Sunday, March 5, 2017

Marching On

I am wise to the bruising effects of March.  It begins with sleepless nights, fragile emotions and a stirring over silly issues that I would disregard during a different time.  Anything can trigger the reserve of tears that rest just barely below the surface.  My chest weighs heavy and I begin to stir.  At first I just think I am a little too busy, possibly frustrated with an issue the kids' are dealing with......No, it's March.  Next month is April.  April marks another birthday, another milestone representing the should have been, what was, and the never will be.

Every year I try to find peace with these dates.  I exist in two places.  There is always a struggle with how to share and honor the memory of Timmy, allowing others to visit my veiled existence.  Social media has changed everything.  Although sharing the most difficult part of my life in a place where we have all become so overly exposed and jaded is not something I am comfortable with, I use it in hopes that people will remember my child.  It's desperate and needy, but worth it if Timmy's name is spoken and people take a moment to reflect on that laugh, those twinkly eyes, and his incredible personality.   If I am exceptionally lucky it may render a story or picture that I had either forgotten or never knew existed.

My finger hovers reluctantly over "post".  I hit return knowing there will be that wonderful group of people, whom I have counted on relentlessly over the years.  I cherish their responses because they knew my child and have worked hard to support our family.  I have yet to find the words to express my gratitude for those cherished comments and often find,  regretfully, I cannot reply.  I do it hoping it will let my children know their brother was important and expressing emotion, even if it hurts and leaves you vulnerable, is healthy.  I push that button because I feel my sister needs to know her pain is shared and the memories of the good were real.  I do it to cope with those who have actively tried to forget.  That is the most painful. Timmy was too loved for me to allow for that and to them I suggest they grow a pair.

Some people I am sure do their research to see what took Timmy's life and then cross it off their list of concerns as to if it could happen to their own child.  We all do that, right?  Once I had a young mother tell me how she would have never let the doctor's miss such a thing.  I handled it well, I did not punch her ........wait, that doesn't sound very nice.  I did not express my internal reaction to her insensitive and ignorant comment.  Better?  I did go home and "unfriend" her.  I never said I was mature.  Then, there is always that one person who means well and decides to inquire, share or express at a large event with lots of people present.  I am still not at the point where I don't cry each and every time I speak of Timmy so these occasions I don't appreciate.  The people who put themselves out there to offer a kind word or ask me about the child they had not met are sweet and I am grateful for those moments and thankful when presented in a more intimate manner.  I know it takes bravery to inquire and offer support.  Even if I cry, it's ok.  Maybe now they understand my strange response when I was asked how many children I have.  Definitely the most dreaded and painful question.

Today, I found the story below. It was written by Tyler when he was ten.  A little gift from the past to nurse me through March, along with four beautiful smiles I can see, voices I can hear and faces I can touch.  I love you.

He was born April 18.

I remember when she told me because it was the night before Halloween.
It was the night before Halloween when my mom told the kids-my brother Anthony, my sister Natalia and me that  she was going to have a baby. 

I was really excited when I found out I was going to have a baby brother or sister. It was hard to wait; I wanted to be born right away. 
We talked about the baby a lot during dinner and other times when my family was together.  We talked about what we’d name it if it was a boy or a girl. My mom liked the name Timothy. We all guessed how much it would weigh and how long it would be.  We talked about where the kids would go when my mom and dad were at the hospital.

Got home from school and she was having labor pains so my dad took us all to the hospital. Watched TV in the hospital room where Timmy was born. We felt excited that the baby was finally going to be born and we were hoping that he’d be a healthy baby when he came out. 
My mom was screaming really loud but she kept saying, “Don’t worry, Kids, I’m fine!” 

One hour later Timmy was born. 
He was the only one of us who broke his own water. The Doc had to break the water on all the rest of us.
We were going to do a thing where one of us would hold Tim first , one would cut the umbilical cord, and one would choose his middle name. The doc cut the cord, my mom thought of a middle name first, but I got to hold the baby first. 

The second he came out I got to start videotaping my mom smiling and laughing and crying all at the same time.  
I gave my dad the video camera so I could hold Timmy. I was the first person to hold Timmy besides my mom. 
The doctor poured some water over his head and cleaned him.

My cousins and some friends came right after Timmy was born. At one point we had 17 people crammed into a room, or 18 if you count Timmy! 

