Saturday, June 23, 2012

One of those

Those days where I just can't find the motivation for anything. Those days where I find myself seesawing between feeling nothing and the immense ache I have for my son. Those days where being in reality is too much, so I shutdown and pretend this world doesn't exist.

I miss him everyday, but some days are more acute than others. Today is one of those days. Those days where it's a bit crippling. Those days where I stay inside the safety of my house. These walls protect me, keep me from the world outside where I feel I don't belong. 

Today I can't stop thinking about what my life should be like. My life with an almost 8 month old (albeit he would be a small 8 month old due to being a preemie). I can't help but think about what my sweet boy would be like. His personality. His smile. His eyes. My mind is even going beyond what should be now. I'm thinking about the toddler years. Would he be a momma's boy? There's something special between a mother and her son. And I don't get to have that with my boy.

My sweet sweet boy. I am missing him terribly today.

Marcellus, Momma's missing you like crazy today. I hate that I have to imagine what you would be like. We got a glimpse of your personality in the 12 days you were here, but what would you be like today? A year from now? Five years from now? Would you always be my sweet little boy wanting his momma or would you be more independent and causing trouble or even some combination thereof? Oh baby boy whatever your personality would be, I miss you I miss you I miss you! xoxox

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I need to blog more...

I have at least five posts in progress in my drafts and a handful more "written" in my head. Why I don't sit down to write more often, I don't know. I need to. It's therapeutic for me. I guess it comes down to what I've said many times before...I just wish I didn't have this blog. I want a blog about being a preemie parent. I want a blog about being a graduate student and having a baby.

Actually I don't want a blog at all. I didn't even know much about or search out blogs until after Marcellus died. His death is the only thing that brought me to blogging. I craved reading real words by real moms that have been through something similar. Especially those weeks immediately following Marcellus's death, I needed to read others' words...the words I could not form myself. The blogs I found, they were speaking what was in my heart, what I was feeling.

Reading other blogs is what prompted me to start my own. So, as I look back on that first post written just one month after my sweet boy took his last breath, I still feel the same about this blog as I did then.
"I don't know what I hope to accomplish with this blog. I don't know if I'm doing this just for me, for Marcellus, for others that may come across this blog. I don't know exactly what I will talk about. I just don't know. What I do know is that I will tell Marcellus's story; I will share his life with others."
Have I succeeded in telling his story? Sharing him with others? My story is his story. I am who I am because of him. I am his mommy.

I struggle with what this blog should be. And maybe that's part of the problem. This blog should have no definition, no guidelines. It is my place to come. My place to write to the universe. To write about the pain, the love, the heartache, the hope, the good, the bad, the darkness, the light, the grief, the joy anything and everything that has to do with Marcellus.

Marcellus, I want to write more. More to you and more in general. It helps me sort everything out. It also helps me to feel connected to you. This is not just my blog, this is our place. Mommy and Marcellus. Loving you always sweet boy! xoxox.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The horrible thoughts

Today is one of those days. One of those days where I can't stop asking "why me?" One of those days where everybody's life seems so easy in comparison. These type of days are some of the darkest of grief. These type of days can include some horrible thoughts I wouldn't otherwise think.

So these are some of the thoughts I'm having today...
[*disclaimer: please don't take any of this personally.  Grief can cause irrational, horrible thoughts. These are the ones I'm having today. They will pass, but I decided to write about it. My reason for writing about them 1) to get them out of my head, 2) there may be another BLM out there with these thoughts and she may be feeling guilty about them. Grief is already enough, you don't need to feel guilty too. So if you have had/are having thoughts like these...please do not feel guilty, you are not going crazy. This is part of grief, the ugly part.]

[*note (I added this later): after some thought I decided that "hate" is a very strong word and might come off much worse than I intended. I really don't want to offend anyone. I'm leaving everything below as is, but want to clarify that when I say "hate" it is not a true feeling of hate, rather just an irrational thought that can pop in my mind. I do not really hate anyone, but grief can throw irrational, horrible thoughts at you. And this is how my thoughts come across in my mind.]

If you've never lost a baby, I hate you. (However, if you are struggling with infertility, then I just have to say I don't understand.)

If you've never lost a baby and have living children, I hate you even more.

Even if you have lost a baby, but having a living child here on earth, whether before the baby you lost or your rainbow...I hate you too, but just a little bit. (And I know you'll understand these thoughts.)

