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. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tiff, I didn't know about the thread connecting Timmy and Shine -- you've found such a beautiful way to give back, and to keep going. I think of you, all the Qs and Timmy frequently. I will hold you even closer in my thoughts today. <3