Tim, Mom, and Dad stayed at the hospital for two days. 
The first night I stayed with my neighbors across the street and the second night I stayed with a friend.
My mom and dad let me come to the hospital every day instead of going to school because I really wanted to be with Timmy. 
Every morning my Dad picked me up and I got to stay there all day. I got to hold Timmy and watch the few times he opened his eyes. This was a happy moment for me and my mom and dad. 

I even remember how much he weighed and how long he was. 

One of my  most special memories is my brother Timmy being born. 




Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Remembering Timothy Max Quatraro: Ten Years

Remembering Timothy Max Quatraro: Ten Years

Ten Years

It has been ten years since I watched Timmy twinkle with excitement and call me Mama in a way that only he could.  "Mmmmaammma!"  That big personality never got to be matched by his size.  I got to celebrate two birthdays with him.  Two.  Yes, I am counting the day he was born.  How could I not?  He came early and fast.  Thank god, because we needed to savor every moment. We were blissfully unaware that time was not on our side.

I had a strange intuition about Timmy.  It was like we had met before his birth.  I remember his blue eyes and charisma were expected, even familiar.  Perhaps our friends and family had a sense too because they were immediately invested in being a part of his life.  He was not just our child and that was evident the day he he was born.  The hospital room was flooded with those anxious to cradle this little bundle.  It was bliss.

To this day I draw strength from the love and memories supplied by so many dear people whom were present in Timmy's life.  They laughed with us during his bouts of deep, guttural laughter in response to silly exchanges from his siblings, anxiously offered arms to snuggle him with at games, parties, school functions and gatherings, celebrated his milestones, and treasured him with us.  He used to ask for all of you, knew your names, and squealed when we approached your homes.

Today I am remembering so many precious things about Timmy.  I still can't speak of him without crying.  That's okay, it means someone else is thinking of him too, speaking his name, and sharing.  The years I have had to live without kissing that sweet face have changed me.  I have many quirks and triggers that make life a little harder at times.  I hate being asked how many children I have.  I have FIVE!  However, I often lie just to save myself the torment of the questions that ensue when I offer the truth.  Inwardly, I silently apologize to Timmy.  I feel like I have been physically kicked when people use the word "death" with his name.  He had many things, however I loath to hear his beautiful name linked with a word that signifies such loss, pain, and suffering.  I still struggle when visiting certain places he loved.  It just doesn't feel right to return without him.  I will never again return to the weeping willow tree in Murrayhill where he ran, laughed and played with his siblings and good friends, Ruby, Lucy, and Grace.  It was Talia's 10th birthday and they were all so free, running around the lake and watching him call out to the ducks.  None of us knew he would be gone ten days later.

Today, I am reflecting on a moment when I experienced pure joy.  I remember looking down at Timmy in his stroller as he chattered away.  Thank goodness he was an early talker so I could hear his voice speak the names of the people he adored.  He was so full of life and the sun was shining down on that soft spray of blonde hair.  We had just dropped off the kids at the bus stop and I felt so overwhelmed by how blessed my life was.  That was two days before everything changed.  Today, my joy is different.  It is veiled and no longer innocent and pure.  In it's place is a gratitude that words cannot express.  I am grateful for the 16 months and 27 days I had with Timothy Max Quatraro, my family and our friends.  Timmy opened our eyes and taught us how much good there is in this world and how fragile life is.

Today, please find some pure joy, do something kind, hug a little tighter, and think of our boy.

I love you to heaven and back sweet boy.
















Friday, April 18, 2014

Timmy At Age Nine

     Today should be Timmy's ninth birthday.  I do not come to this blog as much as I used to.  Frankly, it is too painful.  I used to marvel at my beautiful little ball of joy, love and curiosity and feel such excitement for what the future held for him.  Today I am trying not to be consumed by the what ifs.  I will feel grateful he was mine.  I will cherish that I heard him call me Mama, saw him explode with those beautiful guttural giggles and let the memory of  him welcoming me home from running errands with pure joy as he ran to me for loves linger a little longer today.  I will also share a story I carry with me regularly and hope in generates some good in honor of my Timmy.

     I can think of nothing more important in life than the sweetly profound rise and fall of your child's chest.  The  memory of the moment I peaked in on Timmy in his crib and waited for that comforting movement with no relief is crushing.  Many thoughts passed through my mind as I tried to revive him.  It was just the two of us, alone in the house.  I wondered if or when he woke up if he would be the same person?  I thought about his beautiful brain that allowed him to do so many magical things and tried with desperation to revive that life and to see his chest rise and fall.  He was gone.