So I guess that leaves me with those of us who while not childless, are childless here are earth (and those who are struggling and would do anything to become not childless). Would you like to join me in my pity party today as I hate the rest of the world?

Marcellus, I don't like these thoughts that go through my head. But I just can't understand why it seems so easy for some. Why do some people get their children without any struggle while there are those of us hurting and wanting our babies with us so bad? Why is it so unfair? I would do anything to have you here. And if you were here I would do anything for you. I did do everything for you when you were with us on earth. Why wasn't that good enough? Mommy's missing you very much today sweet baby boy. I love you! xoxox

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Guest post by Daddy

My very first guest post is by my wonderful husband, father to my son, and the very best daddy out there - Mike. Tonight I asked him about how he felt about Father's Day coming up. I hope this can give you a glimpse of a father's grief. To read more about our lives through this grief journey from my husband's perspective visit his blog, Missing Marcellus.

My hopeful fathers day…

Truth be told I am afraid of this day.  This is my first Father's Day without him, he was with us for last Father's Day, although still in the womb.  At first I wanted to be selfish and take this Father's Day for myself and sit around and feel sorry for myself.  I wanted an excuse to eat junk food and be worthless for a day.  I felt like I deserved it, how can I be honored on a day where my baby is in Heaven.  Surely all the other fathers out there who are spending the day with their children are going to have a wonderful day but I won't.  It is so unfair, how come these men get to have their children to celebrate with yet I cannot?  I wanted Morgan and everyone else to cater to me and it to be all about me for one day.  But why?  Why take such an opportunity to show my love for my family and squander it on selfishness?  I want to celebrate Father's Day with my family, I want it to be a good, hard day.  Sure I will certainly have a moment or moments where it hurts unbearably that he is not here, I will cry, I will feel like shutting down.  But I do not want to let that rule my Father's Day.  I want to spend time with my family, to hold the hand of my wife, his mother, as we watch the Atlantic Ocean punish the beaches of NC.  I want to reflect on what it means to be a father holding the hand of the mother who gave me that opportunity.  I want to thank Marcellus for letting me be a father to him for 12 days on Earth and the rest in Heaven.  Besides, I doubt Marcellus would want me to spend the day sulking around the house having a giant pity party.  I love my son too much to take this day for myself, I owe it to him to smile when I think of him holding my finger two minutes after he was born with hands that are exactly like mine.  Sure I will see fathers at the beach with their children and that will sting of course, but I have to remind myself that there may be some of them who have celebrated a Father's Day like I will be, without their child to hold. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

His headstone

How do you pick out a stone to mark the grave of your son? How do you decide what to put on it...what's good enough for him? What's perfect just like he is?

We put a lot of thought into Marcellu's headstone, a lot. We picked the stone out two days after his funeral. I didn't remember what his stone looked liked because it had been so long. Plus we had chosen it at a time where we were running on auto pilot, I don't remember much from that time at all. I just remember that we agreed on the stone.

From the very start we knew we wanted something to do with Marcellus's song on his headstone. When I was pregnant Mike made up a lullaby that he sang to the baby every night. It goes,

"Goodnight little baby, goodnight.
The stars in the sky are shining bright.
Sleep tight little baby, sleep tight.
Mommy and Daddy love you with all their might!"

We sang it every night to him in the NICU and we continue to sing it to him every single night. It is his song. His lullaby. Daddy made it up just for him. To put the whole song on the headstone made it look very cluttered and too wordy. We opted to just just the second part. I guess it seemed fitting to use the words "sleep tight" now that Marcellus sleeps in eternity. 

I was so so so nervous that I wouldn't like how Marcellus's stone turned out. But when Mike and I first went to the cemetery ourselves to see it, I was taken back. Now how could I find the words to say I love my son's headstone? It's hard to verbalize that because there should be no headstone to love. I should love my son's drawings to me, not what we came up with to etch into the stone that marks where his body is laid to rest. Here is a picture of Marcellus's stone.

We were set on his name, dates, and "son of Morgan and Michael" in carving from the beginning. The middle part is etched. It's not as easy to see as the carving, but I did not like the way things looked in the carving draft. The wording (the second part of his song), "Sleep tight little baby, sleep tight. Mommy and Daddy love you with all their might!" is actually written in my handwriting. Daddy came up with the words and Mommy got to write them especially for our sweet boy. The moon and starts in the middle 1) go with the nighttime lullaby, 2) the moon connects to his story "Guess How Much I Love You" which ends with the line "I love you right up to the moon and back." 3) there are three starts to represent the three of us - Mommy, Daddy, and Marcellus - together forever.

