Sunday, December 31, 2006

Ringing (or 'rumming') in the New Year

I have been, again, largely absent... I keep thinking I'm going to come back full force like I was, but then there's another crappy birthday, or Christmas, or, today, the passing of the year in which Nova lived and died. I try my damnedest to stay 'up' but it takes too much energy. I've done all sorts of charity work thinking it would make me feel better, but (though it has felt good) it hasn't done a damn thing to fill the void.

Today we took down the Christmas decorations I didn't want to put up in
the first place, and I was just as bitter about packing them away as I
was about putting them up... While taking out the decorations on Thanksgiving, I found his stocking from last year, his first and only Christmas. Today, I had to wrap and pack up the ornament we put on the tree for him this year. Seems like everything hurts. But really? The pain I expect - it's the bitterness that bothers me. It's the thing that ate me alive after losing Alexis, and the thing I'd hoped to avoid after losing Nova. Looks like I'm losing that battle, again.

So, tonight -well starting last night I guess- I gave in and pulled out the rum. I don't drink very often, but I figure I'll be an ugly sappy drunk by midnight.

I already hate 2007... because Nova will never see it.

How's that for strong and inspirational? Thank goodness these moments are short-lived, and that I can honestly say that right now it seems so bad because of all the holidays, plus Nova's birthday... It's nice to know I'll feel better when the holidays are over, but it doesn't really help all that much in the now.

copied in large part from my most recent post on Grieving Hearts CHD Grief Support group

posted by Erin @ 10:35 PM   1 comments

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I suppose I should at least acknowledge that Christmas came and went. I didn't look forward to it, and despite all the things I did this year, and all the ways I tried to get into the spirit of the holiday, truth is, I was hoping just to survive it.

I did.

For the most part, other people don't do a lot of acknowledging your grief during a holiday - they don't want to upset you, they don't want to ruin the day for you, or, sometimes, they just don't want to ruin it for themselves. I'm used to it in a way. I've dealt with the elephant-in-the-living-room phenomenon since we lost Alexis. It doesn't even piss me off the way it used to, but it does make me sad. No one outwardly acknowledged Nova or his absence, or the void... It feels a little like people think he didn't deserve it.

I recognize that to be one of those irrational emotional reactions, but I also know that grief and rationality aren't particularly comfortable bedmates. It's a struggle to keep a grasp on reality on a average day. Particularly difficult on a holiday that is so completely geared toward children.

But Scott, beautiful man that he is, bought me the perfect gift to show me that he was thinking of Nova too, and wanted to include him in this Christmas. It was nothing overt, nothing that intruded on anyone else's celebration - just a quiet gesture, a private message conveyed with such simplicity between the two of us. I doubt that I'll ever be able to thank him deeply enough for putting so much thought into this Christmas, or for understanding me so completely that he could even begin to do something so perfect.

If there is such a thing as a soul mate, he is mine, and I can't even put into words how grateful I am to have him in my life.

posted by Erin @ 11:33 PM   0 comments

Friday, December 22, 2006

They're Naked and Empty

They're naked and empty against the sky
widespread and waiting. It's two
in the morning, months after the loss

and still, they wait.

There's a guaranteed prize for patience
and for tolerance and for voices kept
inside sap-filled heads where vision
is blurred and sound is distorted.

And I stare through nicotine windows and wonder -
when wind bites their tenderest parts and
ice builds them warbled-glass jackets,
is Spring enough to repay them?

Meanwhile, smiling pines, full-boughed and full-bodied,
glow like painted ladies against December nights,
with arms bedecked in gems,
and knees brushed by pageantry and plenty.

posted by Erin @ 7:36 PM   1 comments

Monday, December 18, 2006


One thing grief is good for is destroying a person's self-esteem. That was one of the many lessons I learned after losing Alexis, so when we lost Nova, it was one thing I swore I wasn't going to allow to happen again. I sincerely felt like I'd just begun to get to know myself, and like myself... Then we lost Nova and I dug my toes in and refused to do it.

I went and got my hair cut, I made a point of wearing make-up, I did things that gave me a reason to feel good about myself, and forced myself out into the public.And you know what? It worked for a while. Now I feel myself slipping - I went through a period of about 2 months where I barely left the house at all. I've withdrawn from my blogging friends and even from the online heart community.

And so I'm fighting it again, or at least, going through the motions, because it isn't really working. I joined a group called UCM (I've talked about them before - the Mommy's group) and joined their Charitable Events Committee. We're doing a huge canned food drive, we've sponsored a family from the battered women's shelter and provided their family with Christmas gifts and clothes and collected so much more that went straight to the shelter.

I donated a Christmas tree to their half-way house, I took toys to the hospital on Nova's birthday... I've done Christmas crafts with kids at a Christmas party where my husband played Santa, I've done silly little random things, like when we went to AC Moore last week, I had a 50% off coupon I couldn't use, and I passed it along to an elderly lady - and bless her heart, it made her night.

