Ryan was here ...

My not-so-sweet nothings, mostly comprised of my feelings at losing my two-day-old son, Ryan David, to congenital heart defects, and to celebrate the arrival of Ryan's healthy little sister, Megan Elizabeth, and hopefully welcome another little miracle into our brood in July 2010.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

"At least ..."

I'm really beginning to despise sentences that are prefaced with those two words.

I realize that many times people just don't know what to say to me after hearing Ryan's story, but where do some of these remarks come from? I know (or would like to think) that people mean well and don't intend to hurt my feelings, but that knowledge doesn't prevent me from feeling hurt or that these people are dismissing what Mike and I - and most importantly, Ryan - went through during that time.

And, I know that sometimes these remarks are made in attempt to make me feel better, but I have yet to receive one of the "at least" remarks that leaves me feeling cheery and blessed.

"At least you can have another one."

Really? Do these people possess the same magical skills that Miss Cleo claims to have, and they just KNOW that I'll have another baby? Right now, the fertility gods feel differently and seem to revel in toying with my already fragile psyche.

I find remarks like this insulting, too, because it makes it seem like Ryan wasn't good enough or that he can be replaced with another baby. Regardless of how many other children I have, there will ALWAYS be a gaping hole in our family - that place where Ryan should be. He wasn't a family pet or a worn-out coat; he was my son ... a living, breathing person. And, what I felt for him can never be replaced in any way. It would be like telling a widow that she can find herself another husband.

"At least he didn't suffer."

Again, the people who say this have no idea what Ryan went through in his 54 hours of life. He didn't suffer? Well, I'd like to know how else you'd describe someone whose heart is struggling for every beat, trying to function in a way that's next to impossible. I'm sure it's not pleasant to be intubated or be poked and prodded every few minutes. Fighting for every single breath IS suffering, in my opinion, so please don't try to minimize all that my little baby had to endure by making an uneduated remark such as this.

"At least you have your health."

That's reassuring. I certainly am grateful that I'm in good health, but that remark just doesn't make sense to me. One has nothing to do with the other; my health in no way relates to the enormous amount of grief I feel over losing my son.

"At least you weren't attached to him."

Yes, someone actually said this to me.

I guess in their mind, it would hurt less if your baby never came home. Whether Ryan came home or not, it still hurts. Horribly. I helped to bring him life, so how could I not be attached to him? He came from Mike and myself. He made me a mommy and Mike a daddy. We prayed for his life and health over his isolette in the NICU. Despite him being attached to countless machines and monitors, we were able to look beyond all of that and see the absolute beauty and innocence in our adorable blonde boy. We cradled him and whispered to him as he took his final breath. If that's not attachment, then I don't know what is.


You'd think I'd be accustomed to these comments by now, but I'm not. And, after nearly two years since losing Ryan and hearing remarks of this nature, I really doubt I'll ever be able to grow accustomed to hearing empty reassurances. I realize that the people making these comments are desperately searching for the silver lining in a situation that is utterly unimaginable to them, because they can't bear the horror of hearing that babies do die sometimes.

If you're in doubt about what to say to a mother - or father - in mourning, offer them a sincere "I'm sorry for your loss."

At least that statement can't be misinterpreted and many times that's all a grieving person wants to hear in their time of need.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Recipe for survival

A Mother's Day Alternative
1 Hooter's buffalo shrimp platter
1 Hooter's buffalo wings platter with bleu cheese
1 Hooter's curly fries platter
1 glass of Coke Classic to wash it all down

Peanut Butter Cup milkshake made with chocolate ice cream from Steak 'n Shake

I realize that this seems like an unconventional Mother's Day meal, but I was searching for a place that wouldn't be crowded and I guess moms don't usually choose Hooter's. Yay, me!

And, the milkshake helped to band-aid me back together a bit after a rough day.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

I'm wishing a Happy Mother's Day to all mothers, but especially to those moms whose arms are empty.

Those of us without living children are easy to overlook on days like this, and I want all the moms of invisible children to receive their due recognition.