Her Last First Day of Football Season

Her Last First Day of Football Season

Football season is here. The countdown has been on since January 6 when Auburn and Florida State faced off in an amazing final BCS National Championship Game before the new Playoff system goes into play. As the clock ticks down and the very first college kickoff is within reach, or even on the same calendar page, plans start being made. Tailgates are planned. Trips to games are scheduled. The excitement builds!

Both of my grandmothers were big football fans. My Mimi (my Dad’s mom) was an NFL gal. Of course, she watched Auburn play, but her Sunday afternoons after my grandfather died were spent watching the NFL. I remember her talking about Refrigerator Perry, Joe Montana, Dan Marino… all those guys who were household names were burned into my brain after hearing her wool suit and pantyhose in all seasons wearing self yell at them on television.

My Grannie, though, she was a college football girl. My Grandaddy much preferred golf and baseball, played as background noise to naps, card games and the heat of summer. But my Grannie? Well, she wanted to watch a hard hitting football game, preferably Auburn, Georgia or Georgia Tech, any day of the week. Those were her grandkids’ alma maters and she did everything she could to support them. Up to and including missing the evening news on Channel 13 to watch a game well past midnight.

I couldn’t help but think about her this weekend.

This time last year we were with her in the ICU, wondering if and when she would recover from the stroke she had suffered on the first Saturday night of football season. She died a few short weeks later.

When I took my walk through her house a few months ago, I only got a few things. I got all the deviled egg dishes I could find, a desk, a few photo albums and a few kitchen items. But the one thing I cherish that sits on my desk is something most people would have thrown into the trash.

It’s my reminder: She had big plans on that Saturday night.

Her Last First Football Saturday

In the emergency room, while she was still able to help us piece together a timeline of when she suffered the strokes, we learned that she did watch the Auburn game and was excited that we won. We know she started the other two games and took her medicine at 10pm. We know she was very mad when we told her that Clemson had beaten Georgia.

She was excited about the start of football season — excited enough to have my aunt write down when and where to watch the important games — and I’m thankful she got to see and enjoy some of it. Getting excited about the start of certain seasons — whether it’s football, NASCAR, deer hunting, golf or hockey — is important. Being able to forward to enjoyable activities is really what life should be about.

This piece of paper is a good reminder to me.

This paper reminds me that she was excited about her evening activities. It reminds me that she always thought about her children and grandchildren (and great grandchildren) and knew that we loved these teams alongside her.

It reminds me that the majority of her last pre-stroke hours were enjoyable for her — spent celebrating her last first day of football season.

Eleven. 11. XI.

Eleven. 11. XI.

CharlieBlue

Two days old, May 23, 2003

Eleven years ago today, you graced us with your presence. You caught us off guard by coming a little bit early and taking forever to be delivered.

You caught us off guard by being so aware, so beautiful, so wise. From the moment you arrived, your eyes told your story.

They were wide and bright, inquisitive and alert. They knew too much.

They knew you had a short time.

When I look back at your pictures, so very few of them, your eyes are always open. I see wisdom and love and know that you lived the life you were meant to live.

It wasn’t to be a long life, but it was to be long enough to touch hundreds and thousands of hearts. It was long enough to leave your mark.

But no matter how many hearts and lives you touched, I would trade it all to have you back.

Happy 11th birthday in Heaven, baby boy. Every breath I take is for you.

**************************

For more information:

Late Onset Group B Strep

Charlie’s Story

 

 

 

A Look Inside The Private Folder Of Grief

Tonight, on Lifetime, a movie called Return To Zero will premiere. The movie was a labor of love for writer/director/producer Sean Hanish, whose own experience with stillbirth and loss drove his passion for creating a film with a storyline based solely around the loss of a child. Return to Zero will take the audience through the highs of pregnancy, the lows of the loss, the struggles of anger and marriage, and hopefully, share that there IS hope after loss.

Over the last 11 years, I’ve heard so many people say, “I don’t know how that feels, so…” when a friend or loved on loses a child. They’re paralyzed with fear over what to say, how to say it, how to empathize, how to understand.

This movie, our community of parents hopes, will shed light on how it feels — how it looks on the inside, behind the scenes, in the marriage, in the heart.