     People are good and without the support and understanding of so many family, friends and strangers we would have never made it through losing Timmy.  Even today, my phone alerts me of a text from a dear friend who has stopped her normal routine to let me know she is remembering Timmy and thinking of us.  I knew I could never repay everyone but I was determined to pay it forward one day.

     Families all need to deal with grief in different ways.  We huddled together and loved one another but still needed a way to fill the gaping hole in our hearts.  We needed to hold a little one, hear laughter and offer some of this love that ached to be put somewhere.  We wanted a baby.  After costly surgery and treatments It was confirmed I was pregnant on what would have been Timmy's birthday.

     This pregnancy was different.  I was tremendously private and very desperate to grieve Timmy without being in the public eye.  My arms felt empty everywhere I went and my greatest fear was being caught off guard by running into someone I knew.  To this day I cry every time someone mentions Timmy when I am not prepared.  I am grateful he is remembered but cannot control the tears.  Except for Tony and the kids I preferred to be isolated from the outside world as I learned to live with my new normal.  So, my pregnancy remained a secret.

     One day I received a call from my OB.  One of my prenatal screening tests revealed I had a heightened risk of having a child with abnormalities.  I would have to endure more tests and it could take up to a month to learn the results.  The wait was unbearable.  It wasn't the fact that I may have a child with a disability that I struggled with.  I knew I would love my child no matter what.  It was the prospect that he or she may get teased on the playground and I would not always be able to come to the rescue.  I wanted to know what resources and activities would be available to nurture my child and allow them to feel like a welcomed part of their environment.  I needed to plan so I could offer our baby everything possible to thrive but did not know what I was planning for.  I felt helpless and scared.

     The day finally arrived and we received the results of the CVS.  We were having a healthy boy.  That day I gained a very deep respect for the parents who receive different news.  I knew that I wanted to help them and hopefully, one day, their children as well.  I had no idea how.

     We had Turner on the same day of the month we lost Timmy, the 14th.  He was healthy and we were incredibly grateful for this little bundle of love.  I sat for hours and watched his chest rise and fall with bittersweet emotion.

     Our family worked hard to try and make life as normal as possible while still working to cope with Timmy's absence.  One thing we did was let Talia began all-star cheerleading, something she had wanted to do for some time.  At one of the first events I watched a team from her gym perform.  They were called StyleShock Team Shine it was compromised of individuals who had disabilities.  They were magnificent!  The joy, confidence and excitement that was exuded from this little team was jaw dropping and I knew I had to be a part of it.

     Our family began volunteering for Shine the next season.  The athletes and parents were people I both respected and adored.  Their strength, perseverance and ability to focus on what really matters in life is like nothing I have ever experienced.  They brought out the best in everyone and inspired people everywhere they went.  Privately, I was grateful they filled a need I didn't know I had.  I felt happy for the parents that their children's chests could rise and fall and wanted to somehow be a part of offering all of them something, anything.

     Next year will be our fifth season with Shine.  Turner goes to every event and the team is part of his life and has been since he was a baby.  I am always touched by the blend of Turner and Shine.  Neither would have touched my life had it not been for Timmy.  They are the rainbow after a storm.

     Today, on Timmy's birthday I will focus on the amazing things that this golden thread that was my child, still weaves.  If you would like to honor him, release a balloon, remember his laugh, do something good or make a donation to Shine(the link is below).  Mama loves you to the moon and back sweet boy.
https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=AAMCT36ZCBSHC 


Friday, September 14, 2012

Six Years

Today I woke up with that familiar feeling I have grown to learn to live with.  The what ifs and what could have beens are overwhelming as I reflect on the charisma, wisdom and beauty that Timmy posessed.  He should be here.  We learn to remember and honor him in healthy ways that allow his life to be remembered and cherished.  His absence will never be easy but the golden thread that Timmy wove through our lives created a beautiful tie that will connect us to him always.

My beautiful little boy offered a pure joy that I will hold close for the rest of my life.  I will remember how it felt to push him in his stroller as we returned from taking Boo, Tyler and Talia to the bus stop.  The sun was cast on his face and his soft feather like hair was too irresistable to not touch.  He chattered about a kitty and I asked him, "Who loves Tim Tim?"  He answered, "Mama."

Mama loves you Tim Tim.  Yesterday, today and tomorrow.  We all do.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sunshine never feels the same without you but it does offer me a wisp of you your warmth dear one. Mommy loves you.

