Tuesday, April 22, 2008

About Gus

He really was perfect, wasn't he? I wish I knew what I was thinking when I took this picture. If I thought, "He looks like a little angel" or "He looks so peaceful". I really like this picture because I know he's just sleeping, trying to get the rest his little body needs in between feedings.

When we first viewed him after he died, we were in San Diego and because they had to order a special casket for him and it hadn't arrived yet, he was propped up slightly on a small table surrounded by blankets. Robby and I went in first on our own. I saw my little baby on the other side of the room and my knees buckled. Robby held me up and helped me over to a couch at the back of the room. We just sat there for probably 5 minutes not saying anything. What do you say in that situation? Robby and I have always been very good at being open with each other but in those moments, while we sat there and looked over at our son's body, there was nothing to be said.

It could have been a dream (almost every day I wake up hoping it was a dream) but the pain seared so deep, no one could feel that in a dream. We finally found the courage to look closer at our son. Gripping each other tightly, we walked slowly across the room. I looked down on his small body and it wasn't my Gus. Obviously, it was him (the funeral home didn't make any mistakes or anything like that), but he looked completely different. Amazingly close to the same, but I knew it wasn't him. That knowledge did not hold back my screaming sobs. It was like it flashed through my mind for a few seconds, then the reality overtook my body and mind. There was no finding peace then.

He was set up perfectly. The room was completely peaceful while we cried softly over him. He was not boxed in a casket, just resting on some blankets (I thank Heavenly Father for that almost every day). As we looked at his small mortal body that wore an all white outfit with a small cap on his head, he was telling us he'd died. I believe that was the last time Robby, Gus, and I were all alone together. I believe my little boy's strong spirit, with a few other family members we have lost, were there with us too, pleading for us to remember The Plan and doing all they could to comfort us.

It's been a while since I've really thought about him and when I came across this picture, it made me think more about the little details I remember from first seeing him after he died. I'll tell you what else keeps me active in my church and gives me strength from day to day is the actual blessings we've received. They are real, tangible blessings. But most of all, when I go to the Temple, feeling my little boy's spirit there with me is the best blessing I've ever received. I miss him terribly.

Anyway, sorry for that bummer of a post and if I made you cry (as I cried through a lot of it). I just like people to know how we are doing. Most of all, I want everyone to be able to hear exactly what we've been through and know that it's ok to ask me questions about it. I want everyone to tell me what they think about the situation and feel comfortable around me if something uncomfortable comes up while we're hanging out.

Once, Robby and I were watching a movie about a couple who lost their son and I was thinking, "If people were watching this with us, would they feel uncomfortable that we were there with them? Would they ask if we wanted to turn it off?" Don't! It's not always the same for Robby, but please do not feel uncomfortable asking me questions or talking to me about your baby/toddler/birth/anything! That's not the way I want to spend my life. And if I do start to cry about something regarding Gus and you are there, comfort me like you would with anyone. I promise it won't last for long.

Thank you to everyone for all your sympathy, prayers, and shoulders to cry on. It's made everything that much easier. Now I hope to make it easier for you.

20 comments:

Sadie said...

Thanks for sharing Mel. That is a beautiful picture of little Gus. It makes my heart hurt.

Shauna said...

I've been thinking about you guys a lot lately since tomorrow Sally turns 6 weeks old. 6 weeks doesn't seem near long enough to be w/someone, especially since the first little while of a child's life are so hard adjusting to new family dynamics, the hormones, schedules, etc. It's a lot! I'm thankful for the plan and think it's so great how open you are. I'm sure you're helping so many!

Brandi said...

This is Brandi, one of Kristi's friends from OT school in Virginia. Just wanted you to know that i was thinking of you and remembering your son, Gus, especially during the week that I am remembering Kristi so much. Thanks for the beautiful blog and for reminding me to appreciate EVERY moment with my son.

Paityn and Mark said...

Mel you are such a strong person! I really look up to you. It really is such a blessing to know that we will live with our families again someday. Not that it makes it easier now, but it's just a great thing we have. I am thankful you wrote that post because it made me stop and take a moment to think about our church and family, something I don't think I do enough. so thanks! You are right, he was so perfect.

Lyndsay said...

Thanks for that post, Melanie. And yes, it made me cry. But that's ok. Gus is so precious. I was actually just thinking about him when I was getting ready this morning, and how much I love his name, and that he looked just like both of you and Gracie, too. Such a beautiful family.

stephanie said...

mel, you write about it all so well. i know you can help so many people with your story.

Amy said...