But none of it is really working, I'm really just not feeling it.

posted by Erin @ 8:57 PM   0 comments

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Stokes teen had heart condition
Updated: 12/14/2006 7:28 AM
By: Associated Press

"...Phillips died of a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, said Forsyth County medical examiner Dr. Patrick Lantz. The condition causes cells in the heart to grow and form a mass that can obstruct blood flow and disrupt normal heart rhythms, Lantz said.

According to his medical history, Phillips hadn't been diagnosed with the condition, Lantz said..."

It's bad enough knowing that you're child had a CHD and that it may be a life threatening condition. To lose a child 11 days before Christmas to a CHD you never knew existed? How sad for this family. I'm keeping them in my thoughts.

posted by Erin @ 10:56 PM   0 comments

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

so tired

UGH! I am so tired of marking my mental calendar according to how long it's been since or should bes. Nova has been gone 8 months today.

We took the cake and toys to CVRU on his birthday. Shanda was there. I adore her. They're all so sweet. We laughed and played with the toys and talked, and I fought the urge to ask if I could go visit with someone else's baby... They would've said no, privacy issues, plus, it just would have been weird, but I wanted to go see a baby. He spent so much time there...

I found a very old picture of Tommy today, from when he was about 8 months old. I was shocked to see how much he and Nova looked alike. I never saw that before... I took me by surprise and I had to do a double take. I never thought about what Nova would have looked like when he grew up - maybe now I don't have to wonder.

I look at myself in the mirror and realize how gloomy I've become... How sad and old I look... How much worse I'm coping than I was a few months ago...

posted by Erin @ 9:21 PM   2 comments

Saturday, December 02, 2006

They say it's your birthday...

Dear Nova~
You'd be one year old today. First birthdays are the most special you know. It's the only one where I'd have let you have the cake. Yep, the whole thing, to eat, fling, wear, and destroy at will. Of course, the price for that would have been the multitude of pictures I'd have taken and blackmailed you with later, when you had your first 'real' girlfriend. You know, like I planned to do with that picture of you after your bath that day just before your surgery. But there will be no pictures of you covered in cake with icing up your nose, and that picture of you naked after your bath got cropped and added to your obituary.

So instead of having your party, we're visiting CVRU. There will be cake and toys, but not so much celebrating. And probably no one will be wearing icing, though, knowing some of those nurses, ya just never know! I might end up with blackmail pictures after all. I just hope I don't burn the cake. Guess you never had the chance to find out what a lousy baker I am.

Gretchen sent flowers yesterday. She's the one with the daughter I wanted you to marry. She's even more gorgeous now than she was when we arranged that marriage. She's so pretty it hurts. The flowers were beautiful too. She said she saw them, they're all purple, and thought "purple, celestial - Nova" and sent them. That's the kind of thing you did kiddo. There was just something special about you that allowed you to touch people despite any boundaries. You prevailed in spirit where your body failed - and continue to do just that.

Last night we went downtown and watched them light the tree in the square. I've never done that before. I wasn't all that impressed, but then I'm having a hard time getting into the spirit. I just keep picturing you... I'm sure you'd have been all in the tree this year, knocking off the balls, trying to eat baby Jesus from the creche on the table, throwing fits when I said no. You were pretty strong willed, but I'm pretty sure I'd have won...

Speaking of strong willed: Terra still thinks you're at the hospital you know? I've tried to explain it to her, but she just can't understand 'dead' yet. All she knows is that she wants her "Dophalin" back, and she doesn't do very well with the word no. She can't figure out why she can't have you. Me either to tell the truth.

Daddy and I, and all your brothers and sisters too, are still trying to get used to you being gone. I still have to remind myself every day that the kids don't have to be quiet in the hall anymore. My heart just can't grasp it enough to convince my brain once and for all. That's the thing about death, it's so final that we aren't equipped to comprehend it. I just miss you so much, I feel lost.

But I'm trying to use the things I learned through you to find my way - to make a difference and do the things I should. I think I'm succeeding, most of the time. I just hope I'm doing things that would make you happy, that you could be proud of. But sometimes, like right now, I still just wish that I could have you back.

Happy birthday baby, I love you as much today as I ever did... and always will.

posted by Erin @ 2:43 AM   5 comments

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Donovan "Nova" LeClair

Monroe, North Carolina
Nova was our second child to be born with congenital heart defects. We lost our daughter at 12 days after open heart surgery in 2001. Nova was born 12/2/05, with Pulmonary Atresia with VSD. He lived 6 weeks after surgery, and passed away on April 6th, 2006. This blog is his story, and the on-going story of how our family is dealing with the loss of our beautiful boy.
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