::pack:: of fixations

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



Over the past 6 weeks I find myself feeling overwhelmed again.  I push myself to go about my day and get the usual daily adult tasks done: pay bills, laundry, work, take care of Finn, shower, physical therapy, grocery store, cook, and clean.  Everyday my body slams full force into a wall, I can't move, I can't think, everything completely shuts down.  I have to lay down.  It takes everything I have to make it to my bed.  I have to tell Finn, "I'm sorry Mom needs to lay down.  ...I can't do that  ...please go watch a show for a little while.  ...Mommy is so tired and I'm so sorry."  After he leaves my bedroom I usually start to cry.  I get so frustrated.  I try and strategically plan out my days so I don't wear myself too thin, but somehow I always do.  Sometimes I call and cry to Ryan because he's the only human on this earth who really understands what this feels like.  I have tried to explain this to other people and I know they don't really hear me.  I don't want to be anything special or an over-achiever, I just want to be Finn's Mom and Ryan's wife.  I want to focus on myself.  My physical and emotional healing, so I can take care of them and that is really all that matters to me right now.  

I went to the Dr 8 days ago.  She walked in the room shaking her head in disbelief.  She told me, I was never aloud to ever go off of my thyroid medicine like that again.  She was blown away by what my test results showed.  She said (there are multiple tests for thyroid levels and I don't know what this one was but it's clearly different than the one that was tested a couple months ago) ...that an optimal test result is a level of 0.4, so if you are a 3 you are a low, if you are a 10 you are really low, I was 194!  The higher the number the lower you are.  She doubled the dose I was taking and told me it will take several months for my thyroid to catch up... this explains the 10, turned 12 pound weight gain grrrr, but I'm down 3 at least.  This also explains why I'm so tired and probably why my body completely shuts down.  I think being handicap also plays a huge part in my body shutting down.  Somebody on meth hitting you head on can turn a 30 year old into a 75 year old in seconds flat.  I just recently realized that I walk slow like an elderly person recently while I was out with the girls one night.  We all got out of the same car and before I knew it most of the girls were very far ahead of me... I couldn't catch or keep up with them.  Luckily somebody stayed back with me but I had NO IDEA I was still that different from everybody else.  This doesn't make me sad but it does hurt that I still can't race Finn to the front door.  I know things will get better with time.  And I know that I will fight to the end to be as normal as possible.  

I'm putting it in writing that I/we will be declining all social events for a while.  We need to rest.  We need to be together.  We need to heal and use up everything extra that we have on Finn and then some.  I'm focusing on getting all my ducks in a row so I can hopefully get pregnant and give him some more siblings to enjoy.  So please take no offense to it.

I think that in my mind I've come so far from where I was that I'm perfectly content and so thrilled to be walking and wiping my own ass.  One night recently after Ryan and I had put Finn to bed and just started our show, I got a phone call from out of state and so we paused it because I thought I'd answer it really quick.  It was from a woman I used to know that had moved away a few years ago that was in town and just heard about our accident.  I don't know what she'd heard, and she told me how sorry she was.  I began to get teary eyed and then she started telling me how she'd been in a very bad accident herself.  Every one in her car was okay, except she broke her left hand.  I vaguely remembered her telling me about her hand years ago but only remember it being a finger or two.  Ryan sat there, tv show paused as this woman explained how difficult her life was because of her broken hand.  How hard it was with her 2 living breathing children with her broken hand.  I asked her if she knew my entire body had been broken and she replied "oh, honey I know just listen".  Then she told me how she couldn't even do dishes.  The conversation went on for about 30-45 min and I wish I would have ended it about 2 min in.  I know that in her heart she meant well.  I wish her nothing but the best.  But what I really wanted to say was, "well at least you could wipe your own ass".  It took 2 people to put me on a bedpan and it hurt like hell to roll over and sit on the damn thing.  Pooping, no matter where you are in the hospital, well it's a party.  It's a party if you poop everybody literally celebrates and gives high fives and you really feel special.  Then it took 2 people to roll me off the bed pan and then one of the 2 had the privilege to wipe my ass for me.  Some would do a half decent job.  Most however would not.  I'd be laying there on my side (an experienced ass wiper to 2 boys), and "ask them to really get up in there, cause I like to be clean".  It is the most humiliating and humbling experience I've ever had.  I couldn't wipe my own ass for about 5 weeks.  There were multiple times I was told our insurance was going to send me home and my friends were gonna have to come to the hospital to learn how to work the hoyer lift, and roll me on the bed pan and then wipe my ass for me.  Yup, I was absolutely terrified.  Can you imagine having your friends wipe your ass for you?  It doesn't get much worse than that.  

