Monday, May 21, 2012

Something amazing

I had mentioned in the release post that there was more to Florida than just the release, and there was! There was Doug! Did you ever just meet someone and know you were supposed to meet them for some reason. That is how we felt when we met Doug, or at least I know I did.

It was Monday. The day before the release. We had stopped into our favorite place to eat and drink after a very windy day at the beach. Very windy is quite the understatement here but like true tourists, we fought out the wind and laid on that beach!

I had this sudden recognition of Doug, our bartender, like I had seen him before or knew him. Adam says I do this with everyone I meet, anyhow, I had to know his name. Adam said "stop being silly, Tia". Doug was his name, nothing came to mind...Oh well, I thought. We just all broke out in the song from the hangover movie "Doug, Doug, Dougie, Doug Doug" and continued to sing it for the rest of the week.

I was feeling really down that day. I felt like I was only a second away from a full blown crying session. Like I had tears just waiting on the edge of my eyes, ready to come pouring out. I felt like I was forgetting about Brody that day. Like I hadn't thought of him nearly enough or done anything to remember him. Everyone assured me that we could go back down to the beach and write his name in the sand when we finished up, but I still couldn't shake the sadness.

Doug had went over to a table and came back with something in his hand to show us. I guess the table of customers had gave it to him. It was a little plastic frog. Instantly, my waiting tears couldn't wait anymore. I'm pretty sure the four of us just stared at the frog with amazement and then to each other in awe.

Doug picked up on our behavior and asked if he had done something wrong. I'm not sure if I had suddenly forgotten how to speak or if I knew I just couldn't actually get the words out. After Steve had explained to him that Adam and I lost a son, his name was Brody, and his room theme was frogs, Doug looked at me with the most caring eyes I think that I had ever seen. And with his eyes filled with the same kind of waiting tears I had just had, he said "I lost my son too". He explained to us that his name was Michael, I said that that was Brody's middle name. He was 6 years old and had passed of spinal meningitis. By this time, I'm pretty sure all five of us had tears in our eyes or rolling down our faces.

We then explained to Doug that we were going to Siesta Key the next day for a shell release and that if it was okay, we would like to release a shell for Michael. He loved the idea.

It was an emotional day but certainly one of my favorites. We knew we wanted to meet up with Doug again so we exchanged numbers and met up a few times.

Friday came and I could feel the sadness of our last day on the beach setting in. We met a dog named Hank who was playing fetch in the water with his owner. His fetch toy was what else? A plastic frog!

Soon after Hank left, Doug showed up to spend the afternoon with us. We had a blast that day. Can't you tell?

We went to a place down the beach a little that was putting dollars up just like SKOB in Siesta, only these ones would get donated to Breast Cancer Awareness. We decided Brody and Michael both needed dollars.

When it was time to leave, we all said our goodbyes to Doug and he was so grateful for the things that we had done for Michael. We joked about Brody and Michael and how they were probably saying up in heaven "Hey, wanna really mess with our parents?"

After dinner, we decided, there needed to be a special shell release in Fort Myers too.I thought Michael needed a shell right where his Daddy lived. I was hoping Brody's shell wouldn't break this time. I gave Michael's shell a little kiss and tossed it off the pier.

I gave Brody's shell to Adam and he decided he wasn't into tossing the shell, so he threw it! It made me smile and cry at the same time.

I felt something even different than the first shell release, I felt the need to pray.

I was a bit in shock of how I was feeling and all the great things we had experienced while there and I just needed a moment to reflect and thank God. I also thanked Brody for letting me know that he was there with us in Florida and everywhere...everyday.

Friday, May 11, 2012

I'm ready

It's only been a few days since I wrote, but it's just in my veins today. Flowing right along with my blood today is a joy, a happiness, something I had to share. It's just one of those "good days" and I thought I would spread some happiness around on the frog blog.

I still have some writing to do about vacation but I also have a secret to share...

Before we left, maybe a week before. I had a moment...

