06-10-11 / Thank You….
I know I said I would write this a while back and I have had great intentions; those intentions just didn’t seem to turn into actions. I think part of me is so afraid to write this because I’m mortified that I might leave someone out; if I do, please know that I haven’t forgotten your acts of kindness or the love you’ve shown my family, I’m just unable to get my thoughts together at this given point in time. So many people have touched our lives through this journey with Thomas and I could never repay any of you, I can only say a giant “thank you” for all that you have done.
Thank you for your willingness to pray over our family! Just before we released the balloons at Thomas’s service I spoke a few jumbled words and part of that speech was to thank you guys for your prayers. I have to confess that we had just stopped praying, as bad as that sounds, it’s true. I think, for me, it just became so laborious and tiresome. So many people said I should pray for a miracle, but until you’re faced with something like this, you just don’t know how hard that is to do. I never once prayed for a miracle, I never once asked God to “give me my way”; I simply asked that His will be done. Over time I hated that prayer, I hated letting go of all control and telling God to put me through the worst pain that any parent can experience; so I just gave up. I can honestly say, the only way we made it through all of this in one piece was because of prayers; not ours, yours!
When we first found out about the fate of our baby boy we were so devastated. I couldn’t tell anyone, Aaron had to do all the dirty work. I couldn’t even begin to bring myself to call my parents to tell them what was happening, but the moment he called them they were on their way to Beaumont to do whatever needed doing; it just so happened what needed doing was to take Aaden away from the depressing cloud hanging over our home until we could get our heads right. Every single person in our family stepped up to the plate. We all walked this journey together; the toughest journey of all of our lives so far and we made it! I know this is the hardest thing my parents have had to be a part of, not only losing their grandbaby, but also watching as Aaron and I struggled with losing our baby. Each of you played a part in all of this and you know the part you played. I thank you from the bottom of my heart! You all love Aaron and I unconditionally, no matter what; you have shown us what “family” means and we will never forget it!
Our Friends (who also happen to be a part of our family):
Every single one of you has impacted our lives as much as you think we’ve impacted yours. You have all hurt with us, cried with us, laughed with us, rejoiced with us and mourned with us. We love all of you so much and are so thankful for your friendship! Some of you sat at the hospital with us that entire weekend, skipping showers, without toothbrushes, missing quality sleep and good meals so you could be there “just in case”. We had so many visitors, so many of you stopped in to share in the joy that Thomas brought to all of our lives for the short time he was here. We have made so many new friends along this path that I am thrilled to call my friends. In tragedy there can be happiness and I consider my new friendships a source of happiness. All of you that worked so hard to raise money for our family, those that were there for me every single time I needed to cry, those that brought me books, made us gifts, brought us dinner and brought gifts for Thomas even though you knew he wouldn’t get to “use” them. The texts, emails, cards and phone calls we would receive daily meant the world to us. Thank you all for just being our friends and doing what friends do. Whatever it took to get us through this, you did it.
Dr. Sherman and staff:
I’m not sure how many of you follow this, but I wouldn’t dream of leaving this group of people out! What an amazing experience this has been. From such tragedy came so much love, love from a doctor, her team of nurses and staff. It’s not everyday that you are able to encounter a medical team like the one I had the pleasure of receiving treatment from. All of you hold such a special place in my heart, from Dr. Sherman down to the sweet lady that would always laugh with us as she scheduled our next appointment. There truly is no way to thank all of you, there is no way to repay you for the extraordinary treatment I received; please just know that all of you are loved by my entire family. Thank you so much for making this terrible journey a little less painful.
Through God’s Eyes Photography (Lee-Ann Alpers):
Where do I begin? From the moment we decided to announce our sad news to everyone, you have stepped up to the plate. I remember receiving the email from you offering your services on the day of Thomas’s birth; you will always be special to me! You have taken our family photos since Kamryn was 6 months old, that’s 5 years! What you did for our family is something that cannot hold a price tag! Those memories are priceless and we all thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
Haute Photography (Casey Sturrock):
We have been friends for many years and I won’t get all mushy because I know you don’t like that! I love you so much and will always cherish our friendship! You were there from beginning to the end, you were way stronger at the hospital than I thought you would be; I’m so proud of you. I’m proud of the work you do; you’re an amazing photographer and an amazing friend. I love you! That’s all!
Aaron and I have the honor of wearing our baby boy’s thumbprint around our necks daily and that’s because of two women. Monica at BBS, a little boutique in Beaumont, was kind enough to allow one of my closest friends, Lauren, to imprint his thumb and return it to her to create an amazing keepsake that we will always wear close to our hearts. I’m so thankful that you thought to do this, Lauren. Without you and Monica, we wouldn’t have such a priceless treasure!