And I love it. I have to say it even if it's hard to comprehend. The stone still needs to be set in cement and will need to be flush with the ground. I wish it could stay up like it is now, but unfortunately the baby section that he is in requires them to be level with the ground. It will still be beautiful. It is not your typical looking headstone. I like that. I like that it is something unique, special, and oh so meaningful just for my little squirmy wormy. 

We had a prayer service and blessing of Marcellus's headstone. We invited family and had a good turnout. We first gathered around and explained to everyone the meaning behind each part of the design. The priest then took over and did the blessing of the stone. He used the same holy water that was used at Marcellus's baptism (that is quite a story itself, basically the priest in the hospital came without holy water and so we have kept the water that he blessed for the baptism). 

 After the blessing the priest continued the prayer service. I have to admit that at that point I stopped really hearing what he was saying. I just stared down at Marcellus's stone and all I could think about is how my baby was under there. In the ground. It was a tough moment. But overall the service was very beautiful and I'm so thankful we did that for him. And so very thankful for everyone that came!

  There are a couple of other baby boys in the same row as Marcellus that have cars at their spots. Since seeing that my mom has been saying we need to get Marcellus cars so he can play with the other boys and not be jealous of theirs. I wanted to wait until his stone was put in so that we could put them on the flat surface of the cement. So I told everyone that if they would like to pick out a special car for Marcellus they could bring it to the prayer service (this is when I thought it would already be in the cement). Everyone did bring him a car. It really touched my heart that they wanted do to that for him. You can see them around his headstone in the picture below.
Afterward we went and had pizza. We had a slideshow of pictures running on my laptop. My aunt did a great job asking about Marcellus. When we were home right after he died we only saw her at the funeral and so there wasn't much time to talk. She wanted to see pictures and know more about him. Not many people actually ask questions about what he was like or what it was like to be with him in the NICU or even what it was like the day he was born and the day he died. She asked questions about all of it, good questions. Yes some of those questions are hard to talk about, they can bring tears to my eyes. But they are questions about my son and I want everyone to know all about him. She asked about him and she asked about us. She asked about our support network here and we told her about group. It reminding me a lot about the friend I mention at the end of this post. Acknowledgement of my baby boy. Acknowledgement of my pain. Acknowledgment of my motherly love. Acknowledgement that he was here and he is still with us. Acknowledgment. So important for grieving parents.

I don't know if I've said this before, but once I read somewhere another loss mom said something along the lines of...If you ask a question about my baby and it makes me cry, that just means you asked a good question. I really wish I could remember where I read that so I could have the rest of the context and give credit to that person. I'm sure it was on a blog. That part just really stuck with me though because it rings true in my heart as well. Never be afraid to ask me about my baby just like you wouldn't be afraid to ask me if he were living. You can't ask the same questions like "how is he doing today" but you can ask me what he was like, what it was like to be in that NICU with him, about his headstone, about things we still do for him today, about how much I love and miss that little guy. He can still be talked about and believe me, even if no one asks  I will talk about him for the rest of my life!

Marcellus, I hope you like your headstone. We worked hard on getting it just right for you and I think it came out as well as a headstone can. It's all for you and you know what each one of those things on their means. It's extra special to have the part of your song in my handwriting. And those three stars, that's us...we are together forever. You are always with us here and one day we will come to you and really be together for eternity. Love and miss you baby boy. I hope you are sleeping tight. Mommy and Daddy love you with all their might! xoxox

Saturday, June 9, 2012

the 9th

It's the 9th today. The anniversary date of Marcellus's death. Each month we dread the 9th, especially when the clock strikes 12:43pm. Each month we are acutely aware of how time is moving and what we were doing at that time on that 9th back in November. Each month I carefully plan where I will be and what I will be doing at his time of death. Some months I've even rearranged meetings and appointments so that I can be home in my safety net.

Except for this month. This month I didn't even think about the 9th approaching. A few days ago a friend asked about possibly getting together today, but didn't know how I would feel about it being the 9th. I said I didn't even know Saturday was the 9th (turned out not to work for us to get together anyway). And today I didn't even realize it was the 9th until a few minutes ago. I went to breakfast with another mom from group and was actually at Target during his time of death.

