder of who and what I have lost.  It is something I have to learn to live with. 

I'm working on a wood sign that has a quote from Thomas Moore.  "Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal."  Those words really hit home when I first read them because I know God is helping me heal.  And he will complete that healing when I am reunited with Samuel in Heaven someday. 

For now I am left to wonder what it would be like to have a 9 month old boy crawling around the house, playing, getting into things, laughing, crying, chasing the cats, and just making a mess.  For now I am left with nothing but memories and sadness.  I guess I'll just have to wait a really long time.

I miss you and I love you Samuel.  I know I will see you again someday, but not soon enough.


Monday, November 19, 2012


How do you celebrate Thanksgiving when you feel as if you don't have much at all to be thankful for? How do you celebrate when your son is missing from your life and you will know you will never get to have Thanksgiving with him? You don't, is what my wife and I have decided. It's just too hard, at least this year it is. So we're just going to lay low and spend time together, just the 2 of us. We'll still have a turkey (I get a free turkey from work every Thanksgiving) and some of the usual sides, but that's about it. It's just too hard to celebrate when you know you should be celebrating with your baby boy.

That doesn't mean I'm not thankful for anything, because there are a few things. But it just seems hollow when our family is incomplete.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Samuel Evan, My Little Fighter

Samuel Evan, my first child, was born on April 14th, 2012. He is the son RaeAnne and I had been wanting for a long time, and he came as a welcome surprise in our lives. He was quite active during pregnancy, and the ultrasound technicians often had a difficult time getting a good picture. He waved at us on the first ultrasound image. I knew right then I would never be the same as before. I already knew that when RaeAnne told me the news, but that really made it sink in. As he grew, we really got to know him as well as we could. We talked and read and even sang to him each night. He knew the sound of our voices and I'm told he would often move or kick when he heard me.

He now lives in Heaven with Jesus. As the blocks with the letters of his name say on the top of them, he "grew his wings" about 4 hours after being born on a rainy, stormy Saturday night. We had prayed for his healing for 5 months after learning of a condition that existed in his abdomen that could not be corrected. We received his diagnosis from the doctors at Mayo Clinic (Methodist) in Rochester, MN, and if there was anything that could be done to fix the issue with his bladder, it would have been done there by some of the best doctors in the world. But after about a week of ultrasounds, amniotic procedures, and lab tests, we were told there was nothing they could do. So we put his life in God's hands and we prayed. But our request was not granted.

The last 6 months have been a blur of emotions stronger than any I have ever experienced. Intense sadness and depression mixed with numbness and shock and tears have combined to make most things in life seem irrelevant. I'm walking through a darkness that I can't see the end of, and I know there is light somewhere up in the distance. But there are also plenty of obstacles in this darkness, and it's like being lost in a deep, dark forest where you can't see the end in any direction but you know it's there somewhere. That last part is paraphrased from a book I'm reading called A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sittser, and I've found it to be very true.

Our dreams of raising our precious baby boy are shattered, and we are left with his things and his ashes while trying to pick up the pieces. We don't know what to do, but somehow we make it through each day without him. Grief is exhausting. Sometimes I wonder how I get out of bed in the morning. But there is hope, since I know I will see him again and someday get to share with him all the things that I couldn't on this side of Heaven.

As I held my Samuel in the NICU after he died, I believe that God was also holding him in His arms at that same time. As I laid his body down and eventually walked out of that room, I knew I had left a piece of me in that room that I could never get back.

I love you Samuel, and I always will. I will never stop missing you. But I know that you are the lucky one. But I will never stop missing you. Thank you for fighting to the end so that we had 8 very memorable months with you.