So when you are feeling down.  When you think you have it bad.  Ask yourself, "Can I wipe my own ass?"... & just remember that there is a hospitals full of people who can't.  Hopefully, you will be able to at least have a laugh.  Things always get better, but sometimes you just have to work really hard at it.



Finn will be turning 4 on Monday!  When we got in the accident he was still in his crib.  Putting him in a toddler bed is something we planned to do over the Christmas break.  Colum and Finn shared a small bedroom, but it worked.  I would put them both in their cribs during nap time in the afternoon (Finn never climbed out of his crib) and they would jump, laugh, and play secret games with each other for hours until usually Colum fell asleep.  Finn stopped napping completely at way too young of an age.  Most of Colum's clothes are still hanging up in their closet and his pants are still in his drawer.   A few months ago I took the sheets and blankets off of Colum's mattress and put them in a tupperware bin to preserve his sweet, little smell that I sometimes get a whiff of when I walk into their room.  His last bottle is still lying on the bare mattress in their room and has his dirty finger prints beautifully painted by his sticky hands during his last nap there.

While we were in the hospital Finn slept at his Aunt Bobbi and Uncle Kevin's house (thank you).  They made Finn his very own room and he's been in a toddler bed ever since then.  My friend JaNae is giving us her boys' old bunk beds and even driving down to set them up for us tomorrow (amazing friend I know, thank you JaNae).  Ryan and I always talked about getting them bunk beds as soon as we found out Colum was a boy in utero.  Finn would be on top since he was the oldest and Colum would be on the bottom.  They would secretly stay up late and talk or play games when they were supposed to be asleep.  Just as they had in their cribs.  I try and talk to Finn about how they used to always do that trying to somehow engrave that favorite memory of mine into his mind.  I remember that time of day so well.  It was my break, although I usually worked, it was my time.  Colum would get that sneaky grin on his face as I handed him his bottle and put the softest blanket I could find on top of him and another along the side of his face.  He couldn't hide how he also looked forward to that time of day as well, the games they played, I never saw them but he made Finn laugh.  They would both laugh and laugh, lots of jumping, but Colum would do something that I will never know that made Finn laugh harder than anything.  They used to play all day long.  They were Brothers and they truly were the best of friends.  

For a moment, I didn't know if my heart could handle bunk beds.  But it's not about my heart, it's about a little boy who is turning 4.  And what 4 year old doesn't want bunk beds?  We may have to take down Colum's crib, and I bought bins today to put his clothes and some of his old toys in.  Hopefully this is the beginning of a new horizon for us.   I really hope I can manage to get through the emotional turmoil of dejunking and all the memories that will follow.   Memories are welcome and they are a strange combination of joy and pain.  Most happiness comes with a sting.  