How did that happen? Part of me feels guilty I wasn't aware of the looming 9th. That at 12:43pm I didn't think about that moment 7 months ago. But then part of me feels like it's okay. It's okay that I didn't focus on his death. Is this a sign of healing? I'm not sure. I'm going to try not to read into it, although I usually do. I'm going to try to just accept that this is how I feel today and I didn't need to submerge myself in the thoughts and feelings of that day 7 months ago.

So, yes today is the 9th. And yes I have been thinking about Marcellus all day just like I do every day. But not about what the 9th means. I don't need to focus on the fact that he's gone. I want to celebrate that he was here. That he is still a part of my life and always will be. That he is always and forever my sweet baby boy.

Marcellus, I don't know if I should apologize that I didn't realize it was the 9th. I don't know how to feel about it. I do want you to know that I am grateful we were there with you on this day 7 months ago. Of course I wish you could have stayed here with us, but since you couldn't I am glad I was there to hold you at 12:43pm. My sweet sweet baby boy, I love you more than I can ever say! xoxox

Friday, June 8, 2012

Headstone issues

So the main reason for our trip to MN was to be there when Marcellus's headstone was put in. I want to wait to share pictures until I get this rant off of my chest. We are happy (well, as happy as you can be with your baby's headstone) with the stone itself, but there were some issues with it getting ready in time. In my next post I'll share about the headstone and what it means to us.

I thought about whether or not I should "call out" the business we've been working with, but decided against it. While I am all about recommendations, anyone that is in my hometown that would use them already knows about the problems we've been having or can just ask.

First let me say that I never in my life imagined that I would need to order and design a headstone for my child. I had no idea if we went about it the right way, we just did the best that we could. I know some people take a long time to pick out and order their child's headstone for various reasons. I understand that, I understand the financial burden, the emotional difficulty and not being up for picking it out, and for waiting because it needs to be absolutely perfect. For some reason I felt the need to get Marcellus's headstone right away. For me it was important to get out at his spot as soon as possible.

Two days after his funeral we went. A woman my sister works with has a business with her husband and his brother and sister-in-law. My sister got us in contact with her and we decided to go their first. Honestly I don't remember if our original plan was to shop around or not. I really wasn't up for that and really didn't think there would be much of a price difference between places. Plus my dad very generously offered to help us financially so that we could get what we wanted for his grandson.

Marcellus is in the baby section of the cemetery, so there are restrictions on the size and type of headstone he can have. It has to be a flat stone, set flush with the ground in cement. We said we wanted the biggest it could be and picked out the stone itself. I really can't remember the process we went through to pick out the type of stone. That meeting is a very big blur to me. Probably part of the reason many loss parents wait longer to pick out their child's stone. I do remember that we asked when it would be placed because we would need to plan a trip from NC. Being it's MN with cold winters, we knew it wouldn't be able to be placed immediately or anything. She said she could guarantee that it could be in by Memorial Day.

The first thing we were told is that we would have a draft in 4-6 weeks of the design we talked about. We talked about doing all carving versus some carving and some etching. The first draft we were given was well past 6 weeks from when we stopped in. They sent us an example in all carving and we didn't like it.

That was okay though we left the carving we did like (his name and dates) and whited out the rest. Now that we had had more time to think about it, we were at a better place to design the perfect headstone. That was done in the middle of March. I know because I briefly mentioned it in this post. We made many sketches until we came up with something very meaningful for our sweet baby boy. The design would use both carving and etching. And I really did feel good about what we came up with. That it would be okay.

I didn't hear much from the headstone people though and started to get nervous. I communicated with them trough the woman my sister knows and would text or call her cell phone and she mine. Finally I heard that as long as the stone was in by April there was plenty of time to get everything done. We planned our trip for the end of May. We asked of the headstone could be put in somewhere between May 23rd and Memorial Day (May 28th). We were never told that would be problem, but I now realize we were never given a date. Maybe I should have pushed more then, gotten a guaranteed date so we could plan accordingly. But I did mention over and over and over again that we would need to plan a trip from MN so we needed to know it would be in. Again, I was told everything would be fine.

