My first birthday without the Boy

Yesterday was my first birthday without the boy, Zachary.  In true Tamra anxiety fashion, I had a very hard time the two days before my birthday and had a good day (Valium helped) on my birthday. I am not ashamed at all to admit I still have to take Valium to get through some events. When you are a parent, sometimes you have to depend on prescribed chemical help to get through a day for your surviving child and spouse. 

My day started with a call asking for Zachary Jennings as soon as I got out of bed. We have not received a single call asking for Zachary since he passed away in November.  I was momentarily taken aback and angry and cried. When I get angry, I cry. I cried and let the poor girl on the other end have it. I’m kind of embarassed today over being rude to her as being rude is not in my nature.  This caused me to get back in bed and let some of the tears out so I could start my day. Thankfully, my husband was able to turn it around and help me see the joy in hearing his name said by someone else’s lips. 

Sarah made up her mind that she was making me a cake from scratch this year. This is her very first  attempt. Jonathan took her to Hobby Lobby for cake decorating supplies and to the grocery store to buy every ingredient so she would be set. They spent the night before baking the cake and making the frosting. It had to set overnight to cool and she finished icing it on my birthday. The results are amazing. It is probably one of the best cakes I have ever eaten and that is not just the Mom in me talking. It is wonderful. 

Jonathan and Sarah gave me three days of birthday presents and made my day truly special.  I did cry when there were only two people singing me Happy Birtjday and my birthday wish was spent on my daughter wishing she goes through life with a healthy heart.

I don’t really believe in praying for things that much anymore. We prayed our asses off on the way to the hospital and it did no good.  I can only make wishes. I don’t believe God specifically intervenes to save one persons life over the next persons life. I dare anyone to say that to my face. I would probably punch them right on the kisser.  I don’t know really what I believe God ha does anymore. I do believe in Heaven as I know our son is there. I just don’t really know exactly how involved God is in life. 

I waited awhile to post this because I’ve been in a funk. I even contemplated just deleting it. Oh well, life goes by and the presence in front of me is more important than finishing a blog post. 
#suddencardiacarrest #cardiacarrhythmia #suddendeath #grief #grieving #mourn #mourning #childloss #lossofchild #mamabear #compassionatefriends #imwithyoumommy #lgbt 

Grief is weird, sad and strange.  

So I’ve decided that all the charts showing grief going down and coming back up in one fluid line are junk.  In the span of one hour, I can go from laughing, to crying in grief, to crying that something is so beautiful. It has happened the last two days but has ended up with tears over how beautiful and precious life is. 

The first day, I cried over how pretty Thelma kitty is. Thelma is Zachary’s cat. The kids rescued two kittens from our neighborhood playground in the freezing cold a couple of years ago and they have made their way into our hearts. Thelma chose Zachary as hers. Louise chose Sarah has hers. I was sitting on the bathroom floor watching Thelma love on Jonathan and the tears started to flow. The tears weren’t necessarily because I was sad.  They were tears at seeing how much love had been projected onto Thelma from Zachary. It was seeing his love still living on in a cat who is finally becoming more social with us. 

I am so thankful for my husband. He can take a moment of tears and change it into a moment of “craughing” (cry/laughing). As I was sitting on the floor, he asked “Are you seriously crying over how pretty a cat is?” to which I responded in the most stuffed up nose, tears coming down my cheeks “yes but no.”  It is unexplainable really what has caused this shift. 

It happened again yesterday. We were babysitting a family members toddler when I started to cry.  Leighton has blonde hair and blue eyes just like Zachary and Sarah when they were little.  She looked up at Zachary’s picture over the fireplace and said Bubba several times. I wasn’t necessarily crying because I missed the boy but, I was crying at how beautiful it is to have a toddler who had never met Zachary recognize him as a Bubba. Leighton has an Uncle who also passed away young and his mother has a picture of him hanging over her fireplace.  Sarah called Zachary Bubba when she was little.  

The tears also came when Leighton was laying on me while she slept. I started crying at how good it felt to hold and love on a small one. How, at that moment, you are literally holding a precious child’s life on your chest.  The warmth and sweatiness of a child sleeping on you has to be a little slice of Heaven and I cried. 

I cry at how beautiful the sky is.  I cry at how beautiful a baby bird is when really they look like ugly old men. I cry at the loveliness of a cat. I cry at the warmth of a baby on my chest.  I cry when I glance at my daughter and see a glimpse of the girl she was before her brother passed away.  

I cry at the thought that I got to be a Mother to the  most beautiful boy in the world for a little over 18 years and I would not be the same person I am today without his loving back.  He made me a Mother and that is a beautiful thing. He taught me how to play.  He reminded me how to dance like no one is watching. He amazed me by his incredible knack for knowing every word in a rap song. He made me laugh.  He was mine. 

To you Zachary Avon Jennings, I thank you for letting me be your Mommy.  Love you Buddy ~ Mommy 

#suddencardiacarrest #cardiacarrhythmia #suddendeath #grief #grieving #mourn #mourning #childloss #lossofchild #mamabear #compassionatefriends #imwithyoumommy #lgbt 

And she danced!

We celebrated our first Fourth of July without Zachary here. I woke up crying, cried on my husband, got myself together and had a day. We went next door to spend the day with our neighbors. This is the second year we have gotten together with their family friends. They cookout and then we all put our fireworks together and make quite a show for the kids. 