"I heard your voice in the wind today
and I turned to see your face;
The warmth of the wind caressed me
as I stood silently in place.

I felt your touch in the sun today
as its warmth filled the sky;
I closed my eyes for your embrace
and my spirit soared high."-----unknown

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Brother's Birthday Wish


This is Boo, I just wanted to say a couple things! Personally I loved and love Timmy with all my heart I would look forward coming home and seeing his gigantic smile, he was an amazing brother. He was the best birthday present i have ever got and will ever get. At my old house I would have an album in my room of pictures just of him and I, Practically every night I would lay in my bed and just stare at him and start crying. One thing that he loved was bounce balls he had an obsession over them almost a bigger obsession than me with pokemon a while ago. Mostly all i'm trying to say is Happy birthday Timmy I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!
Happy birthday, sweet Timmy! We're remembering you today, like we do every day, and what a wonderful, kind, happy boy you were. Miss you! XXOO

The Andrich Family

Monday, February 7, 2011

I Want To Hold Your Hand


Sometimes I feel ridiculous wearing my lockets and kissing your picture. They're not you and the metal or glass that contain your image don't compare to your soft hand and beautiful face. Mama misses you always.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Remembering Timothy Max Quatraro: Avoidance

Remembering Timothy Max Quatraro: Avoidance

Avoidance


I had planned to leave a post honoring Timmy on his birthday. Sometimes it just hurts too much. This was so on April 18th, I just could not bring myself to do it. On those days every breath is calculated, a veil of tears rest right behind my eyes, ready to expose me no matter where I am. It's exhausting.

On Timmy's birthday we usually stay at home and send him balloons. This year was a banquet to celebrate Talia and all the kids from her gym who worked so hard all year. My first reaction was not to go, but like Disneyland for Turner, I want to honor the joy in all our children. Talia had a great time, I was proud of her. Timmy would have loved to be part of that gym and play with all those neat kids like Turner does. I can't say I jumped in and sat with the team, but I went.

I have been surprised by messages from people that have taken my breath away. As a parent who lost a child I will tell you, my dear friends, it means more than you will ever know. The rhythm of these messages alone carried great meaning for me. They were all within a very short period of time and it made me feel like Timmy's golden thread is still woven into the world. I got messages from people I went to junior high and high school with whom I have not seen in over twenty years. They read about Timmy and took the time to acknowledge this with me and I am grateful.

I wanted to respond to several messages from friends but for some reason I struggle with replies during this time. They carry Tony and I, giving us the support we need to get through the everyday of it all and yet I have this weird block when it comes time to express our gratitude. How do you find words to thank someone for such an important gesture? The pain of when he is forgotten is great and you all took the time to step inside my heart and give it much needed strength.

Below is the beautiful poem my friend Lori wrote for us. Again, how do I thank you all?

Love,

Tiffanie

Sometimes there is no answer

In the whisper in the wind

As we ask the questions

Again and again…

We ask if there is an end in sight

For a broken heart

We ask the what if’s and wish

We were never apart

As time goes on without you

Always there is love

Your memory remains within

As you shine from up above

I am brought back to this day

Just once a year

However you are with me

Each day, always my dear…

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Remembering Timothy Max Quatraro: Little Surprises

Remembering Timothy Max Quatraro: Little Surprises

Little Surprises



This is the time of year I always feel very conflicted. Boo celebrates his birthday on April 17th, he will be eleven. The following day, the 18th, is the day Timmy would be five. It is very strange to have such an emotional divide regarding your children and a day that should purely be a time of celebration. The 18th only brings pain for me right now. On Monday I watched Turner meet Mickey Mouse and stare in awe at the beautiful Disneyland fireworks. I missed his brother and ached over the fact that he could not be there while in that same moment felt joy for the little boy standing before me.

Things have been quiet until this week. People get busy, people move on. I don't think I ever will, honestly I don't want to. Out of the blue I was sent the final illustrations of Timmy that will be featured in a book. They are beautiful and I am waiting to find out when I can share them here. Last night a new friend sent me a poem that I will post on Timmy's birthday that takes my breath away. Earlier this week an old friend from my childhood sent me a message about Timmy-I have not seen her in over twenty years but was so touched by the gesture. Last night another friend posted a link on Facebook because her son is trying to earn money for the American Heart Association-this came literally moments after I received the poem. All of these things happening in the same week make me feel hope that he's close by. A mother can dream.