The next time I heard about the headstone was May 14th. The man who does the etching (by hand), was not comfortable doing it on Marcellus's stone because of the striations it has. He was worried that it wouldn't be able to be read it very well (we were having words - lyrics to a lullaby - written on the stone). So they sent a new draft of a similar design, but in carving. Did not like it one bit. So I was frantic. Why were we being told this last minute? A week and a day before we were to leave for our trip. A week and a half before it was supposed to be set? They knew about the stone we wanted since November. I honestly don't know when the stone itself came in, but I know it was well before May 14th. This communication was through email only. As soon as I got the email I tried to call, but there was no answer and I was really stressing out.

It wasn't until the next day when I heard from the lady I had been working with. So countdown...2 weeks until we were leaving to drive across the country to see our son's headstone. At that time she had a really good idea. Normally they have their etching done by the man who does it by hand, but they could use the company they get the stone through using a computer to do the etching. By doing that we could have the writing be in my actual handwriting. Both Mike and I thought that was a great idea! We agreed and everything still seemed like it was on track.

That was until I heard from the woman's husband on May 21st, the day before we were to leave for MN. The production line of the place where the etching was to be done broke down. They had no idea when it would be back up. He told me at that point he didn't even think the headstone was going to be ready at all when we were in MN. At that point I absolutely lost it! We had put off visiting so we could visit when the headstone was being put in. We couldn't switch our trip. I was a complete wreck. Mike was at work and although I already had a therapy appointment scheduled for a half an hour later I called Mike frantic at work. I asked if he could leave early because when I say I was freaking out...I was really freaking out. I didn't know what to do. I went and got him from work and told him about what was going on. We talked, we called the guy back, we eventually got things figured out.

They knew of another guy that could etch it by hand. He would replicate my handwriting and he guaranteed it would be done by Thursday, May 31st. Okay, I could live with that. We already had a prayer service planned for Tuesday the 29th when I thought it was going to be in before Memorial Day. A gathering of our family to share with them how we came up with Marcellus's stone and to bless it. Obviously I had to change that date, but that part worked out alright.

The people who own the business have other jobs, so they only set headstones on the weekends. They wouldn't be able to have it set that Thursday, but would just lay it out at the cemetery.

We went to the place of business the day after we got to my hometown. I needed to talk to someone in person to know what was going on. We met with the woman we originally had met with and had primarily been corresponding with. We made sure we were on the same page with the etching design and that it really would be there by that Thursday. I asked about when it would be set and was told it could be set the following weekend sometime. I left there feeling okay, good even about how everything was working out. Big sigh of relief. We also found out that the man doing the etching had lost a baby 15ish years ago or so. To me that seemed meant to be. It would be more meaningful for him to do the stone.

After seeing the stone that Thursday I sent a text to the woman my sister knows letting her know we like it and asking when it will be put in. She called me to tell me that when the stone gets wet, the etching kind of disappears. And it really does. Mike thinks it's pretty a secret message or something. She also told me the stone would be placed the next afternoon. I politely asked her to let me know if something came up and it didn't get placed.

We went on Friday and the stone wasn't set. I text, I called. Nothing. I had never heard from her to know that it wasn't going to be done. I called again Saturday, nothing. Finally Saturday afternoon when I called again, the husband answered the phone. I let him know how I upset I was about everything. He tried to be apologetic, but in my opinion was very unprofessional. He kept saying how everything was last minute, and things come up they can't foresee. I repeated over and over again that wasn't the biggest issue. The biggest issue is that things were promised to me that couldn't be followed through on. If they couldn't be guaranteed they never should have told me. I also mentioned how I was told I would be called if the headstone wasn't going to be set on Friday afternoon. Apparently part of the problem is the communication between the husband and wife team. The wife told me the stone would be set that Friday afternoon and when I talked to the husband on Saturday he told me he knew the stone wouldn't be set on Friday. If he knew that...why did she tell me that?

He then complained about the groundskeeper at the cemetery, saying he needs things to be too specific. You should never complain to a customer about someone you need to work with to deliver what they need. He also told me about how they don't make much money on these stones and it's just a part time business for them. And how they're making even less money on Marcellus's stone because he had to pay someone extra to get it done in time for our prayer service. Unprofessional. Very unprofessional.

I think part of the problem also is that the lady sincerely wanted to make these things happen for us. She really did want them to come true. But that is not good customer service. Good customer service is following through on what you say you can do. I never asked for the stone to be put in by Memorial Day. She came up with that date. If she would have said let's push it back to July to make sure everything is done and done right, I would have had no problem with that. We would have planned our trip in July.