I go to the Dr tomorrow.  I'm excited to discuss how we are going to get my body working again.  I hope that it starts soon.  I'm taking a lot of suggestions into consideration.  Particularly a gluten-free diet.  It's the only thing I haven't tried :).  I'm doing my research and I think it may be the ticket.  Thank you for all your helpful comments.  And for everybody with Hashimotos &/or PCOS I will keep you posted.


near & dear

Thank you so much for all the kind comments!  I was very reluctant to say what I really felt because I thought that it would come across wrong.  Thanks for trusting me and not leaving anything mean.  I don't know if I'm going to file a complaint for one big reason.  If I do, I sorta feel like I will just get pulled over every other day.  Same reason I don't complain about a few other things that bother me about some things in this city.   And the man who would beat my dogs... I'd forgiven him years ago (I meant to add that).  A few years after (he'd begun torturing my dogs) he told us he had Alzheimer's and so I think it was the beginning of his illness.  He has since passed away.  I have a feeling he would have been a nice neighbor and I would have enjoyed his company a lot if it hadn't been for his illness.  But, I have never gotten over how the police handled it all.  It was infuriating because there was never a record of me calling about it, them coming over to my house, or anything.  They would just roll their eyes at me... can we all just take a moment to roll our eyes together back at them now :).  It drove me absolutely crazy.  I was so young and now I know that you demand a case number etc., but I was naive to think that they were keeping record and doing their job.  Mekong (our 130 lb Newfounland/Mastiff aka biggest sweetie in the world) actually bit a hole (tooth sized) through his hand.  I'm pretty sure this occurred during a beating, but he claimed he was resting his hand on the 6 foot tall wood fence between our yards (uh-huh) and Mekong somehow bit his hand which had to be dangling on our side of the fence because of where the injury occurred.  The Po-lice were called and we got a ticket and there was no record of all my complaints etc.  We were lucky we didn't get sued because of the biting.  I learned a lot about all the different officers that came over to my house over those couple of years.  1).  None of them really cared about my innocent dogs getting beaten daily. 2). If you want them to work, you have to sorta demand that they actually work.  Just because it is your tax dollars paying them to work... that doesn't necessarily mean that they will work.  

It was an absolutely infuriating experience.  But I've learned a lot since then.  I've moved on.  Now I have something more near and dear to my heart to share.  I got an email from Shauna a couple of days ago.  She gave me permission to share it with you on my blog... I instantly forwarded it to Ryan so he could read it at work.  WARNING: it might make you cry.  It sure made me cry... for days really, but the good cry-but in a way it's all good these days.

I have been wanting to reach out to you for some time now, to share my story about where I was on Christmas Day when you had to say goodbye to your sweet boy.

My sweet Norah was born July 27 of last year. Here we are almost a year later, and we are still in the PICU at Primary Children's. With the exception of a few intermittent stays at other hospitals, the PICU has been our home, and the staff is an extension of our family.

On Christmas Day, I was returning from the breastpumping room in the PICU to take my milk to the freezer. I had stopped to chat with the clerk and the charge nurse about Norah. The charge nurse was asked to pick up a call on hold. I didn't know it at the time, but it was someone calling from U of U Hospital to discuss arrangements for your sweet Colum to be with you. I only caught bits and pieces of the conversation - they were deciding if you would go to them, or if he would come to you. I remember the charge nurse's exact words, "We would love to have them here". Whatever needed to happen, they would make it work. The clerk began to cry, knowing exactly what the discussion was about. I didn't want to be nosy or risk a HIPAA violation, so I went back to Norah's room.

I remember being deeply affected by what you were going through. I had so many thoughts running through my head about families that were happy and oblivious to what my own family was going through. Then I thought of your family, and the enormous tragedy that you were feeling and enduring.

That evening, we moved to a different room in the unit. They eventually dubbed it "Norah's Corner", where I decorated it lovingly to look less like a hospital room and more like a baby's room. Shortly after we moved, something went wrong. Norah turned blue, and our nurse struggled to get resuscitation going so she called the code. Before I knew it, the room was filled with ten or fifteen staff members, including those that I later saw you thanked personally from your blog. But in the moments it took them to respond, I was able to help our nurse manage Norah's desat, and get her to come back to us.