It just wasn’t the same with Zachary here. Jonathan and I were talking about when he was a baby and didn’t like loud noises. His first two fireworks celebrations were spent watching from the car as he did not like loud noises. Even as a toddler and throughout his childhood that never changed. Not until he got to be about 10 and then things weren’t as bad.  

(Zachary’s last “Friendship Pagoda” from last year. It was a stinker like Zachary and didn’t rise all the way until it was helped along.) 
So we got ready and went to our neighbors like we did last year.  We got through eating just fine, Sarah was having a blast swimming and everyone was having a great time.  

We corralled the kids out front and lit fireworks. Our neighbor boy who is so sweet kept coming over to make sure I was okay as he knew the night was going to be hard on me. He is very intuitive for a 12yr old. The night went on with me breaking down at one point and having to excuse myself for a bit to let it out. I was able to collect myself and go back out with Jonathan and Sarah. 

Sarah has always been our serious child. She hates to be embarrassed, hates it when Jonathan, Zachary and I dance in front of her, hated it when Zachary and I would sing as loud as we could in the car, etc.  She would never ever dance with us in public. 

The strangest thing happened that night. Sarah asked Jonathan to play #KatyPerry “Firework” and she danced. She danced in the driveway. She yelled at me to dance with her. The neighbor boy stopped the song on accident and she replayed it and we danced. My daughter and I danced for the first time together since she was a toddler and it was magical. For just a brief moment, she was the Sarah whose brother has not passed away and was just Sarah, a teenage girl having fun on July 4th. She danced, she lit fireworks, she acted 13 and it was a beautiful site to behold. 

I never thought a Katy Perry song would give me all the emotions from crying in grief to being happy dancing with my daughter. Grief is a crazy thing to be in. You can literally go from dreading the day, making it through, and ending it dancing with your daughter in front of friends.   Love you Buddy ~ Mommy 

#suddencardiacarrest #cardiacarrhythmia #suddendeath #grief #grieving #mourn #mourning #childloss #lossofchild #mamabear #compassionatefriends #imwithyoumommy #lgbt 

Just keep pedaling along

So I was brave and did something I have never done before this week. I took a spin class for the Pride Ride, which donations went to Oklahomans for Equality. It was completely out of my comfort zone. I went to class knowing no one who would be there. That would normally call for a valium due to anxiety (it’s developed since November). I went, got to class early and was instantly made comfortable by the staff and the people there. They got my bike all set up and I was ready to go.   The lady who sat beside me gave me tips before it started so I wouldn’t hurt myself on my first try.

Warm up went great. First round went great. Then, we got to the steady climb. This is where it got real for me. A song written by Queen was played called “I want to break free.”  The first verse doesn’t apply but the rest of the song does. Here’s is the last verse. I will place a link to the video below. 
“But life still goes on.   I can’t get used to living without, living without, living without you by my side.  I don’t want to live alone, hey God knows, got to make it on my own.  So baby can’t you see?  I’ve got to break free”

The combination of the physical exertion combined with the lyrics of the song and they started. The tears started to stream down my face. I tried my hardest to control them but I couldn’t.  I grabbed my towel and hid my face as much as I could but I just kept pedaling along. Thankfully, everyone was so focused on their bikes so only one man noticed and we talked before class so he knew about the loss of Zachary. I was able to get myself together by the time the next song started. 

Next song was an up and down song so I had enough time to suck it all up and keep going on. I did it, I made the hard ups and downs and was ready for the next climb. 

Then bam, True Colors came on by Cindy Lauper for the next steady climb and I started again. First of all, I cried to that song before Zachary passed away simply due to how lovely it is. Now that he has passed, the song has taken on a new meaning. The first time I heard it after he passed away, it felt like Zach was singing to me from Heaven.  

“Show me a smile then. Don’t be unhappy. Can’t remember when I last saw you laughing. This world makes you crazy And you’ve taken all you can bear. Just, call me up ‘Cause I will always be there” 

I cried during the song, same thing with covering my face but, I just kept pedaling along. 

The next song was an up and down song and I made it through with no tears. Then bam, Katy Perry “Firework” came on. Don’t laugh, I cried during Firework. It wasn’t the lyrics to the song. It was remembering a text conversation Zach and I had where I started out by asking him, “Do you ever feel, like a plastic bag.  Drifting through the wind, wanting to start again?” We went back and forth a few times just something silly. 

What I didn’t know till we went through Zach’s phone was that he took screenshots of conversations he liked and thought were funny. That exchange was one one them. Whoever would have thought that a simple funny text meant so much to save it. I cried, snotted, but I just kept pedaling along. 

The last songs were fun and I was able to bring the class to a conclusion and feel proud of myself. Part of the class consisted of singing YMCA with the older man next to me, which was one of my fav parts. 

I guess to conclude, the class description is literally my life summed up in a 45 minute class. Some days start out slow. Some days are up and down. Some days are a steady climb to make it through. Some days we cool off and just stretch it out. Through every single day, we have no choice. We just keep pedaling along till the next day when we just keep pedaling along then too. 

Love you Zachary ~ Mommy

#suddencardiacarrest #cardiacarrhythmia #suddendeath #grief #grieving #mourn #mourning #childloss #lossofchild #mamabear #compassionatefriends #imwithyoumommy #lgbt

If there are words missing, etc, it was a Valium night.