The experience was completely miserable and incredibly stressful. More so than it needed to be. If you work in any business with the bereaved you must be compassionate and sensitive, but also direct. I feel like I never knew what was going on with his headstone, that I was just being give the run around.

I am so thankful that the stone was done on time for us to see and share with family and friends while we were in MN. But it was supposed to be set and I am angry, upset, and very frustrated about that. Our trip was planned for us to be there to make everything with our son's headstone is okay. To see it as it should be, properly placed in the ground. For us to be able to set everything up how we wanted it to be. Instead we had to leave hoping it will be okay just sitting out there (we could have had them pick it up, but Mike was more worried about it being moved multiple times). Instead I had to ask my mom to go out and pick up his new toy cars and some other things that were intended to sit on the cement up, so that they don't get lost or aren't in the way for mowing. Instead I have to wait over another week yet for it to maybe be put in. I was still never given a date (oh another thing I was told..."this is a part-time business and we don't want to be working every weekend").  Once it's put in my mom will go out there, set everything up and send me a picture.

And we really do love the stone, which I will share in my next post. But the thing is, this business had nothing to do with how the stone itself turned out. Their job is to be the middle man, to facilitate everything. But I wish I would have just had to contact everyone on my own. It would have been less stressful. The stone is beautiful, but someone else cuts the stone. We like the carving, but that was the carver's job. The etching turned out well, but that was done by the etcher.

Okay, my rant is over. It's longer than I thought it would be, but I needed to complain. To get that out before sharing the beauty and meaning behind Marcellus's headstone. Thanks for "listening".

Marcellus, I'm sorry your stone isn't set like it's supposed to be. Mommy tried very hard to get everything done before we left. I am disappointed that's not done for you. And sorry I had Grandma take your cars away. It's just temporary until you have a flat surface to play with them on. They'll be much more fun on the cement than in the grass. I'm trying not to stay too worked up about the issues we had. But it's hard baby boy. I want everything to do with you to be absolutely perfect. Having to leave you was hard and not having your headstone how it should be made it a bit harder. I hope it gets done soon sweet boy. Mommy loves and misses you like crazy!!! xoxox.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

We're back!

I have been MIA lately because of our trip to MN. We got back late last night after spending a couple of nights staying at Mike's brother's house outside of St. Louis. I do have a lot to write about, issues getting the headstone, the headstone itself, spending time with family, and a million other things I've had on my mind for awhile now.

I thought I would start today by writing about some problems we came across getting Marcellus's headstone (don't worry, we do like the stone itself...we just had issues getting everything done on time), but after being gone I decided to veg out all day...well, that and do laundry. I will get back on schedule tomorrow and that will include a more formal blog post. I want to wait to share the good about the headstone until after I get a rant in and that post will include pictures. I also want to tell you about my time with my nephew, who has hand foot and mouth right now...poor guy!

There is one thing I did want to write about quick while I am on. It's about leaving MN. We left my hometown on Sunday morning. Of course the last thing we did before we left town was stop at the cemetery. Let me tell you I was having major anxiety about leaving Marcellus behind again. This trip was the first time we had been back since our time there right after the funeral. It's the first time in a very long time I was able to take care of my baby boy's spot. To bring him things in person and put them out there myself. It was very very hard to leave. I kept saying "I don't want to leave him!"

Now I rationally know that spot is just where his body lies. That he is not actually there, that his soul is in Heaven. But that is very difficult to handle sometimes and the fact that his physical body is there is enough to make me super attached to that place. Finally we left, probably at Mike's prompting because this momma would have stuck around all day. I told Marcellus how sorry I was we lived so far away and that we had to leave. Sometimes I feel guilty I am not there to take care of his spot the way I would if I lived closer.

We left town and got on the interstate. As we get onto the interstate there was a hawk sitting on the road sign. We believe hawks are a sign from Marcellus. We started seeing them frequently after his funeral. We may not see them quite as frequently now, but we do see them at pivotal times. And this was one of them. He was sitting there on our way out of town. It was as if he was reminding me, "Mommy don't worry about leaving my body here. I am always with you wherever you are." Seeing that hawk may not seem like a big deal to some. But to me it meant everything that my baby boy stopped to tell me he understood we couldn't stay.

Marcellus, thank you for the message when Daddy and I were leaving. That meant everything to me sweet boy. It was so very hard to leave your spot...just as hard as the last time. It won't be so long until the next time we are back though. I know Grandma will take very good care of everything. I miss and love you so so so very much!!! xoxox.