But something later stuck in my head; something I felt with intensity. I am not at all religious, but I couldn't help but wonder if little Colum was there passing through that Christmas evening, helping Norah through the scary moments and close call. I will always remember the unit being filled with tears that day, and I now know why. But it wasn't just the visitors that were grieving. The entire staff was moved by what was going on.

Our situations are so different, but I think of you often. I thought of you today, as I walked through the PICU, which has been very quiet lately. Though I have not met you guys, sometimes I think I can feel Colum and the other angel babies there in the unit with us, watching over us while we endeavor to get Norah strong enough, big enough, and well enough to someday come home. And when that finally happens, I'll think of you on that day, too.


There are so many things I love about this email.  I love the thought of Colum comforting baby Norah.  Also, I can't wait to go up to Primary Children's now and meet Shauna and Norah!  I've known since I was in the hospital that I'd go there and bring the nurses cards and some treats and hopefully meet one of them that were there by Colum's side.  It's absolutely heartbreaking to me that I couldn't be there with him.  I miss him.  I've been crying an extra whole lot since Father's Day, or at least it feels like it.  Sometimes when we go places that we haven't been since the accident and Colum was with us, I close my eyes and try to imagine what it used to feel like when life was normal.  To be there with him again.  I know that he helps push me through my painful days, he helps me jog a little longer, he doesn't want me to just lay down and die.  I'm choosing to live.  Because I know my baby lived everyday to the fullest and I need to be strong.

I visited him yesterday at his new headstone.  This week and next is getting to be too out of control and I'm starting to feel overwhelmed again.  I finally had a few minutes, alone, and I went there and talked to him before it started to rain.  I talked to him about a lot of things.  I asked him to come and play with Finn in his dreams.  I cried and told him how bad I miss his snuggles.  And I asked really nicely to send me some more 'monsters' that like to cuddle to us.  Finn says he'd like "a girl baby and a boy baby".  

Click here to read Shauna's blog.  Her daughter Norah was born with a skeletal dysplasia that effects the growth of her bones.  Her little chest is just too small to accommodate her lungs.  They decided that her breathing problems would best be treated with long-term ventilation. She had her tracheotomy surgery then at six weeks, and has been trach/vent dependent ever since.  What they did not forsee was that she would only tolerate an ICU-only ventilator. The first six months of her life were very scary. She was constantly needing resuscitation.  

Even though Shauna and I have only exchanged a few emails I can tell we will make great friends.  I can't imagine how sleep deprived she has got to be.  She is an absolute beautiful person and an amazing writer.  Babies are such little miracles and it's so easy to take the healthy ones for granted.  Norah is an absolute doll face.  She's a fighter.  And maybe next year on Colum's Birthday race we can help raise money to help their family :)  I think that will be swell, don't you?  


okay... everybody's okay

On Monday, as I was driving Finn and my niece Brooke to Preschool we got hit by another car.  It was minor.  Everything was okay.  She hit me in the back, I didn't see it coming.  I looked in my rearview and saw the car, stopped and then flipped around.  At first it looked like she was going to keep on driving (& I was going to chase them down believe me) but drove over a half a block and then pulled over.  I pulled behind her.  I saw that she was talking to some one on the phone.  I sat there for a minute (assuming she was talking to the police station).  She didn't get out of her car, she was moving around, I knew she was fine.  I could tell she wasn't talking to the police station, so I called them.  Don't freak out Kelly, you're okay, it's just a minor wreck, EVERYBODY'S OKAY.  

"Does anybody in the other car need an ambulance?", I pulled up to her car (the car that hit me), and I rolled down my window.  I expected her to look a little bit sorry or tell me that she was sorry or ask me if I/we were okay.  She opened her door as I motioned and asked her if she and then saw a little boy in the car with her if they were okay.  She gave me a very rude look and nodded her head yes, and no she didn't need an ambulance.  

