::pack:: of fixations

life after tragedy. living while grieving. love and triplets.


A baby turned 2

Thank you to everybody for all your kind comments and Birthday wishes.  It's been a very emotional weekend... week(s) actually, I'm still crying.  I miss him so badly.  My heart hurts.  Finn needs his brother.  Finn kept asking what card and presents we were going to get Colum for his Birthday.  "Elmo or Spiderman toys, Mom?", it broke my heart to explain to him that we probably won't be buying him any toys because he died.  But that we are going to celebrate his Birthday every year with a cake and balloons.  The day before Colum's Birthday the show Franklin came on and Finn was watching intently.  The whole show was revolved on siblings because the Bear (or one of the characters) was getting a new baby sister.  Finn watched intently, he didn't say anything but I could tell he missed his baby brother.  I of course cried.  Then I read a blog which I hadn't looked at in over 6 months and they had welcomed a new baby and had guest bloggers blogging about how fun siblings are.  The whole day turned into a cry-fest.  I frequently hear Finn talking while playing, it breaks my heart because Colum should be there playing beside him.  I know I say it a lot but Finn not having a brother here to play with is probably the hardest part for us.

Ryan took the day off for Colum's Birthday and we spent the morning watching our "never before watched family videos" all curled up as a family in our bed.  We bought a new video camera before Cabo (I can't believe how cheap they are now btw), but before that Ry had bought and paid big bucks for a top of the line video camera when we were dating, so all Colum videos aren't digital....they are on video tape.  The battery lasts what seems like 20 minutes.  It seems like I went to buy that with him only yesterday and I think he paid about $1500 for the thing!  I'm so glad we had it though.  There were so many treasured videos of Finn and Colum.  A lot more of Colum than I remembered which was so so so joyous.  But it made me more baby hungry than ever before.  The loud, eager breaths baby's make while trying to roll over.  The way they flap their arms and legs excitedly up and down.  Colum would open and close his hands really fast when he got excited.  I'd totally forgotten about that. I remember even being a little concerned and asked his Pediatrician if it was any sort of 'tick' because he did it so much.  Their little hands learning to grasp objects.  His laugh, oh his laugh.  Ryan and I make very happy babies.  The giggles, smiles, snickers and snorts that come out of them are bountiful.  We have several minutes of Colum sitting next to his (late) Grandpa Pack.  It's extremely special because it's close to right before Grandpa died.  Colum was sitting next to him on the couch for a good 10 minutes.  He'd just look up and they'd stare at eachother... just stare for an oddly long time.  Grandpa had alzheimer's and Colum didn't hold still for very long because he was about 13 months old.  But, it was almost like they knew.  Or Colum knew.  Colum had Grandpa's blue eyes.  Grandpa wasn't able to hold him, he just kinda kept his arm out while Colum sat closely next to him in his little nook.  Grandpa's alzheimer's was a little different because you could tell he knew who we all were.  I wrote a post shortly after his death here.  Colum is buried on top of Grandpa which gives me comfort that he's not alone.  He didn't get buried all by himself waiting for Mom and Dad to join him someday... he's with Grandpa.  It was comforting to have that.  Burying your baby is so hard.  The tiny little casket.  The tiny rectangle of dirt that we visited often, now has green grass growing over it.  