But yesterday, as I was sharing a link on Facebook about the movie, I got a knot in my stomach. It tightened and made me lightheaded for a minute. I recognized the fear. It’s the same fear you get when somebody is going to check up behind you or search through your things, especially things that may be private.

You see? Letting someone see the heartache and pain that only comes with losing a child (no matter how or why) is like letting somebody look into your private, locked folders on your computer. It’s giving them a key to your heart and giving them free access to roam around and look.

Sure, I want people to understand a small portion of what grief feels like. And this movie will do just that. It will open the conversation and break the silence on a subject that is still, after a bazillion years, taboo.

I  want you to know there is so much more that can’t be shown on a movie, no matter how perfect Minnie Driver’s performance is.

I want you to know there is so much more that can’t be shown on a movie, and I hope you never know what it is and how it feels. That is my prayer for you.

October 15, 2013: Always In Our Hearts

“If you know someone who has lost a child, and you’re afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died–you’re not reminding them.

They didn’t forget they died.

What you’re reminding them of is that you remembered that they lived, and…that is a great gift.”

~Elizabeth Edwards~

Today, October 15, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. In 2006, after years of pushing for it, the day was recognized by the House of Representatives. In 1988, President Reagan had declared October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. But in my opinion, celebrating this day for ONE day is much easier for a parent who has lost a child than for the whole month.

The International Wave of Light is the simultaneous lighting of candles in memory of these babies lost to miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss at 7pm in your local time zone tonight. The result is a continuous chain of light spanning the globe for a 24 hour period. Just think about that for a minute. How beautiful!

So tonight at 7pm, wherever you are, light a candle or say a prayer (or do what you do) in memory of all the baby angels that are watching over us and in honor of all the parents left behind to grieve the loss of dreams and bright futures for their children.

These are my special Angels and members of The Club I will be lighting a candle for tonight:

  • Our first baby: Junebug – miscarriage at 13 weeks, June 19, 2002
  • Our second baby: Charles “Charlie” Fleetwood Anthoine – died at 24 days old from late-onset Group B Strep, born May 21, 2003 and died June 14, 2003 – his story here
  • Laura Kaye Anthoine – October 20, 1969-April 3, 1981 – Daughter of Kaye and Roy, Sister of my husband Jason
  • The daughter of Pam Doherty, Hannah Noelle MacDonald was born still on February 3, 2003 from Group B Strep sepsis. Her father is John MacDonald.
  • Oliver Nelson Wright, son of Chris and Danna Wright, baby brother to Walker – Born and died October 2, 2010.
  • Leighton Sophie Taylor – daughter of Amy and Chris, twin sister to Jaxon – born May 26, 2011 and died June 17, 2011 from Group B Strep
  • Stephanie and Anna Causley – daughters of Paul and Robyn Causley – miscarriages at 12 and 6 weeks, respectively in 2003.
  • Sara Kay – born still September 7, 2009
  • Susan and Matt’s baby – miscarriage at 12 weeks – December 25, 1999
  • Emma Jade – Kat’s sweet baby – miscarriage at 9 weeks in 2001
  • Cara Jennifer – daughter of Carrie-Ann – born and died on August 17, 2010 – lived 12 minutes
  • Jill and Kyle Clay’s babies – Baby Clay, miscarriage October 2004 and Baby Clay , miscarriage October 2005 – both around 10 weeks
  • Allison Reid – daughter of Robin and Sean Reid – though she was not an infant when she died, she contracted the same bacteria that Charlie did and suffered long-term challenges. Allison was born on March 1, 2002 and died on January 25, 2008. I had the honor of meeting Allison and she was a fabulous fighter.
  • Cason Heard Adams- January 27, 1989-December 4, 2001 , was called home to live with the angels. He was a bright light to all that knew him and is greatly missed everyday by his family and friends.
  • Cora Mae McCormick – November 30, 2009 to December 6, 2009
  • Skye, Dakota and Martina – Nanna Chris and Mommy Staci and Little Sister Joclynn’s triplets – July 7th, 2007
  • Drew and Amanda’s Baby – miscarriage October 6, 2010
  • Brianna Elizabeth Franzen – Daughter of my friend, Julie. Born January 29, 1998 and died March 7, 1998 from a heart defect.
  • Cecily’s Sons – Nicholas and Zachary, October 27, 2004
  • Shauna’s Babies – one at 16 weeks, one tubal pregnancy
  • Erin’s Babies – Baby 1, September 2006, miscarriage; Baby 2, January 2007, miscarriage; Baby Girl 1, December 2008, late miscarriage; Baby Girl 2, born still on August 17, 2009 at 18 weeks.
  • Elizabeth Anne’s Baby – Baby Childs, miscarried June 12, 2006
  • Elizabeth Anne’s Friend’s Son – Jonah Oliver, delivered and died on Thanksgiving Day 1997 at 18 weeks gestation.
  • Becca’s friend’s daughter – Chandler Rivers, born 13 weeks early and died a week before her due date.
  • Jessica and Mark’s Daughter: Hadley Jane, born 10/9/07 and died 10/11/07
  • Chrissi’s Son: Tyler, born March 22, 1997 and died September 15, 2003
  • Trish’s baby “Peanut”
  • Michael and Robin’s babies – miscarriage at 5 weeks in April 2009, and miscarriage at 10 weeks in September 2012
  • Olivia Grace – daughter of my friend Barbara. She was born January 8, 2004 and died August 23, 2004 from meningitis.
  • Sunday’s babies – Tomorrow Dawn- December 1993, miscarried at 8 weeks and Samuel- January 2002, miscarried at 11 weeks (named our first son Samuel in his honor and memory)
  • Lindsay’s baby – little one lost to miscarriage at 10 weeks in May 2003
  • Lynn’s 8 babies – 5 lost at 14 weeks and 3 lost early at 8-10 weeks
  • Ms. Marie’s baby – miscarriage October 1977
  • Isabella Pearl De Leon – Stillborn one week before scheduled delivery. March 5, 2011. Paul & Nicole De Leon
  • Nora Henke –  Stillborn 12-30-12
  • Mike & Lauren’s babies: miscarriage at 6 wks in 1999; miscarriage at 7 wks in 2000; miscarriage at 10 wks in 2001
  • Carter Austin – March 18, 2006
  • Tucker Harris Neu and Fletcher Thomas Neu
  • Fiona Jane Tully was stillborn on May 8, 2011, and her sister, Brigid Eileen Tully, lived from May 8, 2011 to June 23, 2011 – daughters of Eileen Tully
  • Leah Brook Tomlin – daughter of Bevin and Adam, sister of Taylor. Born January 7, 2013 and died January 13, 2013 from Prenatal-Onset GBS
  • Carl Martin Kerr – passed away in utero at 6 months. Born on January 25, 2013. Baby Kerr – miscarried at 6 weeks on August 25, 2013. Both children of Solanke and Cincia and siblings to Isabella.
  • Jacob, born at 20 weeks in 2006. Lived for 52 minutes. Son of Nick and Melissa Tabbert.
  • Isabella-Rose Elizabeth, born still October 12, 2009, daughter of Tia

** I will add babies if you email me at janasthinkingplace@me.com to tell me you want me to add your angel. I know there are so many more, but I don’t want to publish without your permission. These are from last year and I’ve added new ones. I have also decided to add older children because really, they’re all our babies.**

 

#10ForCharlie

#10ForCharlie

It’s Sunday, two days before Charlie’s tenth birthday. I’m at a loss for words and lacking motivation to do much of anything, anticipating the day in a way that has me paralyzed.

I would suspect that’s normal, though.

I was texting with my friend Karen earlier, and she suggested I make a goal of running 10 miles this week. Then we decided we should ALL make that goal.

#10ForCharlie

BRILLIANT!

This solves a couple of problems for me personally:

One, I’m likely going to eat pizza every night this week since my husband is traveling, so I’ll be able to burn off a few calories.

Two, Henry and I can burn off some energy and (my) anxiety in the evenings with a run around the block.

It seems so very easy, really. Just pick your favorite activity — running, walking, skipping, biking — and log 10 miles this week.

If you tweet, use #10ForCharlie hashtag. If you don’t, let me know on my Facebook page.

Throw on your running shoes and get outside!

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