Carrying Cullen

A Journey of Life, Love, and Daily Blessings with Our Baby Boy

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Life After Loss

I haven't written in quite some time as life has seemed to run away with me...  It's hard to believe summer is gone and fall weather is here.  It's hard to believe it's been almost a year...  Taking on a new position at work, family activities, a few short vacations, maintaining our home and regular chores, and keeping care of some new animals on the "farm" has surely kept life busy.  Good in keeping my mind occupied and helping me to continue to move forward but some days I want to scream, "STOP, and let me off!" 

Those of you who have unfortunately suffered the loss of a precious loved one or a baby or child, know exactly what I mean and how I feel.  You feel like the world around you is moving at a fast forward pace and you just want to hit the pause button.  You just need a second to breath, right?  You have the constant inner battle of, 'I know I need to continue moving forward because it's the healthy thing to do', while thinking, 'if I do that, it means I'm forgetting about my sweet little baby'.  Truth is, life after loss is beyond overwhelming.  And as much as you think moving forward means you're forgetting your precious baby or loved one, that's not the case.  It's something I have had to remind myself of many times.  It's okay to take a step forward...  It's hard and it hurts, but God is there with you every baby step you take... 

Our close friends had gotten us a battery operated candle with Cullen's name and a scripture engraved on it to keep lit in memory of Cullen.  I was religious about changing the size D batteries whenever I noticed they started dying.  I wanted to keep it lit to let the light shine in remembrance of Cullen.  Then one day I noticed I had let the candle "go out".  The batteries died.  The light of the candle was no longer shining... In my mind I had forgotten...  In my mind I had forgotten him.  I felt crushed, ashamed, guilty, and upset...  How could I let something so important to me go?  I cried and quickly put batteries in it again and made sure it lit back up.  A few weeks went by and it happened again.  I felt terrible.  It wasn't until I was reminded again by Joe that it's just a candle.  Yes, it's something very special... yes it's something to let shine in remembrance of Cullen... but just because it was no longer "lit" didn't mean I had forgotten him.  I could never and will never forget him.  He lives on in my heart, my mind, every part of my being, every day, and he will for the rest of my life.  I eventually realized though, letting the candle "go out" was a baby step of moving forward.  It meant I wasn't focusing as much on material things (candles, blankets, pictures) so to speak anymore, but instead letting his memory live on in me. 

One thing that has been hard for me to get past though is sleeping with his sweet little blue teddy bear.  The same teddy bear that sat next to him in my arms in the hospital, was next to him in his pictures; the one that's just a big as he was.  It's almost comforting to have in my arms every night because he's not.  It's something that was his, it's a piece of him.  Sleeping with "teddy" is almost a way of me saying I remember him... 

It's not an easy thing to process; the constant back and forth..  You don't want to the world to continue moving and going the way it does because you feel like that means you're going to forget.  You want to hold on to every little thing you can, and do special things to let your baby know you remember them.  But the truth is, they know.  Cullen knows.  He knows that I think of him every morning I wake up, he knows when I talk to him throughout the day...  He knows that I remember him every time I walk to the top of our steps when it's time to go to bed and kiss him (his picture) good night while whispering, "Good night Cullen, mommy loves you". (Yes, you can see the lip prints on the glass of his picture from the kisses I still give him every night)  To those who have not lost, this may sound silly... and, maybe not.  But to those of you who have lost I'm sure you can easily understand.  I'm sure you have had those few things that you have hung on to, or tried to hang on to; or your special little ways of remembering or telling your baby you love them; or maybe you have just had that feeling of wanting to stop the world because continuing on means your forgetting. 

I have learned that it's okay to have those things to hold on to but to allow yourself to take those steps forward and not to feel guilty, hard as it may be, and God will help you through it.  He never said it would be easy, but He did promise to always be by your side.  "I will never leave you, nor forsake you..."  So as we continue on our healing journey after the loss of our sweet Cullen, I continue to look to Him to help me through.  I look to Him to help me understand, cope and deal with the constant inner battle of taking the next step moving forward, while knowing... I'll never forget and I will always love our son. 




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Hi, Holly: Don't know if you remember me from IUP, we met through Brooke. I have read your story and blog a few times and came across this post today. Today marks three months since my daughter Joanna was stillborn. It seems like an impossibly painful thing to live with and I am glad to read your blog and see how to survive loss with grace. This post particularly stood out to me because I sleep with Joanna's stuffed elephant every night. You are right. It fills my arms while she is gone. It's a part of her I can keep close in those hard moments when my thoughts overwhelm me and I cannot sleep, for the millionth night in a row. Sorry for the long comment, but I just wanted to say thanks. Thanks for sharing your story and your heart.