I'm so happy to announce that his headstone is up!  The stone had to be shipped from India and it took several months.  The nicest people ever helped us with our sweet babies headstone and busted their butts to get it in by his Birthday.  The stone arrived a couple days before and it was put in & finished at 8pm the night of his 2nd Birthday.  It was a happy ending to a very hard day (thanks Chris and Carissa)!  It turned out to be more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.  You don't understand how hard designing a headstone for your child is until you actually have to do it.  It's something that will be there forever.  You want to capture the essence of your baby in a piece of stone.  We put a picture of him on the front.  Every time you start to look at pictures you begin to cry.  You see old photos and talk about old memories and your heart aches, your arms ache and you have to just put the photos away because you can't take it anymore.  Essentially you make no progress because all you do is cry.  And then you can't sleep because you really want it to be something so great and perfect but progress is impossible.  I had an alarm set on my phone that said headstone that went off everyday to remind me to work or think about it.  It was just so easy to put in the back of my mind because it was so difficult.  But, now that it's done... I'm so happy!  I'm so excited to visit it and talk to his picture and his name and not an unmarked plot of grass.  There's a poem on the back that I put together while getting my last pedicure.  I didn't think it would make me emotional.  I sat there by myself surrounded by strangers with my ipad bawling my eyes out.  I could tell the lady next to me wanted to ask me what was wrong but her instincts told her I didn't need her to.  Ryan picked out the dove on the back and it's perfect. 

The flower was difficult because we wanted something simple and more modern to go with the dove.  Carissa helped and found a selection for me to choose from.  The daisy was perfection.  It's simple and he held one in his hand during the viewing.  It also reminded us of how last summer he picked off every single flower that bloomed in our yard.  You turned your back for one second and the beautiful plant with the beautiful blooms on it was a mere shadow it once was.  Colum picked all the flower heads off and just left a trail of them behind as he was moving onto the next.  It was so frustrating but... so him and we'd always chuckle and still do, it brings a smile to my face just thinking about it.  

A special thanks to all of you who came to the 5k on Saturday.  I think at least 100 people showed up.  It was great to see so many familiar and new faces.  I love you all.  And to everybody who couldn't make it, thank you for thinking of us.  Try and make it next year!  We are getting really excited and have spoken to a few people who know what they are doing who want to help us, so it will be very very special!  And you have a whole year to get in shape for it!  

Colum's Toy Story Birthday cake.  I never could tell whom he preferred, Woody or Buzz so I put both on there.
Some pics from the 5k.  I have several more on my camera that is out of batteries.  I may post more later.  It turned out beautiful.  (this is an instagram pic; if you'd like to follow me I'm Packx4).

Back of the headstone

front of the headstone... his picture hasn't been siliconed in yet but will be very soon.  I love it!
This is one of my favorite videos I found of Colum.  I put a mirror, this mirror in both of my boy's cribs.  They would flirt with themselves for hours.  Colum had been in here flirting after he'd woken up from his nap and I caught the tail end of it.  It's kinda small so blow it up and watch him smile at himself and then do a double take at himself.  Oh I miss this little guy!  (That's Finn in his terrible two's that you can hear in the background.)
The most beautiful painting that was given to us that was painted by a new friend's daughter.  I think she's only 8-10 yrs old.  I had the perfect place to put it.  On my unfinished pegboard diy frame.  Isn't it beautiful.  Thank you Keddington's!  I can't think of her name, my mind is blank... I know it starts with a K.  She is so talented.

Another gift from the Keddington's!  She followed through on her own idea and blew this picture up and put it on canvas.  I hung it in the boys room.  Love love it!  Thanks Angela!


  1. We love love you guys. Colum's cake is so happy and fun. So precious to have all of those videos. SWEET LITTLE BABY BOY! We have all VHS tapes of our girls as well. Love the digital age. Loved sharing a part in your special Colum Day. XOXO

  2. I'm so sorry you had to celebrate without him.. You are the perfect example of grace and dignity.

  3. oh sweetie, this is so hard! the headstone is lovely. we haven't been able to watch family videos yet. a few iphone clips here and there, but not the years and years of videos. love you!

  4. Happy Birthday, sweet baby boy! I have been thinking a lot about you guys this weekend and knowing the celebrations are very bittersweet and full of longing and also hope. I want you to know how deeply your story has impacted me personally and changed me as a mama. My two youngest boys are about the sames ages (and have the same coloring) as your two boys. I now hug, kiss, cherish, and spend precious moments with them -- much more than I did before. I want to enjoy their innocent sweet faces and bask in their babyhood. Colum has changed and effected so many people. What an angel! What good work he did during his short life! His smile is imprinted in my mind and I am grateful for your family. I wish I had been at the run! I live in San Diego. I ran a 5K in honor of Colum today. The headstone is beautiful beyond words. It's so fitting and so perfect. I am happy you have that marker to sit by. I will look forward to hearing the news of your next pregnancy! Blessings to you, Finn, and Ryan.