I find myself deeply grateful to my friends who still have Timmy's pictures up in their home. Thank you.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Changes


We finally moved. It was necessary but extremely difficult. To leave the house was to remove ourselves from our last physical connection to Timmy. This was the home we moved to so I could walk him along the trails, take him swimming at the pool and one day hold his hand as I escorted him through the doors of Nancy Ryles Elementary for his first day of kindergarten. I heard him laugh in his bedroom, watched him squeal and clap with excitement when he saw me come home from a birthday outing with Talia. It was on the deck he sat naked, happily slurping a popsicle while my mom and I watched with pure enjoyment.

This was also my living reminder of all that was lost. A house of broken dreams and my worst nightmares that became a reality. Many people were probably confused with and not in agreement with yet another change in our household. I had to do it so I could be a parent again. I needed to drive home without hearing the sounds of that horrible day ring through my mind. We waited, probably longer than we should have to make this change but wanted to be sure it was the right decision and we felt it necessary that we all take things slowly.

I don't regret the move. It has been a good choice for our family, regardless of the surprising response or lack of one(silence often speaks louder than words) by many friends. I don't ask them to understand, nor do I expect it. How can they? I pray they never do.

This month I would be registering Timmy for kindergarten. There is no dollar amount, or thing I wouldn't do to place a character themed backpack over his shoulders, take way too many photos and send him off for his first day of school while I stay behind, fighting back tears. Now, I put that energy into other things. Instead of growing exasperated with how active and constantly curious Turner is I am grateful for the mischief. It means he is here, he is growing, and I can hug him whenever I want. For every hug I give him I whisper inwardly, "I love you too Timmy".

Thursday, August 27, 2009

To Timmy, Love Dad


Timmy,

I know I have not been the father to you since your death that I would have been in life.  I’m sorry for the lack of tears I have cried and the silence I have maintained.  Losing   you was shocking and so wrong.  It goes deeper than my heart is allowing me to feel and is bigger than my brain can master.

What I know is that you were a special and amazing little boy and I feel the loss of the relationship we were forming and the person who you would have become.  I feel you have given us a glimpse of that person in Little Buddy, as he is as spectacular in his way, as you were in yours.  I thank you for that – I thank you as a father and a husband for bringing that joy back into our lives.  

I thank you for watching over our family and making sure we are together and safe.  I want you to know that I love knowing you are very much a part of what we do and who we are.  I want you to know that you give me courage to be better than I am.

Timmy, I want you to know that you are my son and always will be and that I look forward to the day we meet again.  I look forward to being the dad I know I was going to be, to a son as remarkable as you. 

I love and miss you very much,

Dad



Friday, June 26, 2009

Gone Too Soon

This morning during a tribute to Michael Jackson the song Gone Too Soon was played.  It touched me and made me think of Timmy.  These are the lyrics.  Mommy misses you Timmy.........

Like A Comet
Blazing 'Cross The Evening Sky
Gone Too Soon
Like A Rainbow
Fading In The Twinkling Of An Eye
Gone Too Soon
Shiny And Sparkly
And Splendidly Bright
Here One Day
Gone One Night
Like The Loss Of Sunlight
On A Cloudy Afternoon
Gone Too Soon
Like A Castle
Built Upon A Sandy Beach
Gone Too Soon
Like A Perfect Flower
That Is Just Beyond Your Reach
Gone Too Soon
Born To Amuse, To Inspire, To Delight
Here One Day
Gone One Night
Like A Sunset
Dying With The Rising Of The Moon
Gone Too Soon
Gone Too Soon

Michael Jackson Gone Too Soon lyrics 

Monday, May 11, 2009

Brothers




Yesterday Turner, Timmy's little brother whom he never met, matched Timmy in age.  It was a brief moment, gone in a mere sixty seconds.  Then the clock ticked another minute and Turner grew older than his big brother.  All this on Mother's Day.  These milestones are bittersweet-crushing and relieving.  Turner has survived a day I have fretted over since his conception and for that I am deeply grateful.  Timmy should be here to proudly reveal his crayon created card that Talia would have helped him make for me.  Now, it will be Turner who holds the crayon box. 

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Today, On Your Fourth Birthday

Today, on your fourth birthday I am sending you more love than I can ever express my sweet Timmy.  I know if you were here you would be sparkling and full of excitement.  You are with us everywhere we go, a part of our every breath and the inspiration for all that is good.  You were a gift the day you were born and I am grateful for every second I had to hold you, feel your breath on my cheek, tickle your tummy and hear your laughter.

I love you to Heaven and back.