The dispatch lady asked me if I was okay and I said something on the lines of, "I'm okay but I think I'm gonna freak out.  I was in a horrible accident a few months ago and I can feel a panic attack brewing".    As the policeman approached the scene of the minor accident I rolled down my window he looked at me like I was a freak as he said, "you okay, dispatch said you were very anxious".  "No, I'm okay.  I was in a horrible accident a few months ago... It was on Christmas Eve....",..."did you happen to hear about it?".  He wasn't even really listening to a word I had said, "in this city?", he asked.  "No", I looked down.  I hate him.  I'm not going to explain why I'm acting a little anxious.  Then the tears began to fall.  The officer just walked away as I started sobbing.  I put my head in my hands.  I still had my Ovation Hair Therapy treatment in my hair that I left in overnight & I could feel it in my fingers.  It looks like a mixture of crusty and greasy at the same time.  My brother came to get the kids so they could actually go to Preschool.  

I started filling out the accident report as he walked over to the other car.  Another officer pulled up.  He walked straight over to the other car too.  They were very friendly to her and everybody was sorta laughing.  They were totally flirting with her.  I wasn't listening to what they were talking about but just continued to quietly sob.  I felt like I was going to throw up.  I filled out the names of the little passengers in the car.  I wanted to write Colum.  One of these were filled out in our accident and Colum's name would have gone here.  I hate this.  Just breathe Kelly... deep breathes.  She would look at me every few minutes and give me dirty looks.  I was filling out the insurance part and it hit me... does this one have insurance.  "Do you have insurance", I yelled.  She nodded her head rudely.  "Awesome, that's awesome.", I got an extra dirty look with that response.  I got out of the car and limped over to the officer's car (hadn't taken my meds yet).  My hair was greasy, while crusty and my gray sweatpants were/are about 13 inches too long.   I handed him the paperwork, and asked if he could just make sure she has insurance.  He rolled his eyes and held up an insurance card.  I said "that's what the last guy that hit us had, and funny how that's what the last officer told us.  We believed it about 5-6 surgeries in, until our insurance company called to let us know that he actually wasn't up to date on his payments... just had the card.   So, ya know we are paying for a whole lot of hospital bills, we were life flighted, and.... a funeral, we are paying for a funeral too!"  He literally just sat there annoyed.  Not because he felt bad or sorry for me.  And believe me, I don't want people to feel sorry for me.  This guy was just a complete a$$h01e.  He was annoyed that I was basically asking him to double check that this woman had insurance (because that would require him to actually work).  I hate all the cops in this city, I hate them so bad.  He walked up to my car moments later that according to his system she has insurance.  "Thank you, I've just learned that just because somebody has a card that doesn't mean they have insurance and I don't want have to pay for this too".  

As I drove home, I knew I probably seemed like a very dramatic person that hasn't showered in about a month or so.  I was upset that the lady that hit me was so rude.  But mostly I was pissed about how I was treated by the policeman.  I'm just a person with feelings, I'm not a drug dealer, I was the one who was hit...maybe if I had been all dolled up I would have been treated with more respect?  The report that she filled out said she was only 16.  So the little boy in the back seat was probably her little brother (I assumed she was his Mom).  She's totally forgiven.  The dirty looks and lack of apologetic behavior was probably because she was scared half to death and has no idea what a pain in the butt this is for the other person.  But the officer's flirting just made me more grossed out and all the more inappropriate, but hey they're the Po-lice.  

Note:  I've had bad experiences with the police officers in the city I live in, in the past.  Let's just say years ago my neighbor would stand on a bucket on his side of the yard and beat my dogs with a garden shovel (teeth are missing/gouges in their heads) and torture them in other ways while we were at work... occasionally when we were home.  The fence is 6 feet tall.  The police were called over 10x's and they did nothing.  We had witnesses etc.  I'm sure there ARE SOME good ones where I live.  I've just not yet had the opportunity of meeting one.  I do not think that cops that risk their lives to keep us safe are bad people in any way, fact I consider them to be heros....superheros :)  I've just had a string of bad luck with the ones that I've met.