St. Elizabeth NICU Team:
What a special group of people! I never dreamed I would have to deal with a NICU team in the birth of one of my own children, but I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have made it without all of you. Each one of you played such an important and special role in the life of our baby boy and I will never forget any of you! We were so blessed by your willingness to serve our entire family and we are all better people after having met each of you. I don’t know that I could do what you do every single day. I was reminded through all of this that I once dreamed of working as a NICU nurse; I do remember having a passion for that line of work, but I also knew that I couldn’t handle the sadness that went along with it. Some of you became more attached to our situation than others, but each of you will always be a vivid memory for me. I have so many special memories with each nurse, but one is so cute that I have to share it. I might have shared it in a previous Blog, so bear with me if that’s the case. This sweet nurse came in on Sunday to kiss Thomas before she left. This might not seem odd, but before she kissed him she said she was so mad at herself for not kissing him when she left the last time she saw him and she was so glad she had a chance to do it then. As she leaned in for a kiss on the cheek, Thomas turned his head and planted one right on her lips. It was so sweet and hilarious at the same time. This was just hours before he passed away and he was mostly nonresponsive; he clearly needed that one kiss from a hot lady! Thank you all for the support you showed Aaron and myself. Thank you for the support and love you showed our family and friends that just refused to leave the hospital. Thank you for never complaining when we buzzed you into our room because we had a scare, big or small. Thank you for just being you and doing the job you do; it has forever changed our lives!
Bro. David and Mrs. Wanda Trumble:
What you did for us is simply off the charts. What would we have done without you? I hadn’t really considered how hard it would be to hand my baby over to the funeral home after he passed; when it came down to that moment I am so glad you were there. You were so kind and patient, you didn’t rush me, you gave me all the time I needed to say “goodbye” to my baby; for that I will always be grateful! The hardest thing I had to do through all of this was to hand my baby to you and watch you drive away. The fact that I knew you loved him made it a tiny bit easier. The fact that when I handed him to you, Mrs. Wanda, you had a blanket ready to swaddle him and hold him tight the entire way to the funeral home made it a tiny bit easier. The fact that you guys are two special people in the lives of our family also made it a tiny bit easier. I know it was very hard for both of you to do, but you did it with such dignity and love; thank you!
Claybar Funeral Home (Orange, Texas):
Hershel Stagner did an incredible job making sure we got everything we wanted. My dad handled every single arrangement leading up to the birth of Thomas; I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Hershel is a friend of his and has been so gracious and kind throughout all of this. After we handed Thomas to the Trumbles I got it in my head that I wanted to go see him every day leading up to his funeral; I wanted to go sit with him at the funeral home until I was forced to bury him. When I voiced this to my dad he immediately got the ball rolling and somehow the ball fell into Hershel’s lap. He stepped up and personally prepared Thomas in a way that they don’t normally do with infants. He informed Dad that Thomas was in good shape and could be viewed soon, but he wasn’t able to promise that he would remain in such good shape; he wanted us to come as soon as we could. The first day that we went to see Thomas at the funeral home was such an incredible feeling. I remember walking into the room and becoming almost joyful, the words that came out of my mouth were, “it’s him”. I don’t know who I was expecting to see, but my heart became so happy just seeing my baby boy again. Hershel was so kind and patient, he allowed us to hold him and love on him in the privacy of a closed room. He shared with us that we could stay until closing time if we wanted, but that he felt it would be best for us to spend as much time with him that day as we wanted because he wasn’t sure he would look so good in the days to follow. After spending time kissing him, holding him and soaking in all of his features one last time we decided to leave and thought that would be our last time with him. Hershel called us daily asking if we’d like to come see him; it meant so much to us that he took the time to check on Thomas and then call us to let us know that he still looked good and we were welcome to come sit with him. What an amazing man he is and what an amazing funeral home we had the pleasure of working with. Thank you Claybar for the work you do, but most of all, thank you, Hershel for being who you are.
Calvary V2 band (Justin and William):
Thank you for the beautiful music! I was dreading having the typical “funeral music” played at my son’s service and you did exactly what I wanted; uplifting, praise and worship! Thank you for being so willing to serve.
I could never thank each person that played a part in all of this, if I did, this would be the longest Blog ever! I do have one last person that I would like to thank and that’s Pam Gaspard. The boys and I were able to get away from life this week and it is all thanks to her. I emailed Pam a while back asking if we could rent her lake house for a few nights after we had a chance to recover from everything and she was so quick to respond. Not only did she say we could use her lake house, she refused to allow us to pay for it. We were able to just relax and enjoy each other for a while. Living in this mess daily becomes very taxing. Aaden’s entire world has been turned upside down and his behavior reflects that. Aaron and I have been able to grow as a couple and as parents, but needed a break from reality. Our reality hasn’t been too much fun this year. 2011 has been the worst year of my life, but this week at the lake was the start of something fresh. We took time to just be a family and ignore everything bad. We spent time thinking of Thomas and wishing he was with us. We collected shells, sand and even a pinecone to bring back for him. He will always be a part of us, he will always be missed on family vacations and in everyday life; we are just ready to celebrate the time we had with him and push forward in life. I will never use the term “move on”; I hate that term! I will never “move on” from my baby, I will never be able to say, “I’ve moved on from the loss of my child”; I will simply push forward and make the most of each day, the same way I would if he was here with me!
It is late and I am very tired! If I have left you out of this “thank you” Blog, please know that I haven’t forgotten; my mind just gets boggled.
Thank you all for loving my family the way you do!
|Gathering sand for Thomas|
|This is the pinecone he picked for his brother!|