Mel,
You have a way with words. I think you truly have a gift of honestly and courage. It seems so ironic that you are able to give so much comfort through what you write and your openness with others, when you seem like the obvious candidate for the one who should be comforted. I hope that you are and feel so now. I'm so grateful for your testimony, and all that it has given you, and others. You're strength astounds me and there's such a power in your hope and calmness. Love you lots.

Brittany said...

I know it's been a while, but I am so very sorry about your Gus. I remember I heard the news right after I found out I was pregnant. I already was feeling such a strong attachment to my baby, and the thought of ever losing her and the thought of what you must have been going through made me cry--a lot. I really admire your strength and your ability to be so open on the subject, because I know I could never do it. I think of you and Gus every day and really wish I could have met him.

Stacie said...

I can't even imagine Melanie. I don't know how you find the courage, you are amazing, I wish you knew how much I really think of you. I am sure there are many who find comfort in your words and your willingness to share your feelings and experiences. You are always in our thoughts and prayers.

Brett and Sarah Garner said...

Your little Gus is such a beautiful baby! I found your blog through Mrs. Dubs blog, I hope you don't mind me reading about your little boy. My heart hurts for you when I read about your experience the first time you saw your son after his passing. My little daughter Savannah was unexpectedly still born on Feb. 9 of this year. While I can't imagine the depth of pain you've experienced, I do understand a mothers pain of having a child die. When I held my little girl and looked at her it was such an empty feeling. She did not look like I had imagined her, death definitely takes a harsh tole on their beautiful little bodies. But I realized the empty feeling was there because this wasn't actually my daughter. This was just a shell. It was the body she came here to receive. That is so comforting to me. We didn't bury our children. We buried their little tabernacles that we got to help create. Now they are just continuing their mission on the other side where they will experience none of the pain of this life!.....but sometimes we'd still rather have them here with us huh?! You are a very strong person! I will keep you in your prayers. Thanks for your honesty, it gives the rest of us a voice!

Leigh Anna said...

He is beautiful. Of all the pictures I've seen I don't remember this one. I wish I was there to hug you right now, I read this post this morning right before class and I couldn't get you out of my mind all day. I miss you more then you know.

emidinkl said...

Your strength and understanding of the gosple plan is incredible.

My name is Ali... said...

That post has such strength and true compassion within it...thank you for sharing such honesty...We take our times making these friends through our blogs, and even though were thousands of miles from each other and even though we've never 'met', we come to really cherish and care about our blog friends. I watch your life through the screen of my computer the same way that I share mine, and I want you to know that I think you have a strength about you that is incredible.

Tori :) said...

That was a great post. I know when my sister died it drove my mom crazy that people would just "pretend" that they didn't remember and try to avoid the sudject of my sister at all. I prefer people to talk about her because then I know they remember and care. Ya know?

(((HUGS))) to you and your sweet family.

Becky said...

Beautiful post. What an adorable baby Gus was. Sometimes it can be scary to know what to say to someone dealing with a death of a child (or sister, etc) so thanks for sharing so openly with us.

Meredith said...

wow, tear jearker! But thanks so much for posting that. I really cant imagine. I pray for you guys often and think of what you are going through often (and to think I have never met YOU in person!)
Im glad you write these things, i hope they helo and its so nice to know where you stand. That is great...and you have a great way of writting. I hope you print this blog out ( I did on mine...blurb.com) Im sure it will be something you will want to read years down the road

hang in there...Im so glad (as I and many have said before) you have Gracie to keep you going.

Tiff Moser said...

Mel, yes I am crying. That was so wonderful to get that glimpse inside your heart. You are an amazing example to me. Danjee has been going through some "things" these past couple of years and one thing he has done to help him get through his trials is keeping Gus's funeral program up in the visor of his truck. He said if he's struggling with something, he looks at that picture of Gus and it reminds him what is really important in this life, and that the possibility of eternal families is worth all the hardship this life has to offer. We love you guys!!! You have been an example to us in ways you will never know or realize.

Tina said...

Amen to all that has been said, from your post to all these loving and supporting comments... Yes, the tears flowed... I am tearing up as I write this... How grateful we are for our knowledge of His plan for us and that we WILL see our loved ones again... I wish we had seen Gus more... We only saw him the night of his birth and the next day... Not nearly enough... We love you guys.
xox

J&J said...

Love you Mel.....from this post I think that you have come a long way from when I first visited your site.....I think about you guys everyday.....again, Love you Mel!

The Queen said...

((hugs)) I'm glad you are able to talk about Gus, it helps other people deal with situations like yours as well.