I know I have a little PTSD when it comes to driving/car wrecks.  I think it's to be expected.  I absolutely HATE it.  My whole day was completely shot.  I still feel a little sick.  I wish I could move or afford to move where I could take the train everywhere sometimes... secretly... just a little.  Or maybe in the middle of nowhere.  I think I'd like that a lot better.


Rainy day

I hope everyone had a happy 4th of July!  We celebrated on the 3rd and 4th.  Stopping in to see Colum and visit his new headstone yesterday on our way to the party.  I teared up when we pulled up to the cemetery yesterday and saw his name with a photo of him on a beautiful stone.  I'm still so proud of us for actually pushing ourselves to do it.  "See you later, Colum" Finn says as he waves while we pulled away.   Last night our friends put together an amazing show of fireworks but as you would look towards the mountains you could see a horrible fire in the mountains in Alpine, where Ryan grew up. His Mom's neighborhood had been evacuated and the fire was close to burning down several friends houses that we knew.

While waking up this morning my room seemed dark for a summer morning.  And then I began to hear the rain fall.  Rain in the Summer has got to be one of the most beautiful and refreshing things.  The air smells crisp and prayers are being answered.  The rain put me in an exceptionally swell mood and after a very lazy morning I told Finn that this rain made me want to go to Zupa's and get some soup.  Finn said, "yeah, the rain makes me want some Dr Pepper and grilled cheese."  He for some reason associates Dr. Pepper with Zupa's it's something he only wants when we go there.  As we were driving I smiled.  This was the first weather change that my body didn't severely ache (knock on wood).  I try and take notice of all the good things.  Being in a hospital bed for 2 months and having aches and pains all the time, I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to just pick up and run to Zupa's on a rainy summer day for a very long time.  I'm so grateful that I was able to enjoy today.  I'm so lucky to have the cutest little guy to hang out with me everyday.  I'm excited that I continue to make progress on my running (10 minutes in a row last week, oh and I walked the entire 5k on Saturday!).

When I stopped taking my thyroid medicine a little over a month ago, I instantly gained 10 lbs.  Since then I stopped eating sugar and am eating very low carbs.  My weight fluctuates down a couple lbs but then it jumps back up when I blink.  I hate feeling chubby and having very little hair at the same time.  I recently found a new Dr that I love who can monitor my thyroid.  I've struggled with thyroid problems for more than half of my life and am very in tune with my body.  It's very difficult to find Dr's around here that primarily prescribe bio-identical hormones, which is what I prefer.  She said that I shouldn't have just abruptly stopped taking all my thyroid medicine, they should have just lowered my dose.  "They", don't specialize in thyroids so I place no blame on any one.  I just wanted my hair to stop falling out, was so excited to have answers, and was doing what I was told.  The moment I stopped taking it I didn't feel like myself.  I would just be sitting there and feel a panic attack coming on, out of nowhere.  I would get extreme social anxiety and was very irritable and fatigued.  My new Dr put me back on a low dose and scheduled a follow-up for 2 weeks.  I'm secretly hoping that the low dose, and eating no sugar/low carbs helps those 10 lbs to melt away....very quickly.  Having Hashimoto's Disease (my type of hypothyroidism) + PCOS = a very crappy low metabolism.  Usually staying away from sugar, even most fruits is the only thing that really helps me stay at a decent weight.  When I run 5+ miles a day I can eat whatever I want and not gain a pound though.  So here's to getting to a healthy weight, being able to run 5+ miles a day, and then getting knocked up.  Hopefully in that order.  Hopefully at lightning speed.  I think I may go watch something good and walk/jog on my treadmill (for the 1st time since the accident) since we aren't doing much physical therapy this week due to the holiday.

Anybody have similar problems and tips that help them?  

Have a good weekend.


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!