I was on Facebook, looking around, posting pictures for B Bands...blah blah blah

Once again, like every grieving mother does, I noticed EVERYONE is pregnant. What gives, holy crap, are we in another baby boom or what? Do people have nothing better to do? ;)

No, but seriously. I used to get so upset and sometimes a little mad at the 2,3, 4 announcements a day. It was getting pretty annoying to me and even more sad.

But...that day, as I was looking at pictures of a baby shower, a single thought went through my head. "hmmm, I should go check out Babies R Us online"...just to see all the cute baby stuff for Baby Lukehart #2. And no kidding, immediately after the thought passed through my mind, I said out loud "Oh my God", I can't believe I just thought that without any ounce of FEAR. NONE.  I was so proud myself. Now, mind you, I didn't actually go and look but I thought about it and I have been thinking about it ever since.

I pointed out pregnant bellies on the beach with a smile instead of a frown, with happiness instead of sadness, with a different kind of envy.

I think I'm finally ready. I'm ready

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Everything I imagined....and more.

I know, I know. It's been forever since I have written. I know everyone has been anxiously awaiting a post about the shell release and I have been equally as anxious to write one....So lets get to it!

First off, I have to say that vacation was nothing short of amazing. Along with it being the most fun I've seriously ever had in my life, I actually witnessed kidding! I will save those for a totally different post because, believe me...They deserve their own!

The shell release was everything I had pictured in my mind ever since I decided to do it. And more. The day of the release, I woke up early and placed all the shells out on the balcony. We had 60 shells when we left PA and something told me to take my markers along on the trip. Something was right! We gained a shell in Fort Myers. A very special shell to me and everyone on the trip, which like I said...deserves it's own special post.

We all jumped in the car and drove up to Siesta. I will tell you, I've never been so anxious in my life. The closer we got, the closer I felt to my old grief, closer to God, and closer to my son. We stayed on the beach during the day and soaked up the sun and I soaked up some deep emotions. Last time that I laying on that beach, staring into the water and into the sky, I felt a little closer to Heaven and this time was no different.

In the evening, we gathered our cameras and the shells and headed back to the water. I was nervous! I wanted it to be perfect. We decided 61 shells wouldn't fit into my hands at once so we did a few at a time.

Adam placed each shell into my hands, one at a time as I said the names in my head, and some just came out, out loud.

There was something amazing going on and I knew I wasn't the only one who felt it.

After the shells were in my hands, I tossed them gently into the water. Looking back, I don't know how I didn't cry.

My mind was actually pretty clear at the time. I didn't think of my grief, I didn't think about the journey of baby loss, I didn't feel pity for being one of many, many grieving mothers, I didn't even feel sad. I did feel memories, rushing through my body so fast that I didn't even get clear pictures of them in my mind. I felt them. I felt every memory each shell ever had, the impact they had made on the lives of their loved ones, and the LOVE that they left behind.

We decided to keep Brody's shell for last.

Adam and I climbed up onto the old pier, I kissed his shell, and tossed. And then.....After throwing 60 other shells with no problem, the wind caught his shell and brought it back. It hit off the cement and broke into pieces. At first, I was devastated. When my hurt eyes looked towards Adam, he started to laugh and then so did I. I've gotten this far in my journey because I came to the conclusion that Brody died for reason. I have my guesses on why but I will never actually know....Same with the shell. I had to realize it happened for a reason. Maybe Brody's soul is so strong, he wanted more, he wanted more pieces, not just one shell. I mean he is essentially the reason why I was doing the release in the first place. My second thought was, well, if he has his Daddy's sense of humor, he probably just thought that was sooooo funny.

Adam and I reflected as we looked through the pictures.

He told me how proud he was of me. I could tell you that in that moment I realized what an amazing husband I had but I would be totally lying. I've known that since the moment I met him, that's why I married him.

I felt so amazing after the release. I didn't feel closure. My heart was still missing a piece, however, my heart grew a little too. I felt my acceptance grow too. I physically cannot dwell on the fact that Brody is gone. I can't let myself go there. But I can remember him, I can honor him, I can do things that help me and other mom's and dad's who have lost....and I will....ALWAYS!