  5. The headstone is beautiful! The walk/run was wonderful, i couldn't help but think that is where Colum wanted us- together during hard times. Luv ya!

  6. I was so honored to be able to walk with you during the 5k. And thank you so much to your sister for watching out for my little boy and helping him cross the street. The headstone is beautiful and brought tears to my eyes seeing it.
    I am so glad that you have those videos of your little man. For some reason I have never really used our small digital recorder instead relying on my camera for all the pictures of my littlest one. Unfortunately the memory card recently died and I lost all his pictures of him learning to roll, crawl and walk. I hadn't been able to share these with my husband who is gone on military duty because I couldn't find the cord to connect my phone to my computer and when I tried to e-mail or text them I always received a message that the content was too large. So not only did my husband miss out on all his firsts in person but he doesn't even get to see them on video. :(
    So looking forward to next year's bigger and better walk, we will be there. And as always if there is anything you need please let me know.

  7. The headstone and poem are so beautiful. I didn't make it to his birthday run this year, but I want to be there next year. I can't get my head around how you're able to handle everything, but I pray and think of you and your family often.

  8. Love his headstone. Such a cute picture of Colum. Poem is beautiful. I wanted to make the 5k, but have some weird infection I can't get rid of. Next year for sure. I am so glad it went well though. His cake is darling...did you do it? Amazing. That little girl is super talented. Love the canvas pic, such a cute idea for their room.

  9. The walk was awesome...even though we got lost trying to find the fitness center and started a little late. I will be there next yr and many yrs to come!!! Colum's headstone turned out beautiful! That picture of Colum and the Dove is beautiful, she's talented! Colum and his grandpa will be together forever!!! :)

  10. The first time I read this, I cried and cried. I couldn't comment. It broke my heart to read about Finn not having Colum. I know I would be torn to pieces too if one of my boys didn't have the other. I am sorry, Kelly. I am sorry these past few weeks have been so hard. Finn is such a strong little boy and he will be okay. I am glad Ryan took the day off and you spent it together watching home videos. What a wonderful way to spend Colum's birthday. The headstone is absolutely beautiful. You did a wonderful job on it. The race was very touching and I can't wait to see how it grows each year. And I love the cake! I'm sure he loved it too and felt very loved on his 2nd birthday. I'm glad he's not alone either. He has his grandpa with him and they are having many adventures together. Families are forever and you'll all be together again. Hang on to that hope and it will bring you comfort!

  11. Kelly,
    What an amazing lady you are. I hope you continue to grow strong (in all ways) and that next year it's easier for you. It looks like a fantastic day and what a tribute to Colum and your family.
    Sending you all love from Scotland.

  12. You do not know me, but I came across your bog from a friends. My heart aches for you and the loss of your sweet Colum. I have 2 boys also. 5 years old, and 2 (tomorrow actually). They are best friends, just as Finn & Colum are. I cried and cried reading this beautiful post. You are truly a hero in my eyes and have such a strong spirit. I don't know what I would do if I lost one of my angels. I hope as the years pass, it will be easier for you. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your darling family as you struggle to cope with this tragic loss of your baby. You have made me realize how important life & family really is, and to never take for granted those perfect, timeless moments! Thank you for making me want to be better!

  13. the headstone is the most beautiful I have ever seen. Colum will always be Finn's brother forever and ever. My father's brother died at the age of three. I still think of that precious three year old boy as my uncle Lee. They are with you always until you meet again one day in heaven. Sending love and prayers your way. You are the strongest woman. Colum smiles down at you each and every day.

  14. The stone, picture and poem are so perfect. You did good Mom and Dad.

    My heart hurts for you all..